Am I Too Short to Be a Model?

  • Freya Hill

As a new faces model consultant I often get asked by young guys and girls ‘am I too short to be a model?’ and they are often all very surprised by my answer.  Last week I even had a model scout from a top London model agency ask me if there really is work out their for a model that is shorter than a high fashion model. I can honestly say to both that if you have the spark, drive and ability in front of the camera then you can make a successful career out of modelling no matter how tall you are.

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The High Fashion Modelling World

High fashion agencies will very rarely look twice at a model that doesn’t fit their strict height and body shape requirements. This is because high fashion designers and brands believe that being over 5’7 for a girl and 5’11 for a boy is the best possible height to show off their clothes. They also feel that if all models look similar then people will be focusing more on the outfits rather than the individual.

You only have to look at a catwalk show to see that all the models on the runway at the same time are chosen for their similarity and height so that they can be styled to fit the designers brand. It’s less about individual personality and all about the collection and the understanding of the brand that they are trying to portray.

High end agencies are traditionally very old fashioned in their thinking and they have been known to tell models that show up to their open days that if they fall below their height requirements then they should give up on a career in modelling.

However, this is far from the truth and often beautiful girls and guys who would make perfect commercial/catalogue models are giving up on their dreams as they are not aware of all the other opportunities available to them.


Famous Short Models

The boundaries of what a high fashion agency look for in a model are sometimes blurred. High fashion designers are adventurous and daring with their choice of models forcing agencies to relax their requirements. As a result slightly shorter models appear on the catwalk and are offered big contracts.

Over the years the fashion industry has shaped successful petite women with international audiences recognising their name. Kate Moss, Twiggy and Anja Konstantinova have carved impressive model careers despite their shorter height.

Short Models Agency

Before applying to an agency it is important firstly that you know their height requirements, if you do not reach this height (or are not even close) and have definitely stopped growing, I would say that there is little point applying. Instead get your pictures out their to all of the amazing agencies all over the country that work with models that are below these heights and provide girls and guys with great work opportunities.


How to Be a Short Model

The principle of each modelling niche is pretty much the same. A lot of models have to work extremely hard to carve a successful career, which is the same for petite models. The most effective way is to apply to agencies who accept 5’2 models and above. Either attend an open call or fill out their application to hopefully get noticed by the agency. Do thorough research and find companies who specialise in those who are considered below the average female model height. The fashion industry is constantly changing and maybe one day their will be some famous 5’2 models breaking boundaries.

How Short Can a Model Be?

The typical petite modelling requirements are between 5’2 and 5’6 for female models. Short male models do find it more difficult to find work in the industry as women can add a few inches with high heels or work as a glamour or lingerie model. Petite model measurements are also very important depending on the niche you wish to enter. A 5’3 model may have a large chest and hourglass figure, which is desired by the glamour industry whereas a 5’4 model may have a tiny frame, which is more suited to petite fashion brands. A model’s height as well as their physique is taken into consideration.

Models under 5’5 or 5’6 can also enter the body part industry as height isn’t as important. The main concern is the body parts in question and if they are suitable for the product in promotion. If you have a great pair of pins or slender hands you may be able to make a career out of your attribute. Both male and females can be become body part models without focusing on their height.


Can Short Males Model?

It depends on their height. 5’7 models may struggle yet a 5’9 gent may not be as exposed amongst the tall models especially in commercial modelling. Runway is certainly out of bounds yet catalogue, fitness, TV or body part modelling may be available to shorter male models.

An additional factor is who you are modelling with as a stereotypical image would prefer the guy to be much taller than the girl, who remember might be wearing heels. Acceptance will depend if the duo works or if you are modelling independently where your height will not be highlighted. Digital presentation can easily be manipulated where viewers will not be fussed by your height.

Can I Be a Male Model at 5’9?

Unfortunately, there is no set formula as to whether a 5’9 model will succeed. The catwalk may traditionally favour towering heights yet there are always exceptions to the rule. If modelling is your dream definitely give it a try but focus on other niches where height is less of an issue. In the high fashion world your 5 foot 9 inches will most likely be exposed amongst the giants already on their books. Don’t be intimated yet apply to top agencies initially and move on if the answer is no. You have nothing to lose.

To find out more why not apply online at UK Models and speak to one of our New Faces team and they will be able to advise you on your options.

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Posted by Freya Hill

Freya is been writing for many years on fashion and modelling. Her hands are a bit too wrinkly for a 23 year old and she has worked with MTV, New Look and Vauxhall Fashion Scout.