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 III: Camille & Rachel McGirt
How tall are you?
Rachel: I am exactly 6’1 ¾ of an inch. Whenever people ask me how tall I am I tell them that I am 6’1, but if the conversation begins with “Do you play…?” (I typically get basketball but sometimes I get volleyball), then I say that I am 6’2.
Camille: I’m about 6’4. When I played basketball they had me on the roster as 6’6, but when I’ve been measured at the doctor I’m exactly 6’3 ¾, soooo basically 6’4 lol
How tall were you in middle school?
Rachel: When I was in middle school I was 5’9-5’10. I was a lot taller than my female classmates and I was usually the same height as the guys in my class and in my grade.
Camille: I was at least 6’1/6’2 by the 8th grade, possibly taller. I’ve always been taller than my classmates, literally since kindergarten.
What was your experience like growing up as a tall girl?
Rachel: Growing up I never really thought that I was “that tall”, but everyone around me told me that I was, especially my friends. Because of my size, there was always an expectation for me to play sports, but my mother always reaffirmed for me that I did not have to fulfill that stereotype and I could take a different path.
Despite my mother’s efforts, I was still really excited about sports and I fell in love with athletics and my passion for all sports still stands today. Athletics helped me to have confidence about myself really embrace who I was as a young woman. In middle school I didn’t really like being tall because I was different from everyone else, but in high school I came to love the fact that my differences made me stick out in a beautiful way!
Camille: Well, it was never easy but there was something always beautiful about it. As a tall young girl turning into a woman my parents always taught me to hold my shoulders high and to be proud of this gift that I was given. I also think that playing sports growing up gave me a “reason” to use my height in a way that was “appropriate” to other people. Growing up I never knew that it was okay not to play sports and to love who I was unapologetically without having to throw a ball around, but people expected me to play sports because I was tall (even to this day, people say “why aren’t you playing basketball). I’m just glad that I was able to enhance my academic/professional skills so that I can confidently navigate the world today, without a basketball/volleyball in my hand. HOWEVER, I cannot knock the valuable lessons that playing sports taught me and I do love athletics. From determination, to confidence, to resilience and learning how to finish what I start—I learned a great deal from playing sports for the majority of my life and I’m proud to say it!
What’s been the craziest reaction to your height?
Rachel: I typically get “crazy” reactions from men. Guys are usually so surprised at how tall I am and how I carry myself, as if to say tall women can’t be confident and stylish…YEAH RIGHT!
I also get crazy reactions from children, when I volunteer at elementary schools, children are always so amazed to see a woman as tall as me.
Camille: Haha, people have said some CRAZY things to me during my years on this Earth. I’d say the craziest reaction was this one time when I was at a theme park and a family came up to me (pretty sure they were from a different country) and asked for my autograph then took a picture with me because they thought that I was a famous professional athlete.
Where do you find clothes?
Rachel: I consider myself to be a “curvy” ( I can wear anything from a 12-14) tall girl so a lot times I have to find my clothes from places that fit my curves and also fit my length. I love keeping up with the latest trends and fashions so I usually buy my clothes form ALLOY and Torrid.
Camille: My main go to stores for clothes are Long Tall Sally, Talltique, and Height Goddess. I also enjoy scrolling through @tallswag’s Instagram because she knows where all of the spots are for us super talls to find cute stuff! There’s also this new site called shoptheheight.com that I like too! Also, Nordstrom Rack is my go-to place for shoes!
What is your favorite thing about being tall?
Rachel: My favorite thing about being tall, is that it makes me different. I love sticking out and not being your “average” woman. I think that many times my height is the first thing that people notice about me and I love that!
Camille: I’d say my favorite thing is that it makes me memorable and I honestly like the attention that I get haha (unless I’m running errands and trying to be lowkey lol). But seriously, it’s really helpful when I’m networking because people rarely ever forget me. That also helps to me stay on my game and make sure that I represent myself in the best possible way, because people are watching and people are remembering.
Do you only date people taller than you?
Rachel: Okay so yes, I have to admit that although things could change (which they probably won’t), I am really only attracted to people that are taller than me. The shortest guy that I have ever dated was my boyfriend in high school and he was actually my height. Since I have been in college I have only dated people that are taller than me.
Camille: Hmm, I think “only” is pretty exclusionary. I’d never want to limit myself, but I think that my biological instincts make me initially physically attracted to guys that are my height or taller. As a tall woman who is consistently asserting leadership roles I usually feel very dominant with people looking up to me 98.6% of the time so I think that it makes me feel more feminine and less dominant when I’m looking up and someone’s looking down at me. But when it comes down to full holistic attraction and being compatible for a relationship there is so much more involved. So after many years of trail and error I’ve come to understand that the 6’7 athlete may or may not be the guy for me and that’s okay! I’ve never seriously dated anyone significantly shorter than me, but hey life is unpredictable!!
Who’s your favorite tall role model?
Rachel: I am not really sure if she is considered to be that “tall”, but the one woman that I have admired since the 5th grade is Serena Williams. As a tall woman, who has a curvy body, it has always been nice to be able to have someone to look up to that actually looks like me. Serena is so beautiful and she exudes confidence in everything that she does!
Camille: Man, y’all know I love my 1st lady, Michelle! She’s definitely a role model for all of the tall women and girls out there and she’s doing a great job of raising Sasha and Malia to be tall, smart and beautiful. But I’d say that my 1st tall role model was my mother and she was my 1st true example of how I should carry myself as a lady. She helped me to make it through those moments of feeling different because of my height and she made sure that I had what I needed to become who I am today.
Who has helped you to shape the perception of yourself?
Rachel: I think that a lot of my confidence was instilled in me when I was young by my mother, but I always like to acknowledge the fact that I had my older sister to look up to who is a very tall woman as well. They both really helped me embrace the fact that I was tall, and they did this not just by telling me, but more importantly they exemplified this through example. When I was younger I wanted to be just like my older sister (and in some ways I still do), and because of her I thought that being tall was cool, and she showed me that I had something that everyone else didn’t have.
Camille: Definitely my parents and other members of my family. First, I’d say my parents both my mother and father are very tall and they always let me know that I needed to stand up tall with my head up high. Those bouts of confidence were instilled in me at a young age and they helped me to believe that I was strong, smart, pretty and lovable—and I believe that it was during those random but assuring moments of affirmation that helped me to build my body-image. I would also say other members of my family too, both of my grandmothers were tall and they would both tell me to keep my head held high and to be who God made me to be, unapologetically. I also had a really tall grandfather, tall uncles/aunts/cousins etc. and I think that being around them helped me to understand that this is just who I am, it’s in my blood!
How have you built confidence over time?
Rachel: I think that a lot of my confidence has been built up by just loving myself more and more every year that I’ve gotten older. I think that it is amazing, how much more I have fallen in love with myself since middle school and high school. I have realized that I am truly an amazing person and the world should know that too! That is why it is so important for me to love myself for who I am, nothing more and nothing less. Self-acceptance is key to confidence and once you accept yourself for who you are, then you can conquer anything!
Camille: I think it’s pretty cool how Rachel mentioned me in her answers for body-perception because I’d say that over time she’s definitely helped me to continue to build my confidence (physically, mentally, professionally/academically etc.). When I look at my sister I see a reflection of myself and all the years of our talks, sister sessions, sleepovers, mirror discussions and how we’ve built a lot of positive affirmations within each other. When I’m feeling down, my sister can seriously speak life into me in a way that is powerful and uplifting—so when I’m feeling like I’m lacking confidence or losing it I know that she can help me to remember who I am, all that I’ve done and how I can overcome whatever I am fighting internally, and really help me to be a better person.
What role has sports or other extracurricular activities played in your life?
Rachel: I LOVE SPORTS! The joke when I was in school was that I was the one girl that was on every team. In middle school I played volleyball, basketball, and soccer and then in high school I played tennis, basketball, and softball. Every season, I had something to do!
Playing sports in school was really fun as it gave me the chance to make new friends and learn about different sports, but I also did sports as an effort to manage the weight issues that I had. Up until my junior year of high school I was overweight and really struggled with ever getting to a “healthy” weight. I used sports as a way to stay active and to make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. Despite my weight issues I was a skilled and talented basketball player, but I knew that if I wanted to play at the Division one level then I had to lose weight and get in better shape.
The competitive nature that sports taught me how to fight for what I wanted and go after what I wanted. The summer before my Junior year, I made a plan and I lost 30 pounds.
After I did this, I went on to have my best basketball season of my basketball career, and earned several Division One full scholarship offers. I went on to play at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. I played at UNCA for two years, but I decided being there was not the best situation for me, and I transferred here to UNC Chapel-Hill. When I got to UNC I thought that my playing days were over, but I was presented with a wonderful opportunity to play basketball for UNC Chapel Hill and I eventually became a lady Tar Heel!
I say all of this to say that sports have not only helped me to build my confidence as a young woman, but they have also opened doors for me to gain access to opportunities that I never thought that I would have.
Camille: So if you know my story, you’ll know that me and basketball have a love hate relationship. Basketball seriously put me through sweat, blood and tears of agony and pain but it also brought out the best in me and pushed me to become a phenomenal woman. I don’t want to go into details on what happened to me (if you’re interested you can learn more here: YouTube Watch) but I’d say that sports are a great way to maintain physical health while learning valuable lessons about life and relationships. I think that being a college athlete helped me to understand the amount of work that you can actually get done in one day, I have so much respect for all college athletes out there because that life is a GRIND and students who are not athletes don’t know the amount of work that college athletes have to complete (especially high academic performers) to get through each week. Knowing that level of hustle, determination and grit early on helps me (yes, even now) to push through each day so that I can be a high-performer in any arena (academic, professional etc.)
What advice would you give to tall middle school girls?
Rachel: To all of my beautiful tall middle school girls, I want you all to know that you are special in so many ways. Hold your head high and never let anyone dim your shine because you are amazing. Being different is a GOOD thing. When you have something that everyone else doesn’t, then they want to be like you (they look up to you!…you get it? Lol). Ladies, continue to be who you are and exude confidence in all that you do!
Camille: I would say: love who you are and love who you are becoming. Hold your head high and be confident in the way that you’re intended to be, TALL and BEAUTFUL. Know that what you have is rare, and it’s a gift so love it and embrace who you were born to be! It’s great to be different and being tall is something that you will continuously love more & more each day, so keep your shoulders up & OWN IT!
About Camille & Rachel:
Camille and Rachel are sisters who together founded Healthy Girls Save the World in 2011. To read more about both of them visit our Leadership Team Page.