Hailey Baldwin struggled with comparing herself to her peers in the early days of her modeling career

Hailey Baldwin struggled with comparing herself to her peers in the early days of her modeling career.

“My burn in the modeling industry has been slow and I’ve had to learn to be okay with that,” Baldwin, 22, remarked in the cover story for Vogue Australia’s October 2019 issue.

One thing that separated Baldwin from other models was her height.

“I’m shorter than most of the girls. Even though I’m five-foot-eight, I’m not a runway girl and I totally used to feel inferior to some of my friends,” she added. “Look at Kendall [Jenner] and Bells [Bella Hadid] and Gigi [Hadid]…they’re all tall and doing every runway.”

Baldwin added, “For a while, there was a part of me that didn’t know if I could have the career I wanted if I couldn’t do runway. I had so many people, like casting directors, say: ‘We don’t think she’s a real model.’ ”

Sandra Choi and Virgil Abloh host NYFW Dinner, New York, USA - 11 Feb 2018
(L-R) Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Hailey Baldwin
| Credit: Samantha Deitch/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Although Baldwin admitted that facing such criticism was “disappointing,” things turned around once she “found my own lane” away from the runway.

I don’t look short in photos,” she said. “I’m proud of myself for building a more commercial career that worked for me and being confident about it.”

And she’s carved her own path. “I’ve hosted a show, I did major American campaigns, and a bunch of other things that I’ve really enjoyed,” Baldwin said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m still finding my lane, but now I know I’m going in the right direction.”

Hailey Bieber
Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Jason Mendez/Getty Images

Although Baldwin has walked for numerous designers, including Versace, Tommy Hilfiger and Off-White, since breaking into the modeling world over five years ago, she hinted earlier this summer that she may be hanging up her runway shoes.

In July, the model posted a cryptic message on her Instagram Story alongside a photo of herself in the Zadig & Voltaire Fall/Winter 2018 show.

Criticizing her strut and her arm placement, she wrote, “What I do know, is that ur arm truly should never swing this high when ur walking on a runway.. hence why it is not, and will never be my thing again lol 🤣.”

Models Walk The Tommy Hilfiger Show Runway In Shanghai
Hailey Baldwin
| Credit: Splash News

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At the time, a source told PEOPLE that Baldwin will continue to work on projects that interest her and is keeping her focus on her marriage to Justin Bieber.

“Since getting married, she wants to spend as much time with Justin as possible,” the source said. “She is definitely pickier about the projects that she commits to. Right now, she doesn’t seem too interested in doing more runway shows, but that can of course change. When is comes to work, she is in a position where she can just play it by ear.”