Getting Signed to a UK Petite Modelling Agency￼
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If you’re looking for a modelling career but you’re shorter than the standard 5’8” height required, you might be interested to know that there are certain agencies which specialise in working with shorter models; this is known as petite modelling.
If you’re interested in becoming a petite model, read on.
What is a Petite Model?
The modelling industry has different sectors, including high fashion and commercial. Both require models to be a certain height – around the 5’8” mark. However, some brands require shorter models to showcase clothing targeted at a petite audience. So some agencies have a ‘petite’ sector that signs shorter models to help cater to these audiences.
It’s uncommon, but there are also several specialist agencies that work exclusively with petite models.
Why Do Models Generally Need to Be Tall?
Typically, brands have always worked with taller models because they tend to make clothing look better. They also appear more striking on the runway. Because of this, there is less demand for shorter models. Commercial modelling has sub-sectors that work with petite models, but shorter models will struggle to find work in other areas of modelling.
It’s very rare to see a model who is deemed short to be working in high fashion, but it isn’t unheard of; Kate Moss is considered short for a model at 5’7”, but she still managed to have an incredibly successful career.
Petite Modelling Agencies
If you’re petite (under 5’8”), you’ll need to find a modelling agency that works with petite models. This type of agency will have plenty of experience and expertise working with petite models.
You can find agencies easily online; nearly all have websites now, and most have application pages that can be filled out for free online. While you can apply to agencies who don’t specify if they work with petite models, it’s better not to; you’ll be wasting time and can increase your chances of success by applying to agencies you know have worked with petite models before. Remember, too, that agencies who sign petite models will have access to the brands that require them. So as a petite model, it’s in your best interests to get signed to a good agency that noticeably works with petite models.
Petite Modelling Height and Work
Petite modelling is a growing industry. As the modelling industry attempts to diversify and become more inclusive, sectors continue to grow to cater to this need. The average height for a woman in the UK is 5’3” – far shorter than the standard 5’8” required in high fashion modelling. Petite models cater to brands who want to represent more of a realistic audience.
Generally, petite models are shorter than 5’4”, but it’s most important that you have a strong work ethic and a good head on your shoulders. Modelling is hard work and you’ll be expected to attend plenty of interviews (also known as casting calls) where rejection is very common. You’ll need to be confident, thick-skinned and business-savvy, or at the very least able and willing to learn about the industry quickly.
It will also be an advantage if you have a stand-out look, a proportional body shape, and a good bone structure. While these things aren’t set in stone (many successful models have features outside the normal or assumed “criteria”), they may help you stand out from the competition.
A valuable skill to learn is how to appear taller in photos. This is all about lighting, angles and poses that work for you, so it’s a great idea to practice frequently in front of a mirror to really understand how your body moves and looks to others.
Top Petite Models
Some of the most successful models in the world are considered short.
- Kate Moss (5’7”)
- Twiggy (5’6”)
- Lily-Rose Depp (5’2”)
- Anja Konstantinova (5’5 1/2’”)
- Devon Aoki (5’4”)
- Funda Onal (5’5”)
- Hailey Bieber (5’6”)
- Sofia Richie (5’4 ½”)
Making the Most of Your Petite Frame
Petite modelling can be challenging; regular-sized clothing can easily swamp a shorter frame, and trousers can be tricky. But with the right tricks and tips, it’s fairly easy to make the most of your figure.
- Choose clothing that fit well. This goes for all body shapes, but it’s even more important for petite models. If you need to get trousers re-hemmed to fit your legs, do so; it will make all the difference.
- Darker colours create the illusion of a longer frame.
- Avoid bulky fabrics as these can make you look wider and therefore shorter.
- Vertical stripes will help elongate the body.
- Heels and platforms will help add some inches to your height.
How to Get Into Petite Modelling
If you’re keen to get into the world of petite modelling, here are some top tips from the experts:
Maintain a healthy body
Take care of yourself by being mindful of your diet and exercise routine. You’ll need to keep yourself fit and healthy to succeed as a model.
Build a Great Portfolio
A model’s portfolio is their tool for success. Your portfolio should showcase your best petite modelling photos to date, and will be used at all interviews to show your experience and range as a model. Include high-quality A4 images and remember to update it regularly.
Attend Networking Events
Modelling is very much about having the right connections, so attend events regularly to build up your network.
Be Professional and Polite
You never know who could land you your next big break. Be kind and professional with everyone you meet.
The modelling industry is extremely competitive, and you will face rejection continuously – it’s all part and parcel of the job. Even top supermodels lose out on job roles if they’re not seen to be the right fit! Many models lose jobs now to other famous faces in music and film. Rejection should not be taken personally. Don’t give up; keep going and be persistent.
How to Get a Contract with a Petite Modelling Agency
First, you’ll need to do some research online and find some agencies that accept petite models. Most of these will have applications you can fill out online for free. You’ll need some high-quality photos for your application, as well as your UK dress size, shoe size and modelling measurements (bust, waist and hips for women).
Make sure your portfolio is updated and ready to go for if you get called to a casting call. You can apply to as many petite modelling agencies as you like, as many times as you like, but try to be tactical; don’t spam agencies with the same application over and over.
If an agency isn’t interested, you likely won’t hear back. Make a note of when you applied and re-apply with some updated photos in 6 months.
What Do Petite Modelling Agencies Look For When Signing a Model?
Petite modelling agencies will be looking for someone with a unique, stand-out look that doesn’t compete with models already signed to their books. They’ll want to have a diverse network of models signed so they can meet the varying demands of their clients. It’s always a good idea to browse the sort of models they currently work with to see if you’d be a good fit.
They will also be looking for someone who matches whatever is currently deemed fashionable. For example, in the 90s it was all about heroin chic, so if you naturally matched that aesthetic you were more likely to get signed at that time. Today, models are much more diverse and plus-size models are getting much more of a look-in. You’ll notice that today a lot of models have famous families, so nepotism is something you will have to contend with.
Mostly, they’re on the lookout for someone with good energy, a nice personality, a strong work ethic, a flexible schedule and someone who takes care of their physical appearance. They will look at your overall package; how you walk and talk, how you photograph, how you wear clothing, how your body and face look, how you capture the light, and how you make people feel in your presence. If you have a natural ability to influence others through your choices, you’re already halfway there. Remember that if you get signed by an agency, you will be representing them – so they will have high standards you’ll need to meet to be accepted. Try to research an agency before you apply as much as possible so you know what they’re looking for.
How Can The Model Builders Help Petite Models?
The Model Builders can help petite models by providing expert help and advice to help you enter the world of modelling.
We also provide photoshoots that make for excellent practice. You can also purchase your best photos for inclusion in your modelling portfolio.