Petite Perspective Shift

Once upon a time... I let my height limit me.

Throughout my childhood and young adulthood, my height made me feel extremely underestimate, overlooked, or never taken seriously.😔

I was always the shortest one in my family, in the classroom, and on my sports teams — and people always felt the need to point it out, for some reason.😑

For example: My soccer coach would even say "let's take it down to Kierstin's level" when he asked us to take-a-knee in a time out. Even though it was all in good spirit, it reinforced the idea that I was different. My 8th grade softball coach wasn't as good-natured about it. I was a pitcher but he stuck me in the outfield every game because "pitchers should be tall." ...🥺

If anyone's wondering how to crush a teenage girl's dreams, it's that. I wish those experiences had empowered me to adopt a "prove them wrong" mentality but honestly, as a teenage girl just trying to fit in, it only made me want to runaway and hide.

No matter how much my mom tried to tell me "good things come in small packages," I just believed that being short was a disadvantage and something to be ashamed of.

Little did I know that I had the ability to change my own perspective.

But I won't lie to you for the sake of a good story; the shift didn't happen overnight. It was more like a series of small realizations that unfolded overtime.

Since this course is all about embracing your petite body, I'd like to lay the foundation by starting off with some major revelations I had that helped me shift my perspective about my height.

So, whether you've always loved being short or have faced similar challenges as me, I hope these short stories are valuable and enjoyable for you too.💕

How My Height Became an Unexpected Asset in Bodybuilding

When I started bodybuilding, I'd often hear comments like "you'll do well because you're short" and "bodybuilding is easier for shorter people." I didn't quite understand until it happened to me in real time.

Essentially, they meant that muscle shows more on shorter folks because it doesn't take much to fill out proportionally. Even though how fast you build muscle isn't closely tied to your height, the way that muscle mass appears on you can differ quite a bit depending on how tall you are.

For me, it was the first time my height really played in my favor. It gave me a sense of belonging and shifted the narrative in my head. Finally, my height became an advantage! Sure, there are other sports where being shorter is an advantage (like gymnastics, race car driving, horse racing, etc.), but bodybuilding was the first one that caught my interest.

Defying Height Stereotypes in Modeling

With the newfound confidence I gained from bodybuilding, I ventured into modeling—an idea I never thought possible, probably because models in the '90s were all tall and thin. My initial shoots were super casual with my artsy college friends. At my first large event, a Swimsuit USA pageant, I found myself the shortest among 50 girls, instantly feeling overlooked and out of place. The competition aspect of the pageant wasn't my vibe, but I really enjoyed the photoshoots so I explored more opportunities to be in front of the camera.

My next adventure was a "Bikini Shoot Camp," a smaller gathering where models and photographers spent a long weekend networking and shooting. After a couple of days, as we relaxed, poured drinks, and got comfy, we began chatting about the industry. I opened up about feeling intimidated by taller models and fearing that some photographers might dismiss me due to my height. To my surprise, one photographer turned around and exclaimed, "Are you kidding!? I LOVE shooting with shorter women because they are so much easier to fit in my camera frame." Others joined in, sharing their positive experiences. This heartwarming moment filled me with the warm and fuzzies and is the reason I continued modeling.

Redefining Beauty: From 'Cute' to Confident

Back in high school, I always felt like I was the "cute" girl, the "little sister" of my friend groups. I felt this way freshman year of college too. No matter how hard I tried, I never saw myself as "sexy." The guys I liked would use the term "cute" to describe me, and while it was meant as a compliment, it made me feel a bit inadequate in romantic and intimate situations. It felt like I was confined to a box that limited how desirable I could be.

Fast forward a lil bit... modeling became a path for me to claim my sense of femininity and explore my individuality. Through the camera lens, I discovered a newfound appreciation for my physical features, including my height. That's when I began to understand that true beauty goes beyond conventional definitions, and being "sexy" is more about confidence than specific traits.

Over time, my feelings of being called "cute" transformed. It no longer triggered feelings of inadequacy; instead, it became a term I could embrace with pride. I understand now that "cute" was just one aspect of my diverse identity, and it doesn't diminish my ability to be alluring and captivating in my own unique way.

Celebrating the Perks of Being Under 5'3"

When I decided to specialize in working with women under 5'3", I found that a great way to grab attention on social media was (and still is) discussing "short girl problems" because these topics are relatable and humorous. However, I didn't want to solely focus on the negatives because I've come to appreciate that being a short girl comes with just as many perks. For instance, you get extra legroom on an airplane, you can always rock high heels (if that's your thing), and even a small amount of muscle gain is more noticeable on us! There's a lot to be grateful for—it's all about perspective.

Do you have any stories/experiences that help you to shift your perspective? Tell us in the comments!

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