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 II: Amber Henson
How tall are you?
How tall were you in middle school?
5’10 – 6’0
What was your experience like growing up as a tall girl?
My entire family is pretty tall, so I never noticed my height until I got to middle school–a time where we are most self-conscious and everyone’s differences seem to stand out. It was definitely an advantage on the basketball court, but my jeans never fit right and I often felt awkward around my classmates or people that I was meeting for the first time. Sometimes I even slouched to make myself seem shorter. But my dad always encouraged me to own my height with poise and confidence. Now a stand tall and embrace every inch of me– I love it now!
What’s been the craziest reaction to your height?
When I was a sophomore high school traveled to Singapore (where people are very short) to play in the Youth Olympics. We got a chance to go shopping and a local woman called me Godzilla…. It was a bit hurtful at the time, but now I can laugh about comments like that. There will always be someone out there what has a negative or insensitive comment, but you have to let that stuff roll off you.
Where do you find clothes?
Lately there have been so many cute online stores popping up specifically for tall women and I think it’s awesome that someone finally realized that tall women want to be stylish too! My favorites are Long Tall Sally and Talltique.
What is your favorite thing about being tall?
I love that I can walk in a room and grab everyone’s attention before I even say a word. People naturally look my way and listen to what I have to say.
Do you only date people taller than you?
No, I don’t discriminate. Sure it’s nice to have someone close to my height, but I’d never limit myself!
Who’s your favorite tall role model?
My teammate Erin Mathias. She really into fashion and always so well-dressed. Sometimes I hesitate to wear certain things because I don’t know if I can pull it off with my height–She takes risks and rocks her heels shamelessly. I get a lot of fashion inspiration from her.
How have you built confidence over time?
Making friends with other tall girls. It’s kind of like a secret society. We talk to each other about some of our insecurities and challenges and try to overcome them together. It’s great to talk to someone who can relate to your own experience as a tall girl.
Who has helped you to shape the perception of yourself?
My dad. From he first time he noticed that i was slouching and being shy because of my height, he talked to me a lot about how my height was a blessing and that I would appreciate it more and more as I got older. He told me that tall women are born leaders who command attention and respect. and as I went through college, I noticed what he said was exactly right! I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “I wish I has long legs like you!” since I’ve been in college. So now I’m really proud of my height.
What role has sports or other extracurricular activities played in your life?
A tremendous role. For a very long time (especially through middle and high school), the basketball court was the only time I felt completely comfortable and it seemed like it was only time that my height was seen as desirable. Playing basketball helped me build self-confidence, got me a scholarship to the school of my dreams, and helped me meet some of my best friends
What advice would you give to tall middle school girls?
LOVE IT, OWN IT, STRUT IT. Middle school is a tough for many girls, not just tall girls. We are so concerned about fitting in and hiding our differences, but as you get older you will embrace those differences and others will appreciate them too! If you’re ever feeling self-conscious, surround yourself with positive people, find a tall role model, look in the mirror, and remember that tall is beautiful!
Amber graduated from Duke University in 2015 where she played on the Duke Women’s Basketball Team as a Center and studied Public Policy. She is currently a graduate student at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.