In the battle for the world’s longest stems, Britain and Russia don’t have a leg up on the Big Apple.
Earlier this month, Russia sparked an international incident when it
crowned Anastasia Strashevskaya, an 18-year-old law student, “Miss
Longest Legs” in a beauty pageant. Her legs measure 42 inches (from hip
to heel bone).
Days later, British student and model Alexandra Robertson emerged
from obscurity to top Strashevskaya with a whopping 47 inches of leg.
The 20-year-old Robertson, who is 6 feet 1, seemed to be the leggiest
lady in all the land.
Until model Brooke Banker, a 26-year-old Brooklyn-born beauty, entered the picture.
The 5-foot-11, blue-eyed stunner with 47-inch legs was discovered by
The New York Post, and while her stems are Amazonian, her life is more
A former Penn State volleyball player who eschews heels for flats,
Banker dreams of being a television host and says lanky legs are so
common in her family that even her goldendoodle, Tuna, has uncommonly
“I’ve been around tall girls my whole life with volleyball, so I know
my legs are long, but I never thought to enter a contest or get a
title,” says Banker, lounging in a black leotard atop the 75 Wall St.
condo, with its equally towering views of the Brooklyn Bridge and her
“It’s not necessarily what I’d like to be known for. It’s just how I was born. I didn’t do anything special for it,” she says.
Banker, now based in Manhattan, grew up in Marine Park, Brooklyn,
then moved upstate to Orange County before starting high school. Despite
always being told she should model, Banker focused on sports.
“I was never the fastest, I never jumped the highest, I was never the
strongest, but my height definitely helped. And I always worked hard.”
Hard enough to earn a spot on the elite national championship Penn
State volleyball team — where, she says, she was sometimes dwarfed by
her teammates even though her legs were longer than theirs.
“I was definitely one of the shorter girls on the team,” admits
Banker, who earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations. In 2009, she
moved to Los Angeles County and pursued an additional degree in
aviation science with the intention of becoming an air traffic
controller. Instead, she caught the modeling bug.
“One of my best friends was taking up photography, so we started
shooting,” says Banker, who was quickly cast by her friend’s classmates
for projects. “I decided to move back to New York in 2010 and give
modeling a shot.”
She began working with Monarch Agency about a year ago and has been doing fashion presentations, look books and a bit of runway.
“She definitely has the longest legs of any model that I’ve worked
with,” says Monarch CEO Catherine Smith. “She’s the newest talent who
we’re excited about. She’s super-sweet, professional, beautiful, and did
I mention those amazing legs?”
Those genetically blessed limbs make it tough for the athletic blonde
to shop: “I just can’t walk into Forever 21 or H&M and pick
something up,” explains Banker. “I have to spend a bit more money.”
One thing she isn’t splurging on is heels.
“I’m big into boots, sneakers, sandals. I generally only wear heels if I’m getting paid,” laughs Banker.
And if you’re going to approach her just to say she’s tall — save it.
“Almost every day, someone feels compelled to tell me, as if I don’t
know. [On modeling gigs] some people will take awhile and then say,
‘Wow, you’re all leg.’ Other models encourage me to get into leg
When she’s not being stopped by strangers, she is cooking or reading food blogs.
“I eat mostly vegan, but I’m not strict,” says Banker, whose guilty
pleasure is chocolate. “I didn’t like chocolate growing up, but I
recently rediscovered it and eat it at least three times a day.”
She keeps her physique through hot yoga and spin classes. “With my
height, I am lucky. I don’t gain weight too easily or noticeably, but I
also don’t gain good weight easily. I know people will say, ‘Spare me,’
but if I try to get my legs a little thicker, it’s hard for me.”
As for the opposite sex, Banker is single. She grudgingly admits her friends tell her she’s intimidating to men.
“I try not to think about it too much. And I don’t want to sound
creepy, but I get approached by a lot of really short guys or guys with
While fashion magazines may come calling, Banker says she’d love to
get a national commercial campaign — and dreams of being a weather girl
or a host on “Good Day New York,” which she watches religiously.
“I love watching Greg [Kelly] and Rosanna [Scotto]. I’d love to be on
there. They always look like they’re having so much fun,” says Banker,
adding that a friend of hers lives in Kelly’s building.
“The last time I was there, I saw him and I totally froze up,” she laughs.
And while Banker hasn’t always embraced her long, lean build, she knows it’s been a key to her success.
“When I was in high school, I would have preferred to be 4-11 rather
than 5-11. But my height has helped me to play volleyball at a high
level and to make a career out of modeling.”