The harsh reality for a model who is under five-nine is that you may never walk for Dior during fashion week or be on the cover of Vogue. There are height and size requirements that a model needs to meet in order to be a High Fashion model. This in no way means that you cannot have a career as a model, you will just have to find your niche.
Find a Niche for Petite Modeling
The first step is knowing what kind of model you are going to be. How tall are you? This will give you insight of what types of jobs you need to pursue. High Fashion clients in New York or Milan are not looking for five-five models to walk in their shows or pose in their campaigns. You may have to look into catalog modeling, brand campaign modeling (sports, lingerie, etc) or parts modeling. Do you have exceptional hands, feet, neck or ears? Believe it or not there is a market for specific body parts.
You may want to consider pursuing a modeling career in other countries like Asia, whose models are usually five-six and under, where modeling work is abundant. Don’t shy away from Catalog work. High Fashion models have strict height and size requirements, because they have to fit into sample clothing made by designers. Catalogs use models of different body shapes and sizes, so work is more abundant and not so restrictive.
Choosing an Agency
The next step is to consider your options when choosing a modeling agency. Instead of going after the big agencies in major cities where high fashion models are signed, go to the smaller agencies in towns near you. You can gain essential experience by starting small and working your way up. Some smaller agencies specialize in parts modeling or specialize in shorter models, they will be able to find you the right work.
Research Commercial Print Agencies as their clients are seeking models that will appeal to an everyday consumer, so they accept models of all heights and sizes. Research Specialty Modeling Agencies they seek models who can model their hair, ankles, feet, wrists, necks and many other body parts. A client maybe be working on a jewelry campaign and need a hands model for their rings and an ear model for their earrings. Parts modeling is also abundant in the beauty industry. Many agencies seek skin models and lip models. Do your homework, figure what kind of model you are and seek an agency that specializes in that aspect of modeling.
Stay in Shape and Know Your Body
As a shorter model you have to work on two things, your body and your attitude. Because the majority of models are five-eight and above shorter models have to overcompensate with other attributes. You must have a dynamic body, tone up and if necessary slim down, work on your confidence (which does not mean be Arrogant), and facial expressions. Learn to move your body gracefully. Modeling is not about standing still for the entire shoot, it’s a constant subtle movement and holding a pose for three to five seconds. Learn to use your eyes. You must learn to express all kinds of emotions with your eyes without using the rest of your body. Keep a healthy diet, and keep your body in excellent physical shape. If you are a specialty parts model make sure to take excellent care of your hands of your feet. Don’t give an agency an excuse to let you go.
Finally don’t let anyone slow you down. Even though there are requirements in this industry for certain jobs, that doesn’t mean you should give up because you’re not a certain size or shape. Modeling is wide spread and with the proper determination and focus you can make it in this industry in time.
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