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Is Plus Modeling Out of the Question If You Are Only 5′ 5″?

Monique from CA Asks…I wanted to ask, is plus modeling out of the question if you are only 5’5″? I see agencies want you to be at least 5’8″.

I didn’t pursue plus modeling for the first couple of years I lived in NYC because when I phoned all the agencies said I had to be at least 5’9″. I thought “Well, there goes that idea” and didn’t push on the matter.

Yes, most agencies want their high fashion models to be at least 5′ 9′, but what I didn’t realize is that there is a whole world of the modeling industry that we only see a small percentage of! I am only 5′ 7″, but I do print modeling and fit modeling. I’ve also done some runway stints on The View. That is usually unheard of for my height and I was the shortest model there, but I still booked the job!

Here is a breakdown of some modeling careers that I have discovered from my experience in the business:

Fit model: Mostly 5′ 7″- 5′ 8″, but I have also seen petite models used (height being 5′ 4″). Most fit models rarely go over 5′ 8″ because the designers really want their clothing to fit women across America, so they take into account that most of the population is under 5′ 9″. Fit sizes are usually size 6 or 8 and 16 or 18.

Showroom Model: I have seen petite, regular and tall women booked, it just depends on the clothes and the buyers whom are coming to look at the clothing line.

Commercial Print Model: I’ve seen women from 5′ 4″ to 6′ do commercial print, also all age groups. The client who books these models is looking for everyday people who do everyday things and not the high fashion model look. Think of ads for aspirin, paper plates, coffee, vacations, pharmaceutical companies, etc. The list is on-going and anyone who wants to go for modeling has an opportunity. There is even an agency in NYC that represents models and actors that can do funny things with their face, think of Jim Carey’s facial expressions.

High Fashion Model: Okay this is the stereotype of “A MODEL”. These women are over 5′ 9″ and their size range from 0-4, (maybe a 6) with the Plus girls being 5′ 9″ and over, size 12-14/16. These women do the runway shows and the exclusive designer ads you see on bill boards and high fashion magazines. They sometimes do makeup and beauty ads, but usually they are left to what they do best…walk in designer fashions down a catwalk because they are built like a human hanger; or as with Plus models their height/weight is proportionate.

Most of these models careers are over before 30 and most cannot do other types of modeling like swimsuit or commercial (the exception being that plus model’s careers last longer due to not looking older than their actual age… see girls a little padding in all the right places can help make you look younger!)

Beauty Model: These are the pretty faced women who you see in makeup, hair and skin ads. The majority are tall, but again you can have a girl under 5′ 9″.

Fitness Model: Oh, I wish I could do this type of modeling! These women are fitness models because most are athletes whose bodies are earned through their hard work. Think of the ads for protein bars, yoga mats, Gatorade, etc. Also, I’ve seen all different heights at casting calls.

Parts Model: This category is so unique. These men and women usually model one body part, i.e. hand model, foot model, leg model, etc. Think of ads for watches, hand lotion, nail polish, and footwear.

So as you can see, even if you are under the 5′ 8″ height marker, there are still a lot of options for you to succeed as a model!

Best of luck with your career 🙂