Does a lack of height and proportionality always preclude beauty?
January 3, 2010 2:59 PM   Subscribe

Can you provide examples of adult women who are extremely short yet also beautiful at the same time?

I'm looking for role models to inspire young women who are 4'11" or under that being beautiful--in a physical sense--does not require the same lengthy limbs and proportionality of the average/tall female form. Please share any examples you can of lovely women who areless than five feet tall, describing what makes you see them as beautiful.
posted by datarose to Society & Culture (43 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Check out the Photographic Height/Weight Chart. It shows people at a wide variety of heights and weights, including several under 5' tall, and I think most of them are quite lovely.
posted by decathecting at 3:04 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kristin Chenoweth. Very attractive, amazing voice.
posted by dforemsky at 3:04 PM on January 3, 2010 [5 favorites]

Hayden Panettiere is under 5 feet tall, I'm pretty sure.
posted by downing street memo at 3:07 PM on January 3, 2010

Salma Hayek is 5'2". Hilary Duff is 5'1". Riya Sen is 4'10". Li'l Kim is 4'9".
posted by phaedon at 3:07 PM on January 3, 2010

Rachel Bilson is a very attractive young actor who is 4'11" and a Hollywood sex symbol.

Nikki Blonsky, the cute-as-a-button actor who made a splash in Hairspray is 4'10" and chubby!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:09 PM on January 3, 2010

Depending on who you ask (she's officially 5', but I've seen that questioned in various places) Kylie Minogue may fit the bill - and it's usually the quality of her arse and legs that get the attention, not their height from the ground!
posted by Coobeastie at 3:11 PM on January 3, 2010

Hayden Panettiere is under 5 feet tall, I'm pretty sure.

I think she's 5' even or 5'1", based on real-life sightings, though I think she claims to be 5'2".

Most female actors are shorter than average, because most male actors are shorter than average. I have no idea why that is--it might be a hangover from silent film days, in which shorter actors were preferred because it was hard to change focus on the camera. Or it might be that taller kids are encouraged to do sports in elementary and high school, and thus don't have time for acting?
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:11 PM on January 3, 2010

Shakira is apparently 5'2" on the internet, but eyewitnesses say differently. I stood in an elevator with her in SoHo and my 5'3" self absolutely towered over her. She's closer to 4'11".
posted by zoomorphic at 3:13 PM on January 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Linda Hunt. 4' 11". I think she's beautiful.
posted by marimeko at 3:14 PM on January 3, 2010

Meredith Eaton is 4'3".
posted by mireille at 3:15 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Linda Hunt is 4'9". Agree that she's a striking-looking and appealing woman!
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:16 PM on January 3, 2010

A lot of Hollywood actresses' "official" heights are inflated by several inches, so keep that in mind if you do research there. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker is supposed to be way shorter than she claims.
posted by ishotjr at 3:20 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is a pretty crazy/awesome site to check heights:

Veronica Lake and Jada Pinkett Smith are both listed at 4'11.
posted by smackfu at 3:21 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

it might be a hangover from silent film days, in which shorter actors were preferred because it was hard to change focus on the camera. Or it might be that taller kids are encouraged to do sports in elementary and high school, and thus don't have time for acting?

From what I understand about movies, it's far easier to portray a short person as taller. Some actors initially tried their hands at modeling only to be told they were too short. Witness how Meryl Streep, only 5'6", managed to portrayed the over six-foot Julia Child in Julie & Julia with high heels, lower table tops, and lots of windmilling. Tom Cruise wore lifts in Interview with the Vampire to look like he was as tall as Brad pitt, even though there was a 4" difference. I remember how shocked I was as a celeb reporter to find me, a short woman myself, on par or even taller than many celebrities: Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Aniston are all surprisingly short in person.
posted by zoomorphic at 3:22 PM on January 3, 2010

A good friend met Halle Berry once and mentioned that she was absolutely nowhere NEAR the 5'6" she's reported to be on IMDB, and was actually closer to 5'1" or so.
posted by deadmessenger at 3:26 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. Keep them coming, especially the ones under the five foot line!
posted by datarose at 3:34 PM on January 3, 2010

My suggestion, Gillian Anderson, is actually just a little bit taller than five foot - but, the website I learned this from might be of use to you. Welcome to the internet, where there are whole pages devoted to how tall various celebrities are.
posted by EatTheWeek at 3:43 PM on January 3, 2010

The writer Sarah Vowell is short and thought by many to be cute.
posted by matildaben at 3:58 PM on January 3, 2010

Bernadette Peters comes to mind as classic for this. IMDB says she's 5'3", but I suspect she may be shorter than that.

(Of course, it seems likely that she may have had work in the last few years, but you know, back in "The Jerk" and "Annie" days....)
posted by zizzle at 4:00 PM on January 3, 2010

I happen to think that Tomoko Kaneda is cute as hell, not to mention amazingly talented. She's also 146 cm tall (4'10'').
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:05 PM on January 3, 2010

From what I read, actors as a whole aren't necessarily shorter than average, it may just be that people see them in person and are surprised they're shorter than they imagined since being on camera doesn't do a good job of conveying height.

But I think that given the choice between two equally talented actors/actresses, they'd probably take the taller one (or in the case of really tall people, the shorter one), just because it could be distracting on-screen when among the other actors.

Going the opposite way, an NBA game in person must look like a freak show, where even most "small" players are still over 6 feet.

I'd always heard Danica Patrick as being 5' 100 lbs, but she seems to be listed more often as 5'2 (which of course is taken with a grain of salt, even for athletes). Ellen Page is listed at 5' or 5'1. Ditto for Jane Wiedlin of Go-Go's fame, and most of her bandmates weren't much taller, save for Belinda.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 4:08 PM on January 3, 2010

Response by poster: I'd just like to reemphasize that (1) I'm looking for women who are definitely under 5', not 5'1-5'3"--because there really is a big difference--and (2) women who you truly think are beautiful (can you articulate why?), not just that you found them cute or that their heights were listed on a web site. Thanks again for all the names you've given so far.
posted by datarose at 4:21 PM on January 3, 2010

Best answer: Ooh, Judy Garland was 4'11 1/2. She was paired with Mickey Rooney, so you know she wasn't tall. She was as petite as she was pretty. She had the whole large doe eye, lovely full mouth, girl next door look going on.
posted by anitanita at 4:22 PM on January 3, 2010

oh, and an amazing, sadness tinged singing voice.
posted by anitanita at 4:28 PM on January 3, 2010

A woman who's 4'11 can be just as attractive and beautiful as someone 5'11. Considering we can't judge a celebrity's height on a page or on a screen, it almost serves as an equalizer. So it pretty much boils down to the face for me at least, so height would be irrelevant.

But if it were someone I were meeting in person, being shorter certainly makes them seem more approachable and non-intimidating, and I'd guess that people are inclined to be more at ease and open around them. So I'd say that's definitely something that works in their favor.

Being a shorter than average guy myself, it certainly is nice to hear that a certain celeb or athlete is around my height, so I guess I can see where you're coming from with regards to women. But other than what I said above, it's hard to quantify preference of height just as it is with hair color, voice, or facial features.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 5:20 PM on January 3, 2010

Eva Longoria Parker, listed as 5'2 but I don't know if i buy that. Very sexy.
posted by axismundi at 5:35 PM on January 3, 2010

The Olsen twins.

Listed as 5-2 or 5-1, but I have been near them a couple of times on red carpets and they are just under 5 feet tall.

They are both strikingly beautiful. Short and willowy at the same time.
posted by Zambrano at 5:36 PM on January 3, 2010

Best answer: French chanteuse Edith Piaf was 4'8", and I think most pictures of her show a very vivacious, attractive woman.
posted by orange swan at 5:37 PM on January 3, 2010

People really can't seem to follow instructions in this thread. Pretty annoying.

Leonor Varela is very pretty, and about 4'11", officially. Seems like a non-shitty human being, to boot.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:40 PM on January 3, 2010

Kate Bush - a few years ago maybe?
posted by lundman at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2010

Best answer: My friend Kristen is 4'11" and really super pretty (you may have to be logged in to see the second link). It helps that she has a lovely personality, but when it comes down to it she's really attractive.
Also, I don't know about role model to children, but alt-porn star Joanna Angel is 4'11" and pretty hot. She's ethnically jewish and I totally have a thing for that. She has a bachelors degree in English Lit, owns the site, and runs the business which is really sexy in its own way and could be seen as a role model for sex positive short girls in general.
posted by JackarypQQ at 6:02 PM on January 3, 2010

Jennifer Lopez is petite.  So is Angela Kinsey from The Office.  I wouldn't kick either of them out of the bed for eating crackers.
I say this just to cover all possibilites, however remote.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:20 PM on January 3, 2010

Sorry, just re-checked and J-Lo is 5'3". I thought she was shorter. Angela Kinsey is 5' if I recall correctly.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:24 PM on January 3, 2010

From what I read, actors as a whole aren't necessarily shorter than average, it may just be that people see them in person and are surprised they're shorter than they imagined since being on camera doesn't do a good job of conveying height.

In my own experience as a journalist and occasional playwright, actors actually are shorter than average. The only female actor I ever interviewed who was taller than me was Sigourney Weaver, and most of the male actors I've interviewed were my height (5'9") or shorter.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:43 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Gymnasts: The average size for women on the Olympic US team is 5' and 107 pounds; Japan’s team average is 4'10" and 82.5 pounds; Chinese average 4'9" and 77 pounds. I've lost the reference, but as I recall, the average height for the 1976 Olympic US diving team was about 5'1"; presumably some were under 5'.

I recognize your distinction of under 5' as the defining metric, but I'd be remiss not to mention Lynn Hill and Beth Rodden; both 5'1".

I find these women attractive because of their independence, tenacity, maturity, discipline -- in roughly that order - and of course, because they excel. And, those qualities are why I had to mention Ms. Hill & Ms. Rodden -- because I've actually read a little about them, while I'm merely inferring those qualities in the team members.

Since you seem to want a focus on the physical aspect of beauty, I'll admit an appreciation of the athletic esthetic, but frankly, that's more because it increases the range of joint participation than anything else. (But, I'm lame that way: "Hey Dave, remember that good looking blond?" "Huh?" "You know, the one in the red dress?" "What?" "She just got back from a field trip in Costa Rica." "Oh, her! Yeah, she sure is an interesting cat, and nice, too..")

I do find it interesting that women would have issues about their own height (US average, 162cm), given their strongly expressed preference for tall men.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 8:12 PM on January 3, 2010

OK, here's more: Sue Hodge was in the British comedy 'Allo, Allo!'. Francesca Eastwood (Clint's daughter) is 4'10" and is just beginning her acting career.

Nita Marquez is a fitness competitor among other things. Shawn Johnson is the 2007 and 2008 U.S. all-around Women's Gymnastics champion. Carly Patterson was the 2004 Olympic all-round champion. She's now launched a music career.

Mari Yaguchi is a member of the Hello! Project and former member and leader of Morning Musume.

If you want to go way back, see Miriam Cooper, Edith Fellows or Marguerite Clark, all under 4'11".

And if you want to find even more, go to and change some numbers. They seem to have the biggest database on this sort of thing.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:13 PM on January 3, 2010

Pamela Adlon is listed as 5' on imdb and is all sorts of hot

Also my Aunt (no relation to me) is 4'10 and is attractive, even more so when she was younger
also anecdotally my uncle that shes married to is 6'1"
posted by Redmond Cooper at 8:22 PM on January 3, 2010

Tila Tequila is 4'11"
Marissa Jaret Winokur is listed as 4'11" (though 5' even on IMDB)
posted by SisterHavana at 9:08 PM on January 3, 2010

Adrienne Bailon of the Cheetah Girls is 4'11
List of celebs that are exactly five feet tall
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:47 PM on January 3, 2010

Applying a little regex and Excel magic to's content, we learn that female celebrities who strictly match your height requirement are Linda Hunt (4'9"), Brenda Lee (4'9"), Lil Kim (4'9.5"), Nikki Blonsky (4'10"), Kelly Stables (4'10"), Adrienne Bailon (4'11"), Tammy Faye Bakker (4'11"), Nell Carter (4'11"), Kristin Chenoweth (4'11"), Danielle Harris (4'11"), Melissa Howard (4'11"), Leslie Jordan (4'11"), and Veronica Lake (4'11").

Give me another inch of leeway (up to 5'0") and you get Lorena Gale (4'11.5"), Lisa Origlasso (4'11.5"), Elaine Paige (4'11.5"), Jada Pinkett Smith (4'11.5"), Marissa Jaret Winokur (4'11.5"), and the 5'0"ers: Paula Abdul, Pat Benatar, Lucy Benjamin, Alex Borstein, Amy Davidson, Patty Duke, Alexis Dziena, America Ferrera, Dawn French, Janet Gaynor, Ruth Gordon, Helen Hayes, Shirley Henderson, Jordan Ladd, Miriam Margolyes, Kylie Minogue, Mary Kate Olsen, Dolly Parton, Rhea Perlman, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Aileen Quinn, Charlotte Rae, Mackenzie Rosman, Imelda Staunton, Sarah Steele, Gloria Swanson, Charlene Tilton, Mae West, and Chandra Wilson (5'0").

Give me yet another inch of leeway (up to 5'1") and you get Eva Longoria (5'0.25"), Hayden Panettiere (5'0.25"), Christina Ricci (5'0.25"), Sheena Easton (5'0.5"), Judy Garland (5'0.5"), Kandyse McClure (5'0.5"), Cathy Newell (5'0.5"), Ellen Page (5'0.5"), Kate Rusby (5'0.5"), Rachel Stevens (5'0.5"), Mae Whitman (5'0.5"), Toyah Wilcox (5'0.5"), Elizabeth Hendrickson (5'0.75"), Lisa Rogers (5'0.75"), and the 5'1"ers: Keiko Agena, June Allyson, Silvana Arias, Imogen Bailey, Kristen Bell, Rachel Bilson, Kellie Bright, Charnele Brown, Rebecca Budig, Emma Bunton, Sarah Cawood, Andrea Corr, Caroline Dhavernas, Eileen Dietz, Hilary Duff, Missy Elliott, Danielle Fishel, Carrie Fisher, Connie Francis, Soleil Moon Frye, Janeane Garofalo, Sara Gilbert, Nancy Grace, Geri Halliwell, Danielle Harmer, Lindsey Haun, Marianne Jean Baptiste, Monica Keena, Brooke Kinsella, Angela Kinsey, Lady Gaga, Tara Lipinski, Susan Lucci, Shelby Lynne, Justina Machado, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Michelle McManus, Bette Midler, Beverley Mitchell, Kelly Monaco, Tina O'Brien, Ashley Olsen, Courtney Peldon, Mary Kay Place, Nathalie Press, Debbie Reynolds, Nicole Richie, Julie Roberts, Suzanne Shaw, Sherri Shepherd, Lucie Silvas, Samia Smith, Lady Sovereign, Samantha Spiro, Sally Struthers, Jasmine Trias, Alanna Ubach, Alexa Vega, Jessie Wallace, Natalie Wood, and Kaye Wragg.

Obviously, some of those women are not currently considered sex symbols (although many currently not sex symbols were when they were younger, yet the same height), and I might've left a man's name in there somewhere.

But there is a significant number of sex symbols in there.

(And under 5'2 includes, amongst many others, Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Millano, Elisha Cuthbert, Shakira, and Emilie De Ravin.)
posted by MikeHarris at 11:07 PM on January 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I read the OP's followup comment, so sorry for those aspects of my first reply that didn't pay heed to that.

What do I find particularly beautiful about some of these women? Well, given that I know none of them personally, this is going to end up being a list of drool points, but can't be helped.

For the ones 4'11.5" or under: Brenda Lee's "girl next door" look and welcoming, friendly grin; L'il Kim's ... uh, lack of physical shyness; Kelly Stables' long hair and doe eyes; Adrienne Bailon's hips; Kristin Chenoweth's beauty and brassiness; Danielle Harris' sultry "come hither" look; Veronica Lake (good God, nothing necessary to explain here); and the graceful way that Jada Pinkett Smith carries herself.

Frankly, any of those women I'd consider not just "cute" but pretty drop-dead gorgeous.

(And, ah, yes, Leslie Jordan is the guy who played Karen's foil in all those "Will & Grace" eps, so knock that name off the list.)
posted by MikeHarris at 11:23 PM on January 3, 2010

Best answer: The British female comedian Lucy Porter is 4' 11' according to wikipedia. I met in real life once and she actually seemed shorter than that. (Though as a lot of her act then was about being short she wasn't going out of her way to appear taller and I guess wearing flat shoes)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:01 AM on January 4, 2010

Seconding Kristin Chenoweth.
posted by troywestfield at 9:27 AM on January 4, 2010

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