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3 Top Tips for 5’8 Male Models

  • Melissa Keen
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Are you hoping to become a male catwalk model but you’re worried about your height? Do you measure at 5’8 and are afraid that you will be turned away from modelling agencies?

Being turned down for jobs due to a lack of height is a real concern for men in the modelling industry. For high fashion, a male model should ideally measure at a minimum of 5’11. Commercial print is less strict and tends to hire men with a more inclusive height of 5’8. But what about those who are 5’8 and under?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to alter our height permanently. It’s therefore important that all models are realistic about their expectations. Shorter models must come to terms with their height and may need to consider other possibilities that are available other than runway modelling.

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Read our 3 top tips of how to not let your height affect your dream. 

Give High Fashion a Try

Regardless of your height, if your dream is to work in high fashion we recommend applying to as many agencies as possible. The fashion world is a fickle industry and if you possess the appearance that they’re looking for, a couple of inches may not matter.

Please be aware that shorter models are highly unlikely to get into runway work, but this shouldn’t stop you from trying. Male model height requirements are difficult to work around, but it is not unheard of for a shorter model to do well. Mark Wahlberg (who is 5’7) started his career as a model and shot to fame with the infamous Calvin Klein ad alongside Kate Moss (who is also short for a model at just 5’6).

If luck is on your side and an industry expert is behind you, anything is possible in an ever-evolving industry.

Be Realistic

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There is no point in exaggerating reality on application forms as the truth will reveal itself eventually. Be proud of your height and be honest when giving potential employers your measurements.

Being untruthful will earn you a bad reputation that will do you no favours in the modelling world as you can’t hide your statistics when meeting in person. Agents will prefer an honest model who is self-assured and confident about their height.

Remember – luck does have a big part to play in the success of all models, shorter models included. Being in the right place at the right time, naturally meeting the in-style requirements of the time, having the right measurements and having the right agent who believes in you are all things we can’t control, but that have a huge hand in the success of a model.

Be the Best You Can Be

It’s important to practice looking tall in photos. Practice posing in front of the mirror and have a friend take photos of you so you can learn where you need improvement.

It’s imperative for short models (and all models, for that matter) to have excellent posture. Stand tall and confident, particularly when meeting with agencies.

There are some agencies who will be more likely to hire shorter models than others. Do your research and make sure you apply to all of them.

You also need to make sure your portfolio stands out. Get some professional photos taken and really spend some time and money making it the best you can. Take headshots (also known as beauty shots), as well as full-length shots. Any shots that make you look tall will be a bonus; you want to show off your modelling potential.

Commercial print and catalogue work typically accept a slightly smaller height in comparison, so be sure to apply to these types of jobs too. The sports and fitness industry is also not so strict with height requirements; as a fitness model, the focus is on your muscular physique and strength rather than how tall you are.

Never Give Up

Don’t let your height hold you back. You may not appear on the runways of ParisNew York or London but you can still have a successful career as a model.

Be ready to receive rejections. All models will be turned away from an interview or job at some point (even those with perfect-on-paper measurements); it’s the reality of the industry. You’ll need a thick skin and a quiet self-confidence to do well, regardless of your height.

Don’t forget there are plenty of other modelling options out there. Have a look at “parts” modelling, or beauty modelling. Not all modelling is done on the runway.

If your first round of applications are rejected by high fashion agencies, keep trying! You never know when an agency may have an opening or when your look may be the next in-style thing.

What Do Modelling Agencies Look For in Male Models?

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The modelling requirements at an agency differ depending on the niche and company. Agents consider many qualities and factors such as personality, confidence, enthusiasm, facial features and a toned physique.

As well as being a hard worker, a friendly character goes a long away. Those who appear passionate about the industry will be remembered. Take any advice you are given on board and work on being a polite and easy to work with employee. The modelling industry is nepotistic, and knowing the right people may open doors for you that would otherwise be shut. Be polite to everyone you meet.

Agencies are looking for people who look after themselves properly. Eat healthily, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly to ensure you are in good shape. Take time to learn about your skin type and invest in the right skincare routine. Speak to your hairdresser about the right cut and colour to suit your complexion. Trim excess nose hair, keep eyebrows tamed and keep skin hydrated and healthy. Be wary of facial hair; some agencies don’t like it and it’s your responsibility to research the individual likes and dislikes of each agency.

Unless you are looking to model for a specific alternative brand or unless you have been told specifically by your agency/an employer, try to avoid obvious piercings, tattoos and coloured hair. A model needs to be a canvas for whichever designer chooses to work with them.

Agencies are always on the lookout for new talent, but they tend to make their mind up within seconds. Make sure you always make a good first impression and apply to lots of agencies to keep your options open.

Successful Short Male Models

Aaron Frew is represented by D1 Model Management and measures 5’7. He defies the so-called average male model height in the fashion industry and has landed modelling work with the likes of Calvin Klein, Hysteria Magazine and Vogue.

By breaking conventions set by the fashion world, he shows that height does not have to be an issue for male models. He landed an international campaign with CK One due to his good looks, toned physique and passion for being in front of the camera.

Aaron explains that when he first approached model agency D1, they initially refused him because of his size. However, after reapplying they decided to give him a chance, and six weeks later he landed the CK One role.

Aaron admits that he doesn’t get hired for many runway shows due to his height, but he is always striving to change that.

“My aim is to become the first-ever short male supermodel. In castings I’m always put down because of my height, but I think fashion is changing. A successful model now comes in so many different forms, so I have it in my heart that it will happen for me.”

If you believe that shorter models should be represented on the catwalk share this post to spread awareness of the issue in male modelling.

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Posted by Melissa Keen

Melissa's experience in the beauty and fashion world as a writer and blogger spans over five years. Her other interests include reading, yoga and music.