Introduction: Tales of a Tall Girl is a three part blog series that is published on Tuesdays for #TallGirlTuesday. The series celebrates the different life experiences of tall women and young girls. The series asks several different Tall Girls who have worked with HGSW for their input and insight on the awesomeness of being really tall!! HGSW encourages you to celebrate #TallGirlTuesday with us by posting on your own social media about being a tall girl or a tall girl you know!!
Part I: Claire Veazey
How tall are you?
How tall were you in middle school?
5 ‘ 9 “
What was your experience like growing up as a tall girl?
I remember middle school being a particularly tough time for a tall girl. I definitely wasn’t the only person who’s body was going through all sorts of changes, but my height made me a little more visible than other girls. As someone who was a little more shy, I didn’t really like the extra attention, and felt self-conscious. I was taller than everyone… even some of my teachers! Also, my school decided that they wanted everyone to wear uniforms when I was in 7th grade, and I had the HARDEST time finding khaki pants that were long enough. When I got to high school, I started playing volleyball, and that was the first time that I really felt like being tall was beneficial for me.
What’s been the craziest reaction to your height?
I often have older women comment on my legs like, “Oh honey, you have fabulous legs” or “Whew! Wish I had those legs!”. It’s definitely a compliment, but sometimes catches me off guard.
Where do you find clothes?
Most of my height is in my legs – I have a 35″ inseam! So finding pants that are long enough are a big challenge. I am really grateful that “cropped” pants are in style right now, because almost all skinny jeans look cropped on me. I’ve had the best luck with Express and Gap online. I have to order them online because they rarely have them in stock in the store. However, sometimes they change the design of their jeans and then they don’t fit me anymore, so I’m always in search of stores that carry “tall” sizes
What is your favorite thing about being tall?
I love being able to reach most things that my shorter friends can’t… no need to get out a step-stool to put away dishes in the kitchen!
Do you only date people taller than you?
I do prefer to date people who are as tall as or taller than me. I have been on dates with men who are a few inches shorter than me, but I just never quite felt comfortable.
Who’s your favorite tall role model?
My friend Andrea is 6 feet tall, gorgeous, and absolutely embraces her height. She wears pretty, high heels all the time and never seems self-conscious about being the tallest person in a group of people. When I’m with Andrea, I feel more confident and powerful… and I wear my heels too!
How have you built confidence over time?
I think for girls there is a lot of emphasis on what your body looks like, rather than what your body can DO. So I build confidence by getting involved in physical activities that give me an opportunity to appreciate my body. Yoga helps me calm down, and slowly give a little TLC to each part of my body. Going for walks or jogs, and getting better at it every day, helps me feel healthy and accomplished. I also try to not think so many critical or negative thoughts about myself… but they pop up all the time! It sounds kind of silly, but sometimes I treat those thoughts like another person is saying them to me, and say “I hear you, but I’m going to ignore what you’re saying!” We girls have enough negative things going on outside of us, and we need to be our own best friend!
Who has helped you to shape the perception of yourself?
My good friends and family always encourage me to see myself in a positive light. My mom especially has always been there for me if I ever got discouraged with myself, whether it was related to how I looked or how I was doing in school, or if I felt like I didn’t have many friends. She has taught me how to keep things in perspective, and acknowledge all the wonderful things going on in life, even on a bad day.
What role has sports or other extracurricular activities played in your life?
Playing volleyball was one of the first times that people started commenting on how “lucky” I was to be tall, and I started to think that way too! I was grateful for my height because it made me better at a sport that I enjoyed playing. Unfortunately, there were some unhealthy, competitive influences on the volleyball team as well. My teammates judged other girls for their physical appearance, and always made comments about how important it was to be “fit” or look a certain way in the uniform. Over time, I found myself internalizing some of those negative attitudes, and being really hard on myself. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to be involved in other extracurricular activities, like piano lessons, school plays, and volunteering at nursing homes… wonderful pieces of who I am that have nothing to do with how I look!
What advice would you give to tall middle school girls?
– It may not feel like it now, but tall is GOOD. I promise that you won’t always be the tallest person in the room… as people get older, especially boys, they will get taller too! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that people are all shapes and sizes, and being healthy on the inside is so much more important that how you look on the outside.
– Try not to get discouraged when clothes don’t fit you perfectly. Your body is unique and it may take some time to find the right clothes for your shape. Clothes should make you feel comfortable and beautiful, and if they don’t do that, then they don’t deserve your money! Keep searching
– Just because you are tall, does not mean that you have to be “athletic” or play a sport. Your body is a very important part of who you are, but it is not the only part of you. Getting involved in extracurriculars that make you happy and help you connect with others are just as valuable as a sports team.
Claire is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Health (MPH) at the University of North Carolina – Gillings School of Global Public Health, with a concentration in Health Behavior. She is a loyal Tar Heel, having also completed her undergraduate degree in psychology with honors at UNC in 2013.
With a background in psychology research, she is an advocate for incorporating more mental health into programs for children and adolescents, teaching them to recognize from an early age that taking care of the “inside” is just as important as healthy eating and exercise. She is particularly passionate about women’s health and empowerment, and is dedicated to creating more opportunities for girls to learn how to take ownership and pride in every facet of their health: bodies, minds, relationships … and everything in between!
In addition to helping with HGSW, Claire attends classes on campus and works as a Development intern at Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in Chapel Hill. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in non-profit leadership and/or helping for-profit companies navigate giving back to communities through public health projects.
To stay healthy, Claire enjoys being outside as much as possible, practicing yoga, listening to music and dancing, playing piano, laughing, watching cat videos on YouTube, and spending time with friends and family.