Kayla Fitzgerald, a Florida-born model that is known for her beauty and grace, rose to fame after placing top 15 in Sports Illustrated’s SI Swimsearch’s first-ever open casting call, and walking in their debut fashion show at Miami Swim Week. She has since been featured in Maxim, FHM, Playboy, and has been profiled by the likes of TMZ, Parade, CBS, Yahoo, and more.
Kayla has sought to use her platform in the industry to raise awareness about the struggles petite models experience, and help shorter and smaller women embrace their natural beauty. Kayla, a 5’3 model, has been discriminated against for her height and feels empowered to create more inclusive opportunities for models of all heights and sizes. The brunette beauty knows that the industry has much room for improvement, and she’s made it her mission to devote 2021 to seeing this needed change become a reality.
In addition to modeling, Kayla is also an accomplished actress and television personality who competed on The Amazing Race season 30. Kayla is a creative and passionate professional who is truly making an impact in the world of entertainment.
We sat down with Kayla to get an exclusive inside look at her experience in the modeling industry, the struggles she has faced being a petite model, as well as her future goals to spark a change and utilize her challenges to drive impact and change. Kayla has made a major name for herself within the industry, and we can’t wait to see what amazing things she has in store next and how she will continue to be an advocate for diversity.
How did get you into modeling?
I got into modeling when I was around 18 years old. I was asked to model for a local swimwear company in Orlando, Florida. I then competed in a swimsuit pageant where I was scouted and offered multiple modeling contracts, and things spiraled from there!
What are the best/most exciting jobs you have done so far?
I honestly love all the jobs I have booked because I have been able to work with and meet so many amazing people. With that being said though, I would definitely have to put working with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit at the very top of my list!
What are your ambitions beyond modeling?
Oh, that is always such a tough question for me to answer because I feel like I am always dabbling in something new. One thing that has always remained something that’s true to my heart is wanting to make a positive impact in the world and within the modeling industry. I think now more than ever with the evolution of social media, it is so important to be a role model for the younger generations and show them that you can achieve your goals if you work hard enough and stay true to yourself!
What is your definition of beauty?
To me, beauty is so much more than an outside appearance. Beauty is found everywhere in the world and is more about the inside vs the outside! You can be the most attractive person in the world, but if you’re not a good person, then I don’t see that as beauty!
How would you describe your own personal style?
OMG, I am all over the place. Sometimes I love to be super girly with dresses and heels etc, and then the next day, I have a punk rock vibe where I am rocking leather and a band tee with some combat boots, and then the next day I will be super comfy and in baggy styled outfits. I love to switch it up!
What difficulties have you faced being a petite model?
So many! It’s so tough being petite in an industry that really only accepts women over 5’7 to be considered a “real model.” I have been turned down numerous times and not even given the opportunity to prove myself solely based on my height and it is beyond frustrating. I have said it and proven it a million times, but you don’t have to be tall to model. Most campaigns are shot 3/4 and cropped or are just strictly beauty shots so I do not know where the rules came from.
How and why do you choose to use your platform to advocate for the difficulties petite models face?
I have been trying for years to truly make an impact for petite models but it’s been so difficult because as fast-paced as the industry is changing, the standards are not. I have definitely used my social media to promote that I am petite and I am constantly reaching out to brands, agencies, and companies and asking/advocating for petite models. At some point, I just am hoping to make an everlasting impression that can change the industry for good and give petite models a true place – similar to what Ashley Graham did for plus-sized models!
Is there anything specific coming up in the future you are looking forward to (career or otherwise)?
I am just excited to continue to grow and evolve in 2021 and I have some cool features and shoots coming up that I am excited about! I have my first cover shoot being released in January 2021 with Retreat Magazine, another cover shoot in February with Playboy, Contrast Magazine, and some things in the works with Maxim. I am also always shooting fun new content for my Only fans regularly so that keeps my creative juices flowing!
Do you have a role model? Who has inspired you since building your career?
My true role model would definitely have to be my mother! She has overcome so much adversity and really powered through some tough times and that has always been inspiring to me to see how hard she works and how giving she is. Having her as a role model has taught me to really never give up!
Where do you hope to see your modeling career going in the next 5 years?
I hope that in the next 5 years I have achieved my goal of really making that change in the industry and being the poster child for the petite models! I would love nothing more than to be booked for major campaigns that focus on petite girls!