Can I Be a Model If I’m Short?

Pursuing a career in modeling is an exciting move many people explore. But, how tall do you have to be to be a model? Depending on which type of modeling you’re considering, the answer can vary.

For many aspiring models, it can be easy to feel discouraged about your chances simply due to the genetic limitations of your height. Thankfully, there are more opportunities for models of all sizes, including models who are too short to qualify for the typical fashion model requirements. One of these niches is petite modeling.

What Is Petite Modeling?

Shorter men and women don’t have to put their modeling dreams on the shelf. While the typical fashion modeling dimensions for women tend to fall between 5’9” and 6 feet, and 5’11” to 6’2” for male fashion models, there are still lots of jobs for shorter models to book.

On occasion, modeling agencies may make exceptions for models who are just outside the typical industry standard. But generally speaking, models who fall outside the previously mentioned dimensions won’t be walking a runway or posing for high fashion shoots. However, there’s a whole subset of fashion modeling and other types of modeling known as petite modeling.

Petite models are often called for jobs modeling petite clothing lines, commercial acting jobs, or fitness modeling gigs. Petite models also often land lingerie or swimsuit modeling jobs, which makes up a significant portion of the fashion industry.

How to Become a Petite Model

While you may have previously thought your options for modeling were limited by your height, now is the right time to start building your skills as a model and preparing yourself for a prolific modeling career. You can easily get a portfolio started by hiring a photographer to create quality photos. You can also get started on your own if you have some photography skills and quality gear. Even using the latest phone models can be a decent start in some cases.

After compiling a portfolio you’re proud of, it’s time to start looking for paid work.

Finding Petite Modeling Gigs

Most often, agencies that represent petite models refer to them as “small models” and never use the word “short” when referring to the physical dimensions of models. Many modeling agencies that book small models also tend to call themselves “commercial modeling agencies,” which can cause some confusion, but is still important to note.

Modeling agencies in smaller markets may be more flexible when it comes to personal measurements than some of the larger agencies in New York and Los Angeles, which can be a bit stricter when it comes to fashion model size requirements.

However, you can certainly find your way into quality modeling agencies as a petite model. Elite Model Management is a notable example of an agency that represents small models. Wilhelmina Models and Ford Models are also known for booking high-quality gigs for small models.

You can send your portfolio to these agencies and follow their application process to get your foot in the door. An even better option is to attend an event hosted by Discovery Spotlight, where you will get in front of talent agents who can help you move your modeling career in the right direction, regardless of your size.

Apply to Become a Model