Petite models find work in the fashion, commercial, catalogue, glamour and body part sectors of modelling. Just like average models of a 5’8” to 6’2” stature but they are specifically employed because of their smaller figures.
A petite model generally measures between 5’2” and 5’6” tall. Also, their hip, waist and bust size tend to mirror their height (slightly smaller than the average male or female). Petite models are most commonly employed to model clothes for petite fashion collections but are still required to have the same great looks, personality, professionalism and confidence as any other model.
Successful Petite Models
Models who have defied the stereotypical fashion image associated with top designers, catwalks and campaigns are carving a path for their fellow petite frames. Inspiring, successful models have ignored the height restriction demonstrating that a smaller stature IS required in the fashion landscape. Alternatively, their striking, unique looks, killer poses and potential ensures that their height measurement goes unnoticed. Successful petite models are making an impact in a tall girls stomping ground ignoring the confinements set upon them.
Surprisingly, the British icon of the sixties, Twiggy was just 5’4”. She revolutionised the stereotypical look of the era beginning a breed of new supermodels. Her height is rarely discussed due to her confident persona that demands attention. Also, her waif like figure suggests that her height is a lot taller especially with the addition of heels. She remains the shortest model with such a supermodel status!
An exception to the rule is Russian-Australian model, Anja Konstantinova. Her impressive repertoire includes Vogue, Marie Claire, Urban Outfitters and French Connection. At 5’4″ her height is not an issue with each shot demanding attention with her striking features, luscious blonde locks and natural posing instincts. The successful petite model who was discovered in a Melbourne hair salon has received rejection in her career yet continues to break boundaries in a predominately tall arena.
She explains: “People in Australia don’t accept shorter girls because they are a bit harder to work with, you have to photograph them in a certain way.”
“I think it’s important that there is a change. I’m pleased to be a part of a ‘new breed’ of models who perhaps don’t fit the status quo.” @UKModelslondon
Devon Aoki is listed with New York model agency One Management as 5’5” and has appeared as a poster girl for H&M’s Isabel Marant’s H&M collaboration. She has defied conventions by appearing on the runway for Chanel, Lancome and Versace; a proud moment for all petite models. She has also starred in ad campaigns for YSL, Moschino and Fendi – to name a few – and landed acting roles too. Devon has graced the cover of i-D magazine three times, been the face of Lancome for four years and walked for Chanel! Is there anything this lady can’t do?!
Turkish beauty – born and raised in Sheffield – Funda Onal (ex-girlfriend of Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews) is 5’5″. She has Nike, Adidas and Reebok on her model CV alongside video work for Tinie Tempah, Calvin Harris and Kid Cudi. She has certainly not let her 5’5” hinder her dreams of becoming a model. Her luscious brown locks and striking facial features draw the focus away from her height.
If you know a thing or two about modelling you’ll also know Kate Moss is only 5’6” (but is an extreme exception to the high fashion rule!). Becoming an icon in the model and fashion world, Kate Moss is recognised worldwide for her work. Her height is certainly not an issue as she continues to dominate the supermodel title. That’s right the most recognised model in the world is in fact classed as petite. An example of how to not give up on your dreams.
Types of Work Available for Petite Models
Other than Moss, most petite models find work as commercial and catalogue models. if they work in fashion it is generally with high street brands specialising in petite clothing. It is very rare for a petite model to find high-fashion work on the catwalk or for designer labels.
That doesn’t mean that petite models are restricted when finding work. Thanks to a boom in brands catering for men and women with smaller frames and shorter legs, petite models are being employed to keep up with industry demand. A model measuring 6’ firstly wouldn’t fit into a pair of jeans designed for a person of 5’2” and secondly would look pretty silly with trousers dangling around their ankles, hence petite models are used.
Lingerie and swimwear modelling also doesn’t demand height with brands more concerned with showcasing their designs. A fuller bust, pert derriere and toned torso become a higher priority than your height statistic. Petite models may not feature on the Victoria’s Secret runway but hight street brands, catalogue and independent designers will prefer a physique that promotes their lingerie/swimwear in the best light.
Body Part Modelling
Another industry that focuses on specific body parts rather than height. Shapely pins, a pert derriere, piercing eyes or delicate hands will be under scrutiny at castings. It is important to take great care of your specialised body part to avoid scratches, blemishes, broken nails etc. Therefore, a petite model should explore their options in the body part modelling world to find new opportunities to expand their repertoire.
The seductive, alluring industry is more relaxed about height with their main objective focusing on a large bust, slim waist and pert derriere. The glamour modelling world is recognised for their provocative poses and nude exposure rather than their tall models. However, think carefully before entering the industry to ensure that you comfortable with nudity.
Promoting cosmetics and beauty products typically doesn’t involve a full body shot. Therefore, height becomes irrelevant. An eye, lip or full face close up is usually featured in the campaign to advertise a mascara, lipstick or foundation. To be hired as a beauty model clients will focus on a particular area as with body part modelling.
The TV advertising world covers a variety of subjects ensuring that those who appear in front of the camera come in all heights. You may need to sharpen your acting skills as you take on the role of teenage daughter or lifelong friends yet the opportunity is worthwhile. Again, height is not an issue with the TV world wishing to reflect society rather providing an image that many can relate to.
It may not be fair but a female petite model is more successful than a male petite model. Smaller gents are not hired as height is a key issue. Towering 6 foot plus heights are favoured from the male species with smaller measurements immediately becoming more obvious.
Female models have the advantage of heels that can easily add 2-3 inches allowing for the height gap to close considerably. However, men do not have this luxury exposing their 5’8″ physique instantly. Therefore, catwalk is off bounds but body part, TV, fitness and catalogue modelling is more realistic.
How To Make The Most of your Petite Frame
Never draw attention to your smaller height when interacting with clients and via body language. Stand tall, don’t slouch and work on poses that elongate your lines giving the illusion of height amonst your taller peers. A good posture and a strong stature goes a long way in presenting yourself at a casting, agency meeting and photoshoot. Not only does it show your confidence yet brings the attention away from your height. Employers can focus on your talent rather than declaring you immediately as a petite model.
How To Become a Petite Model
We hope our introduction to petite modelling has reassured you that as a shorter, smaller framed model you still have every chance of finding career success. When it comes to starting your career we suggest you take the same route as a mainstream model, perhaps considering specialist petite agencies as you do.
Do your research and find out what type of modelling you are interested in and what key traits are required for success. Before investing in your career you need to be sure that modelling is the right path for you. Will you be trying to find work as a catalogue model, or maybe a glamour model? Visit our website and click on either the ‘Male Modelling’ or ‘Female Modelling’ tab for a full breakdown of the types of modelling work.
- See if you enjoy modelling. Try and get as much experience as possible before stepping into the real world of photo shoots and posing.
- Linking in with number two, think about creating a portfolio. This isn’t a must-have as a model but something that many men and women find helpful. UK Models work with aspiring models every day to produce industry standard pictures so why not tie the two together and get pictures and experience by working with us? Send us an online form if you’re interested in looking into this idea.
- Approach agencies relevant to your style, particularly agencies that specialise in working with a petite model. They are more likely to have clients on their books that need and want petite models than a mainstream agency. This will naturally increase your chances of getting work.
How Can UK Models Help?
Owning a set of professional shots is a great way of launching your career as a petite model. The photographs can sit in your portfolio to showcase your talent and create a strong identity for your website. Agents and employers can view each resource to find a model suitable. Therefore, the shots need to be of high quality and extremely professional to impress. Here at UK Models we can provide this service to ensure that the images highlight your potential.