Can I be a model if I’m short? Read on to find out…
A lot of the pieces we write for our blog are based on the questions you ask us. There are several that come up a lot – and this is one of them. Barely a week goes by without one of you lovely folk emailing us to ask, “can I be a model if I’m short?”
The short answer is, potentially yes.
Read on for the long answer…
What is Petite Modelling?
Petite modelling is modelling for those who don’t meet the usual modelling industry height requirements. Generally, any professional model under 5’8 is classed as petite, although petite models might be as short as 5”5, or even shorter. Our founder, Emily, has modelled for several years and she’s 5ft3.
What Types Of Modelling Can Petite Models Do?
Professional ModelThis is Evita, she is only 5’5″ and has been signed by a leading commercial agency and has already booked several jobs. Read her full story.
The market for petite models is smaller, so your modelling opportunities are more limited. Saying that, plenty of petite models do build a successful career. It’s important to be savvy about which type of modelling you market yourself towards, in order to give yourself the best chances possible.
Fashion modelling isn’t an option for petite models.
Fashion modelling is all about modelling clothes. Those clothes are made to certain measurements are these are believed to be the measurements that make the clothes look best.
That’s why fashion modelling has stringent requirements, and height is important. Female fashion models must be at least 5’8 and male fashion models must be at least 6”. A lot of models ask, so it’s worth pointing out that these requirements include catalogue modelling.
Petit models should focus on commercial modelling work. (Read more on the difference between commercial modelling and fashion modelling.)
Commercial models can advertise any product or service, so the market is much larger and the requirements more diverse. As a result, your height is less important. However, it is particularly important for petite models to be well proportioned as this makes your height less noticeable.
Within the commercial modelling sector, petit models are most likely to do video work, because height is less noticeable on film. For example, a petite model will generally have access to the most modelling opportunities in TV advertising, online video advertising or in music videos.
So can I still be a model if I’m short? Well, it depends on the type of modelling you do.
How Can Petite Models Maximise Their Modelling Opportunities?
As the market is smaller for petite models, it’s important that everything you can control is spot on. Aspiring models can still overcome their height limitations and build a successful career,but you may need to shine a little brighter compared to the competition.
Firstly, it’s more important than ever for petite models to have a model portfolio that shows versatility, as you’re widening the pool of opportunities you can be considered for.
Petite models must be especially careful to market themselves in the right way, and to apply to the right agencies. (Read more about our popular member-only model consultation and expert agency matchmaking service).
Building your online brand is a second way you can maximise your petit modelling opportunities. If you build a large online following (generally 30k followers or up) then there are brands will book you in order to leverage those followers.
If you become a model influencer, your height, weight, look or anything else became secondary in importance to the influence you command. A great example is Tess Holliday, a 5’5 and size 22 model who won a major modelling contract on the back of her Instagram following.
Can I be a model if I’m short?
Thirdly, petit models can’t afford to fall down on any of the three aspects of successful modelling:
1) Acting ability
Commercial modelling is about acting a character, bringing a brief to life in a believable way. This is more important than any specific measurement (although clients still require a certain look) so if you’re able to do this really well through your poses and expression then your height becomes less important.
Being personable, easy-going and easy to work with are important for all models, but especially so for petite models who have to fight harder to overcome their height.
Professionalism means knowing your business. It means always turning up with the right things, at the right times. It means treating your modelling career like a business. If you’re completely professional, you’re more likely to get booked for jobs, in spite of your height.
The unfortunate reality is that there are fewer modelling opportunities for petite models – but don’t let that put you off trying to build a modelling career. You need to be realistic about what you can do (so put your fashion modelling aspirations to bed, please), but if you market yourself in the right way then there are still opportunities to be had.
However, petite models have to work harder to build a career than models who meet the industry standard requirements. Becoming a model is competitive at the best of times, and if you have any perceived ‘flaws’ then you have to give clients, agencies and casting directors a good reason to overlook them.
So, there’s the long answer. “Can I be a model if I’m short?” Yes, you can, but it is going to take hard work, commitment and a willingness to go the extra mile.