Introducing a force to be reckoned with: Taylor Tookes, the 5’1” model who is taking on the fashion industry, advocating for better inclusivity for petite talent. I asked Taylor about her experience in the industry, and her work as co-founder for Height Revolution (@heightrevolution).
Taylor, a woman with a rich brown skin tone and dark features is posing for a beauty shot, looking over her shoulder to the camera
Chamiah: Hello Taylor! We’ve been following each other for some time now, as as a fellow shopper in the petite section, and the founder of the clothing brand that is revolutionising clothing for people under 5ft, I’m obsessed with your mission and your work in the fashion industry, especially as a model. Please introduce yourself and what you do for our followers…
Hey! I’m Taylor Tookes and I’m a petite model, advocate and ½ of the founders of Height Revolution.
I started modeling in 2020 and was signed to an agency right away. Despite that agency telling me they book petite models all the time and have plenty on their roster, they stopped submitting me to jobs & updating my portfolio two months in because I am petite. If you know anything about the industry, you know that petite models have a place in beauty and commercial-print work. This agency specialized in beauty and commercial-print. So I felt as if my time was completely wasted. When I started doing more for myself in 2021 (putting myself out there, initiating test shoots, applying to jobs on my own), I started booking job after job after job. This is only one of many things that have to change in the fashion industry.. Instead of following outdated rules, why not be the first to change it? The status-quo was meant to be broken.. In 2023, we have come so far with inclusivity in fashion and it’s time to break that barrier for petite women too. Who knows how far I could be right now if that agency would have just put me in front of the right people? But it’s alright because now is the time to do that for myself.
Taylor, a woman with a rich brown skin tone and dark features is posing for a beauty shot, she wears black latex gloves, a black sleeveless top, and silver statement earrings. Her fair is blowing away from her face as she poses to the camera.
In 2022, I became the first black petite model to walk in NYFW. I was able to make history with 4 other lovely petite models and I am so grateful for that. Being on the runway was incredibly empowering. I had no idea that we had made history until the designer, House of Arti, told all of us after the show. That feeling was enough to ignite a fire in me to continue pursuing this career. I made a promise to myself that I will keep going - not only for myself, but for all of the other short black girls out there who were rejected for something as silly as a hereditary characteristic that they could not help at birth.
5’8 and up is ridiculous. Did you know the average height of women worldwide is 5’3? Not to mention, the fashion industry is very loud about “diversity and inclusivity” nowadays.. But apparently not loud enough, since we see no change. For months, I pondered on the idea of what can be done to overcome this unrealistic barrier. I had no connections, so it wasn’t like I could reach out to my famous mother, benefit from nepotism and have that be my way into the modeling industry. Remembering how powerful the internet is, I decided to give an online campaign a try. Deep in my soul, I knew there were other girls around the world who felt the same way as me but had no clue how to speak out or who to speak out to. Everyone uses the Internet these days and anything can go viral nowadays.. So I figured, why not use that fact to my advantage? In January 2023, a fellow petite model (that I made history with in NYFW) and I created our Instagram based movement, Height Revolution. Height Revolution is meant to advocate for the overdue inclusion of petite women in the fashion industry and call out performative activism & discrimination from agencies, producers, designers, etc.
The movement is rapidly growing and we can’t wait to see where it takes us next.
Taylor, a woman with a rich brown skin tone and dark features is posing for a fashion Image. She wears a light blue pair of dungarees and stands with hands in pockets, legs in a power-stance.
In the future, I hope to see a more inclusive attitude toward short women in the fashion industry.. not only on the commercial-print side of things, but also on the runway.. Because why should one be boxed into one category when they’re perfectly capable of doing all? Like I always say.. If you have the skill set, then you should be considered. Petite models are currently the only category of models who are underrepresented in the modeling world. Discriminating against someone because of something they could not control at birth is low and dumb. We want change and we want it now.