By Rebecca Drew
THIS BRITISH mum of two spent years dreaming of being shorter after being cruelly told “she was too tall to be a woman” but now embraces the stares and comments she receives for her SIX-FOOT-FOUR-INCH height and wishes she was even taller.
Accounts administrator, Melanie Coulson (46) from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, has a rare hereditary condition called Marfan Syndrome which affects the body’s connective tissue, with its main characteristics being long and slender limbs and being tall. According to the NHS, it affects one in 3,000 people.
By the time Melanie hit her teens, she was already six-foot-four-inches tall and was bullied throughout school for her height, which made her feel unattractive as she longed to be smaller. She had the habit of stooping in conversation and only ever wearing flats to try to blend in with her peers. Melanie’s insecurities surrounding her height continued throughout her twenties and thirties, as people often asked if she is a man or a transvestite, claiming that she is “too tall to be female”.
Despite the negative comments she receives and struggling to find clothes to fit her, Melanie has finally embraced her height and lives by the belief that she “was born to stand out, not blend in”. With the support of her daughters, Rebecca (26) and Hayley (23), who have not inherited her height, Melanie decided to set up her Instagram and YouTube in January this year to inspire both boys and girls to be comfortable with their looks from an early age.
Incredible pictures show Melanie dressed up with her shorter friends for a night out, proudly wearing her heels, which add an extra six-inches to her height, out in public, and peering over the top of her living room door.
“When I was growing up, I was really tall with long limbs which is a trait of Marfan Syndrome, which resulted in me being bullied all through school, and just feeling generally unattractive and different through my twenties and thirties, never wearing heels, and stooping to try to make myself look smaller,” said Melanie.
“I have really struggled with buying clothes as I was growing up as I can only purchase clothes from a tall range of clothing. I tend to shop in New Look or Dorothy Perkins tall range, due to having a thirty-six-inch inside leg.
“More recently I have struggled with people’s attitudes towards my height, people are so quick to judge, and I am often asked, if I’m a male or female, or if I am a transvestite, which I did find really upsetting in the beginning, firstly because people do not realise how hurtful a comment like this can be, it’s certainly not giving my ego a boost.
“Secondly, when I have challenged people why they ask this, their reason is generally along the lines of ‘well you are too tall to be a female’ which makes me sad that their attitudes are so shallow.
“The best thing about my height today, is the fact that I have now come to terms with it, this didn’t happen overnight and age has definitely been a big factor in this.
“I now stand by the moto; I was born to stand out, not blend in.
“I have great fun making my YouTube videos, with my youngest daughter, who does all my filming, I embrace the fact that I am tall, I want to inspire people to be more confident and comfortable with their appearance as early as possible.
“And of course, being able to reach things high up, that regular height people can’t, is a benefit.”
Melanie has inherited her height from her father’s side of the family, where her cousins are all tall, but nobody on that side has been tested for Marfan syndrome.
As well as struggling to embrace her height throughout her twenties, Melanie developed symmetrical vitiligo which has caused patches of her skin to turn white due to losing pigmentation and ten years ago she lost her sight in her right eye due to an accident and wears a prosthetic.
Thanks to this, Melanie hopes she can encourage anyone struggling to come to terms with who they are to be proud and embrace what some may consider ‘flaws’.
“The turning point for me for my Instagram and YouTube was when I learnt to love myself and learnt to come to terms with the negative comments,” she said.
“I have a wonderful support network around me, with my family and my friends. I wonder if anyone else is feeling the way I did for so many years and maybe they don’t have this support, I am always wanting to support people maybe I can inspire someone who is struggling with their identity, not just through my height but also through my vitiligo and my prosthetic eye.
“Through comments I get on my videos or on my Instagram I can see that I have already helped some people. I can honestly say I love my height and actually wish I was taller.
“I love to meet fellow tall women and stand in awe at them or ask for photos more recently so I can put it on my Instagram. Never did I realise that so many people love tall women.
“My YouTube and Instagram are growing every day, and today I am thankful that I am so tall and different.
“I now wear heels for my videos that make me around six-foot-ten-inches. I do get lots of stares, which is fine, as I used to get them anyway so I may as well get stared at for doing something that I love, which is being extra tall.
“I have found that people’s attitude to this is different from person to person, some say things like; ‘why are you wearing heels, you are tall enough’ or others look at my feet and then all the way up to my head and then back down and say; ‘wow you are so tall.’
“Some will say; ‘I wish I was that tall’.”
For more information see Melanie’s YouTube channel where she posts her tall and proud videos https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5dLeDq-A3-eJEdCEP7gxpQ