Short Models (and How to Measure Height)

1 Comment Uncategorized By Melissa


Many women dream of being a model, but there are strict requirements. Height is one of the most important aspects to meet, with most female models over 5’8″.

But there is a niche of modelling that specifically works with short models – petite modelling. Read on to learn all about the petite modelling industry, and how to find work as a short model.


The expectations within the fashion industry differ according to which niche you wish to work in. High fashion modelling is the most strict; female models must be at least 5’8″, or it’s difficult to get a see in. This is because photos and the runway can make you appear shorter than you are, so the industry prefers to hire tall, willowy frames that they believe most flatter their garments. 

The commercial modelling industry is a bit more relaxed, but taller models will still have the advantage. If you have the right look, you may still get hired even if you don’t quite meet 5’8″.

Models under 5’7″ are considered short models and will have to look into the petite modelling industry to find work. This industry caters to a shorter audience, so it requires models who are a couple of inches shorter to model their material. 

As always, there are a few models who managed to break the “rules”. Kate Moss is only 5’7″ and she had an incredibly successful career as a fashion icon and runway model. 

short models

Short Model Requirements

Short models can range from anywhere between 5’2″ and 5’7″ tall. 

As with other models, they are expected to have an hourglass frame that is proportional. Their measurements tend to be slightly smaller than the average model to mirror their shorter height.

Along with these standard requirements, short models are usually expected to have good teeth and facial bone structure (high cheekbones, a tight jawline) and clear skin. Having a uniquely beautiful face is also an advantage – anything that helps you to stand out from the crowd is an advantage. 

Famous Short Models

– Kate Moss – 5’7″

– Twiggy – 5’4″

– Devon Aoki – 5’5″

– Lily-Rose Depp – 5’3″

– Sofia Richie – 5’6″

– Eva Pigford – 5’6″

– Marilyn Monroe – 5’5″

– Hailey Baldwin – 5’7″

– Georgia May Jagger – 5’7″

– Emily Ratajkowski – 5’7″

– Lydia Hearst – 5’7″

– Sara Sampaio – 5’6″

Work Available for Petite Models

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of work for short models. Any brand with a shorter range will be on the lookout for shorter models to advertise their products. Most high street brands have a shorter range nowadays.

It’s more rare to see a shorter model working in high fashion and walking on the runway, but it’s not completely unheard of. Laetitia Casta is only 5’6″ and has worked for Jean-Paul Gaultier, Guess and L’Oreal to name a few. She also featured on the front of three magazines by the time she was 16. 

Unfortunately, the short models who tend to make it big come from famous families. It’s even more rare for an unheard of model who is short to make it to the big leagues – but, again, it’s not impossible. It’s just harder to get a foot in the door. 

Making the Most of Your Petite Frame

Models need to appear tall, no matter their height. It’s even more important you have an excellent body posture that helps to elongate the spine and create the illusion of tallness. It might be worth investing in a personal trainer, who can help you to keep your body toned as well as show you exercises that will help give you a naturally straighter body posture. 

Your legs also need to appear long and lean. You should focus on specific exercises (barre is a popular one) to help tone and stretch the muscles. 

You also need to work on your walk and posing. Photos will naturally make you look shorter, so you’ll need to work even harder to appear tall and graceful. Practice different poses and learn which ones work best for you.

How to Measure Your Height

The easiest and most accurate way to measure your own height is to get a height measuring device. These can also be found at the doctor’s, so you don’t have to necessarily buy one.

You can also ask someone to help you. They can then measure you (without shoes on) with a tape measure. 

You can also measure yourself against a wall. Put a small mark directly on the top of your head and measure the distance between the floor and the mark. 

How to Make it as a Petite Model

Like most models, getting signed to a modelling agency is the best way to have a successful career as a model.

Some agencies work specifically with petite models, while others have categories for them. You’ll have to do your research and figure out which ones work with shorter models. There’s no point applying to an agency who does not work with petite models – you’ll only be wasting your time. 

Once you’ve found some agencies, it’s time to get applying. You’ll need some high-quality modelling photos that show off your natural beauty. These will include an up-close beauty shot, as well as a full-length image. Make sure you look tall in your full-length photo – the agency will want to see you can make yourself appear tall regardless of your height. 

You can apply to as many agencies as you want. You can also re-apply after a few months if you don’t hear back. Not hearing back from an agency is incredibly common as it is a competitive industry and they receive thousands of applicants each week. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back – that’s the nature of the industry. Keep applying and stay confident. 

If an agency is interested, they will contact you to arrange an in-person audition. This usually takes place at their headquarters or offices, which are typically located in a main city like London or Manchester. Make sure you can get there on time – it’s never good to be late to these sorts of appointments. Time is money to these people and you don’t want to give a bad first impression – it may seal your fate and prevent you ever finding work in the industry.

Social Media

Social media is an excellent tool for an aspiring model because it allows you to create a following and find work online. Don’t be fooled – it may look easy, but working on social media is incredibly difficult and time-consuming. You’ll have to post regularly to remain relevant, and each photo is like a mini-photoshoot. The good news is you’ll have complete autonomy over what you post and how your pictures look. If your photos are good enough, you should build a following fairly quickly. Once you have a decent following, brands and agencies may contact you to work with you. The more influence you have (i.e. the more followers and post engagement you have), the more work you’ll find and the more money you can request per collaboration/advertisement. 

If you do a good job and can prove an advert you posted has done well in terms of reach or sales, it’s likely you will be asked to do further work for the company (or even become a brand ambassador).

If you continue to post and gain work this way, it’s likely a modelling agency will notice you – though of course by this point you can continue to work without an agency if you choose. However, you will be known as a social media influencer more so than a model.

Are you short? Are you interested in modelling? Why not sign up today – we can help you start your new career in modelling!

1 Comment

  1. Catrinelizabeth on October 18, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    I am a 160cm girls I live in egypt and the agencies here have strict requirements for height, i applied and lied by saying I am 170cm I don’t if it’s right but I’m still waiting for their reply

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