When it comes to modeling, San Luis Obispo resident Chase Kennedy has a leg up on the competition — literally.
The San Luis Obispo High School graduate claims to have the longest legs in the American modeling industry: 51 inches from hip to heel. Her outsized stems have earned her advertising campaigns, trips to New York Fashion Week and news coverage ranging from a video segment on CBS’ “The Insider” to articles in the New York Post and Britain’s Daily Mail and Mirror.
Born and raised in San Luis Obispo, Kennedy, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall and wears size 11 shoes, belongs to a physically imposing family.
Her father, San Luis Obispo attorney and real estate broker Matthew Kennedy, stands 6 feet 7 inches tall, while her mother, Chris, an office manager, is 5-foot-11. The model has two older brothers: Shane, who’s 6-foot-5, and Devon, who’s 6-foot-6.
With her willowy figure and sun-kissed good looks — big brown eyes, tawny skin and chestnut brown hair tipped with caramel that reaches past her tanned shoulders — Chase Kennedy first captured the attention of talent scouts at age 14. But her parents, wary of an industry plagued by corruption and unscrupulous business practices, encouraged her to wait until age 18 before pursuing a modeling career.
I’d still be taller than most of the girls in 3-inch heels. They told me time over time, ‘We don’t know what to do with you.’
Chase Kennedy, whose legs measure 51 inches from hip to heel
After graduating from San Luis Obispo High School in 2011, Kennedy attended Cuesta College for a semester before moving to Los Angeles for two years.
Kennedy said she struggled to find her niche in a modeling scene dominated by “blonde California girls.” Because most Los Angeles casting calls are limited to women standing 5 feet 11 inches or shorter, she’d lie about her height.
“I’d still be taller than most of the girls in 3-inch heels,” Kennedy acknowledged. “They told me time over time, ‘We don’t know what to do with you.’ ”
Kennedy has had better luck in New York City and Europe, where physically striking high-fashion models are more in demand. She’s also worked closer to home, spending two days in 2014 at Hearst Castle in San Simeon filming the music video for Lady Gaga’s “G.U.Y.”
With an outseam (measured from the waistband to the bottom hem of the pant) of 51 inches, Kennedy outpaces her closest contenders, Houston model Lauren Williams, whose legs are 49 inches long, and New York City graphic designer Holly Burt, whose outseam measures 49.5 inches.
But Kennedy falls short of the world record for the woman with the longest legs. According to Guinness World Records, that title belongs to Russian-born basketball coach Svetlana Pankratova of Falls Church, Virginia, whose pins measure an impressive 51.9 inches long.
Since reports about her long legs began surfacing last year, Kennedy has appeared in ads for Alloy Apparel & Accessories, a retail company catering to tall and plus-sized women, and a Spanish-language Toyota commercial in which she demonstrates the spacious nature of a car.
For Kennedy, who once battled feelings of embarrassment over being taller than her male classmates, the extra attention has served as a confidence boost.
Last year, she said, she started wearing high-heeled shoes for the first time.
Kennedy doesn’t plan to pursue modeling full time. Rather, the self-described “beer educator,” who coordinates tours and tastings at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, will enter Cal Poly’s Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration program in the fall.
She wants to become an event planner and manager for wineries and breweries based on the Central Coast. Fortunately, she said, her long legs make her memorable in job interviews.
Her height “makes me stand out, makes me different,” Kennedy said. “I’ve just learned to love it.”