I’ve been my adult height since I was 14 years old. I always knew that height was a blessing in terms of athletics, but at that age it was difficult for me to comprehend what it could possibly be useful or beneficial for outside of the sports arena (besides modeling, which I never thought of as a career path for myself). I recently celebrated another birthday, and as it’s officially the last year of my 20’s, I spent a decent amount of time thinking about what I want to accomplish before I turn 30 and in general, my journey so far. And as it turns out, my height – either directly or indirectly – has given me so much more than I would have ever dreamed of when I was a teenager. Here are 4 things my height has unexpectedly given me:
- LIFE-LONG FRIENDSHIPS. Starting in middle school, my dad was awesome enough to form a club volleyball team for the area of Iowa we’re from, which is comprised of many rural, small towns who often don’t have enough girls to start a team of their own. It was through this club team that I had the opportunity to meet and play with girls from other communities as well as girls from my hometown. We traveled so many weekends of the year to play in tournaments and have so many fun memories of our time spent together in different cities. I am lucky enough to call most of them great friends to this day even though we live all over the country and we’re almost all in our 30’s! Playing on this club team also instilled in me a great love for the sport of volleyball. It was ultimately volleyball that guided my decision towards college and where I wanted to go to pursue a further education. It led me to Minnesota State University. I didn’t have a long-lasting sports career there, but even though volleyball didn’t work out I absolutely loved the school and easily decided I would stay there regardless. It was at this time in my life that I met so many amazing people that I still love to talk with, travel with and experience life with to this day! I often reflect on choices I make for myself, so in the past I have found myself reflecting on my younger self’s desire to play college sports and wonder if I wasn’t so concerned with playing volleyball after high school, what school would I have picked for myself and how different would my journey be? Luckily, I have never had to regret my decision because I had the greatest time of my life there and made the best of friends along the way!
- MY CAREER. I truly had no idea when I was taking business management and finance courses in college that entrepreneurship is the journey that I would be on today. I definitely envisioned myself taking a much safer, predictable route – and that’s where I started as a senior accountant for a health care company. Amy and I had always tossed the idea around of starting a clothing company for tall women given our frustrations with our shopping experiences, but it wasn’t until we actually started going to market to learn more about the industry and options available that we started to take ourselves more seriously. So at the end of 2014, Amalli Talli officially launched and life has never quite been the same. It’s now 2018 and our business looks so different than when we first started it, but all for great reasons that we are both super excited about. And without a doubt, the most rewarding part of this business has been connecting with women throughout the country and all over the world, sharing our stories and encouraging one another to be confident and to stand tall!
- OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL. This is a bit intertwined with my career, but it is through our journey with Amalli Talli that I’ve had the opportunity to travel to so many cities I had never seen before! Since 2014, we’ve visited Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and New York – either for market or to source fabrics for our own line. Prior to launching our business, I had never been to ANY of these cities before (surprisingly, not even Chicago – which is a cheap, 45-minute plane ride from Minneapolis) and it’s been amazing to be able to visit each of these fun cities not once, but multiple times! New York is definitely my favorite, but Los Angeles (especially the Malibu area) isn’t close behind 🙂 It will be interesting to see where Amalli Talli continues to take us in the future as we continue to grow our business and hopefully are able to produce more items for our own line!
- A GREATER SENSE OF EMPATHY. As tall girls and women, we all know what it’s like to have moments (or days/months/years) of insecurities. Some of these insecurities are brought on by ourselves, but many times they have been brought on by strangers when we feel judged or unaccepted by their looks or comments towards us. As I look back on some the moments that have made me feel insecure, I realize that they have given me an even greater sense of how I should think about, speak to and treat other people, especially those who are different from me. I always think about the story that Amy shares of how she had to wear men’s khaki pants for a middle school band concert because there weren’t any women’s khaki pants available to her at that time that fit her. I’m sure it probably wasn’t her best look, but it also wasn’t her choice and she felt extremely uncomfortable and out of place in that moment. It’s a simple reminder to never judge people by their cover – you don’t know their story or their struggles. One of my favorite quotes is “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” It’s sad how there can be such a disconnect between people, when really I think we have so much to connect about. Even to the short guy who points out how tall you are – yes it’s annoying, but there’s a 99.9% chance he’s commenting on your height because he’s insecure in his own height. And that’s something that we can all relate to.
I’d love to hear from you! As you think about your own journey, in what ways has your height been an unexpected blessing to you? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments! You might just help someone gain a new perspective on their height today 🙂