A girl on Myspace recently wrote me:
----------------- Original Message -----------------
Date: Dec 8, 2008 6:53 PM
I was wondering if it is difficult for a petite model of 5'5 to get signed with Elite modeling agency and also what is the height requirement to do print work for Victoria's Secret. Your knowledge will be greatly appreciated
My answer:It all comes down to what they are looking for. Many fashion agencies such as Ford, Elite, etc want a girl 5'8" at least because most of their clients are fashion clients.
So it is really not normal or typical for a girl shorter than that to get signed. It is very difficult for a shorter girl to get signed with a fashion agency because the agency will not be able to work with her, her measurements, because the agency has very strict clients and fashion clients who want, ask for a girl who is 5'7" and 5'8" so the agency is only going to provide girls of that height...cause they got to market what their clients ask for and cause they want money too you know!
Sometimes getting signed isn't the best thing for a shorter model anyways. I think a new model a shorter model should be freelancing with commercial print modeling agencies, and for a new model the main goal should not be to be signed. Instead it should be to build her portfolio. Especially if you are shorter than 5'7".
Also instead of only thinking of Victoria's Secret and fashion you should put on a full sweater and fitted coat and think more lifestyle products and ads and commercials. Watch TV and you will see, many models of all types are working, and for the shorter girl, actually you will get more opportunities if you tame down the sex appeal and be yourself. There is a lot of work right now for the happy go lucky girl, for hair brands, cell phone commercials, and lifestyle brands.
Maybe the goals you have are not realistic? There is still modeling work out there but you have to be realistic and smart about your pursuits.
I would never try to get with Elite. I would focus on agencies that deal with commercial print models. Yes in print there is a height requirement sometimes, but if you have good beauty shots, headshots, you could get represented.
Also another way a shorter girl can find modeling opportunities is through parts modeling. Modeling her hands, feet, legs, etc for ad campaigns. I have worked with Victoria's Secret leg modeling, Marshalls, Nine West, and many others.
Most girls working with top brands like Victoria's Secret are 5'7" or taller. But a girl who is shorter could be parts modeling, leg modeling, etc and get some great work working with great brands. But of course you need a parts modeling comp card and you need to work with a parts modeling agency.
Parts models, cunnignham Escott, Flaunt - all have parts divisions.
A proportioned model could do commercial print modeling and she could find modeling opportunities using what she has and her personality and putting together a lifestyle commercial print modeling compcard for agencies like R&L, Flaunt, FFT and Cunningham Escott (CESD) in NYC. Or with commercial and film agents.
You only will know if you mail your photos out. A short girl should not waste her time going to Open calls at fashion agencies, but she should consider submitting to commercial print modeling agencies.
In major cities at barnes and noble and borders you can find a booklet called The Ross Reports in the magazine section in the tv and film area, and inside you will find a list of agents to mail your headshots and compcard to.
A shorter model can model, but she has to be savvy, smart, realistic and marketable.