Petite Models in the Fashion Industry
I graduated college in 2017 with a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising. One of the most useful pieces of information that I learned was that the average American woman is 5’3”. This demographic is part of an underserved market in the fashion and apparel industry. Meaning, there is demand (a lot of woman in this category) but no supply (no clothes that fit this category). Basically a recipe for success for any clothing brand. Don’t you think?
From a business point of view, if you think about it, designers, fashion houses, and fashion brands depend on consumers buying their products to be profitable. This intent is achieved more efficiently if shoppers can connect with the brand, which so happens by using models that look like them. Its simple marketing tactics. And is something that is already happening in the fashion world.
Designers and brands sometimes also take into consideration a fitting personality more than physical appearance. It’s not just about working with an “industry standard” model, but its about collaborating with real women who have brands themselves; women who stand for something unique and have the power to transmit a certain message. Who is wearing their designs matters.
Thanks to fashion brands understanding their consumers better and petite models hustling for their representation, we are seeing more and more of these “average height” women involved in the industry. Those are my two cents.
I could go on forever, but what better way to prove the progressiveness of the fashion industry, than with FACTS-- Aka petite women who are fashion models and who are killing it!
After doing countless hours of research, I’ve created a list that is made up of petite women who have made it without the help of being daughters or sisters of famous celebrities. Women like you and me!
1. Halima Aden
By far one of my favorite models because she not only comes from a super humbled background, but she was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and then moved to the US. Halima also sticks to her values gracefully, as she is known for being the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota pageant. That courageous move actually kickstarted her career. She is currently signed to IMG, one of the top modeling agencies of the world. She has been on the cover of Vogue, and has walked the runway for several high fashion designers like Dolce & Gabbana. All while wearing her hijab, every single time.
2. Jillian Mercado
Another of my favorites because she is goals. Born in NY, her dad was a shoe salesman and her mom was a dress maker. She is not only petite but she is also disabled, as she has muscular dystrophy (a diseases that causes weakness and loss of muscle mass). Since she did not see her body type being represented in the fashion industry, she decided to take things into her own hands. Now she is signed to IMG models, has been featured in famous magazines such as Glamour, and modeled for Beyonce’s clothing line and for Diesel… just to name a few cool things.
3. Anja Konstantinova
Born in the Soviet Union, raised in Australia, Anja got scouted in a hair salon. After the agent found out she was only 5’4’’, she focused on her potential and did not mind her height at all. According to a couple of sources, her mom and dad are ballet teachers, but I need to do more research on this to verify. Anyway, she is definitely killing it in the modeling world. She is represented by The Society Management, Premier Model Management, and Priscilla’s Model Management (which also represents Alessandra Ambrosio). Anja has landed several editorial features in magazines like Vogue and modeled for Saint Laurent and Urban Outfitters, amongst others.
4. Amina Blue
Born in NY, father from Pakistan and mom from Germany, she is vouching for all of us. She is actively talking about helping to break the beauty standards and encouraging women to lift each other up, because she too, got rejected because of her height. Until someone noticed her, most notably Kanye West. She has modeled for all of the Yeezy seasons, Missguided, Pretty Little Thing, and has appeared in CR Fashion Book by Carine Roitfeld, which also featured Gigi and Bella Hadid.
5. Zoey Elyse
Lived in Arizona and moved to LA. While struggling trying to make ends meet when she first moved to LA, she worked at Urban Outfitters and then for another company doing visuals, going to school and also modeling on the side, she finally got signed to Wilhelmina models. Now she is a full-time model and she is busy working, traveling, and living her modeling dream despite her height. She has modeled for Teen Vogue, and labels like All Saints and Valfre. She believes us models should be able to work based on our abilities not on our height. She is a reminder to hustle hard, accept rejection, but keep pushing onward to make our dreams come true.
I hope this list can be used as an inspiration to any of you who are disappointed by the current beauty standards. Remember that attitude is everything. Practice self-love, keep a positive mindset, develop your personality, and work really hard for the next 5,10,15 years. Believe me, if you are meant to do this, all this effort will be all worth it. Good luck petite models!