These days, everyone’s trying to stand out. Whether it’s by dyeing one’s hair a wacky color or wearing bizarre clothing, people will go to great lengths to be different from the rest. But for the stars of TLC’s My Giant Life , it just comes naturally.
This new five-part series will follow the lives of four women who are 6’6’’ and above as they grapple with the everyday struggles that come with being a whole foot taller than the average woman. Simple tasks that many of us mindlessly do all the time — cooking a meal, driving a car and shaving our legs — aren’t so simple for these ladies. Plus, a trip to the grocery store is never just a trip to the grocery store, as public outings almost always result in multiple stares and questions from strangers.
Two of the show’s stars are Colleen, a 36-year-old former pro volleyball player who proudly stands at 6 feet 6 inches, and Lindsay, an actress and former wrestler who holds the title of Tallest Actress in a Leading Role at 6 feet 9 inches tall. I sat down with these ladies to chat about both the struggles and benefits of being a so-called “giant” in a much shorter world. What they had to say was both inspiring and useful for not just tall girls but anyone who’s different from the crowd in their own unique way.
SheKnows: I saw a video that showed Lindsay talking about how flying in a plane is particularly frustrating. Do you each have any other everyday activities that you particularly don’t enjoy at your height?
Lindsay: Yeah absolutely, we were just joking about it — shaving your legs is a nuisance. Girls are supposed to shave every two days. Nope, once a week. It takes forever. There’s just so much stuff — showers, hotel beds, any kind of traveling.
Colleen: Yeah, traveling in general is kind of tricky. We’re expected to be placed in very small spaces and we don’t really fit. Just in general, walking around. It’s not annoying all the time. I don’t mind the attention as long as it’s positive.
SK: In this video you also addressed how a lot of people stare at you because of your height. How do you both deal with that?
C: People a lot of times make not necessarily rude comments, but stuff that everybody says. I kind of feel like maybe you could just keep that to yourself. They tell me I’m tall all the time. I know I’m tall; you can tell yourself, tell your wife, tell your kids. But I know — I am this person every single day.
L: It’s like, can you come up with something more clever? I’ve heard this a million times. The worst is when guys try to use it to hit on you and you’re like “You have to be clever to talk to me because I don’t have time for this.”
C: The top three questions that people ask are: How tall are you? How tall are your parents? And do you play basketball?
SK: Well, I hate to be cliché, but I have to ask one of those three questions because I’m so curious. Are your parents tall too, or are you the tallest person in your family?
C: I’m 6’6″ and my parents are 5’8″ and 6’2″.
L: I’m 6’9″, my dad is 6’7″, and my mom is 5’11″.
SK: How long have you been your current height?
L: I was 6’9″ at 13.
C: I was 15 when I reached 6’6″.
SK: What kind of impact did your height have on your childhood?
C: It’s tricky — I think it’s hard for everybody at that age though. Adolescence is not a fun age. Kids are mean if you have short hair or big ears, so to be tall, I think it was definitely a little more challenging. But not too much more than most adolescent kids and the problems they also face.
L: I think for me in particular it was more difficult because I came from circumstances that aren’t normal for children. I was in a single-family home, and that’s what makes my life a little more interesting. I grew up in not the best neighborhood, so the kids kind of picked on me because I was the tall white giant. It was hard for me growing up because everyone projected that on me. For instance, the girls were very mean in middle school and high school. I was told that I wasn’t gonna be asked to prom because this girl started spreading a rumor that I was a guy. Obviously I’m not. This was why I didn’t go to any dances in high school either — I’m being very honest here. This guy named Ryan was dared to come up to me during a dance in my junior year to dance with me. Next thing I know there’s pictures the next day all over the school just totally making fun of me. But I’m a better person for it because if I didn’t live through that strife, I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t have a message to share.
SK: What is dating like at your height? Do you have a rule against dating men who are shorter than you?
C: I don’t. Part of the show on TLC goes through dating with me. They set me up on three dates. I shouldn’t give away any details, but height doesn’t really make a difference for me as far as finding a man goes. The guy I’ve had the most significant relationship with is 5’10″. He’s confident and he looks at me as an equal. He doesn’t try to shy away from it. Some people do approach him like “Wow, how do you handle that?” And he just says stuff like “That’s how I roll.”
L: Dating is interesting. Unlike Colleen, I kind of have a limit because I don’t want to feel like I’m holding a child’s hand. The confidence and personality in a man is the most attractive thing about a man. It’s very intimidating, I guess, being 6’9″ and a woman, so it helps weed out the ones that aren’t confident enough because if you’re too insecure you’re not gonna be able to deal with it. I’ve had many relationships break because I get so much attention.
C: That’s something I find with the taller men is they’re used to being top dog and getting all the attention. So when we come in, they’re almost uncomfortable with it.
SK: So we’ve talked a lot about the struggles of being tall, but what are the benefits?
C: You never get lost in a crowd. Concerts are my favorite place to be tall — you can be in the back row. Maybe one thing that’s kind of a bummer is that you can’t be right up front because people will get really upset. But I’m usually in the middle, and I have at least 10 feet behind me, so that’s my own little dance floor.
L: I think that being shockingly tall as a female puts you in a position to be a leader. It’s taught me responsibility; it’s taught me self-respect and it’s taught me mutual respect for everybody else. I think that’s the thing that I love about it is that you just get to be a leader and be yourself. You get to own it; you get to be confident. You have that opportunity, and a lot of people don’t. If you can own what makes you unique, everybody else can see that and they can do it, too. And they can be confident and self-secure and it just goes in a circle.
SK: Why did you decide to be part of the show My Giant Life?
L: First of all, I’m an actress so I feel that one of the most important things for me is sharing my message, which is to help young girls, women and really anyone to just own what makes them unique. To have that opportunity to share that message and be like, “Here’s what I went through and I know you may be going through something that’s not the same, but you can relate with me.” When I was (younger), I didn’t have anyone to relate with. The internet wasn’t really around when we were kids. I would just love to have that ability to relate with people.
C: I would also like to be a role model not only to tall people but just to people in general. I think embracing differences is huge right now — just embracing the fact that we’re all different. We all deserve respect. I’m very kumbaya — I just wanna bring everybody together and be like “We’re all one.”
L: We are all cut from the same cloth. We all have different attributes, and like Colleen said, those should be strengths.