Regardless of all the upsets that have happened this year, 2016 has had its gems; the revelation that for the first time in 100 years tiger numbers are back on the rise and the whole of Portugal running for four days straight on renewable energy alone. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.
For me, this year was a banger – 2016 was the year that I became a model proper. Being a 6’0 tall mixed-race redhead I’ve never felt like I truly fitted in, which I’m sure many tall women can relate to. As the vertiginous, Amazonian women that we are, we’re often the recipient of a phrase or two: “you should be a basketball player!”, “you must be a model!?”, “God, you’re tall!”. I always accepted them with a bit of humour – if not a bit of an eye roll – but with regards to the model comment never really thought that it was a feasible move.
So, it was with some surprise that a modelling career in my late 20s did become feasible. Having trained and worked as a journalist before entering this alien industry, I’d luckily become sufficiently hardened to be able to deal with its rougher sides. I’d spent 2015 thinking “am I really giving this a shot? Who do I think I am?” and was under no illusion that it’s a fickle industry and in all likelihood wouldn’t work for me. But, with gusto, I dived in to the modelling world anyway, whispering to myself “what have I got to lose?”. And it turned out, in 2016, that in fact I had everything to gain.
For any aspiring models out there: don’t listen to your detractors. Not only was I in my late 20s but to make things harder for myself I am a size 10-12. I applied to various modelling agencies and was repeatedly rebuffed to the tune of “oh, you’re too medium sized”, “you’re too unique-looking” or “you’re too old”. Perhaps I am all of those things. Apparently “clients wouldn’t book” me. Which is what makes 2016 sweeter, having modelled this year for the likes of Long Tall Sally, Selfridges, and M&S and with a potential magazine cover on the way.
I dived in to the modelling world, whispering to myself “what have I got to lose?”. And it turned out, in 2016, that in fact I had everything to gain.
Many of us tall women can’t help but feel we’re ‘on show’. So when dealing with rejection, simply retreating or hiding away doesn’t exactly become easy. Perhaps that’s why there’s a stoicism in a tall woman’s persona – to endure, to prove people wrong and to try again and again to succeed. However, it does take time to get to that point. Years of feeling like the outsider at school doesn’t go away with a shrug.
This year was also the year that I entered a new industry: acting. It’s something that I’d dreamed about as a child, but had shoved to the wayside muttering once again that it’s not exactly a viable career choice. It’s also somewhat a new challenge for me as a tall woman. Actors must be totally comfortable with their body. Their limbs are instruments through which to channel their characters – as wanky as that sounds, I’m sorry – and I’ve really struggled to let the neuroses surrounding my height go. This is especially true if I’m acting a romantic scene with a guy shorter than me. All I’m consumed with are thoughts of whether I look ridiculously large next to him or whether it just doesn’t look realistic. Which is stupid. Of course it’s realistic and the only reason an audience may not buy into the relationship is if I give them reason not to.
I want to continue to push personal boundaries and own my height as a new 30-year-old.
I want to enter 2017 with an amplified carefreeness. I want to continue to push personal boundaries and own my height as a new 30-year-old. I’d love to become physically stronger and fitter, with an even thicker skin, not stopping until I achieve the things I’ve always wanted to.
Here’s to constantly seeking new experiences, to never giving up, and to having a jolly old laugh on the way. After all, what have we got to lose? Happy New Year!