Any woman that stands tall enough to nearly touch the sky must be heaven-sent.
Studies have shown that height is associated with strength, power, and dominance. For women, it can cause others to feel intimidated by this unique trait, especially men. Imagine standing 5-foot-10 in flats and the moment you put on heels, you're 6 feet. No one wants to be inundated with thoughts of being smaller just to satisfy others insecurities.
We chatted it up with some captivating tall women who exude power by walking it like they talk it. No matter their height, these women have found solace in their gorgeous gams because it makes them extraordinary.
I am 6'4" tall and I believe I really started to own my height back in 2012, when I created prettytallstyle.com. I found myself in a fashion rut and found it a bit difficult to find affordable and stylish clothes that fit my tall frame. I was tired of wearing mainly standard size clothes and making them work. When I started my tall blog, I knew I wanted it to be a tall women's resource, to make it easier for girls who were vertically blessed like me, to find items that were made specifically for their long-limbed bodies and feet.
It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and virtually break out of my shy shell and put myself out there. It's like before where I would shy away from people staring at me and try to shrink myself, with my style blog, it was the opposite, like "Hey everyone, I'm really tall. Look at me and this maxi dress that sweeps the floor, jeans that cover my ankles, jacket with sleeves that cover my wrists, or check out these bright yellow size 13 shoes I'm wearing." (Laughs)
It forced me in a good way to own my height, long legs, arms, feet, and all.
At 15, I hated being tall because I didn't know anyone else like me, and thought very negatively about it because it was so hard to [find] cute clothes like my friends that fit right and I was taller than all the boys. But once I was older and went to college, things changed, the boys were taller, there were more tall size clothing retailers. I started to gain my confidence then.
And now at 42, I'm still blogging and surrounded by a virtual community of tall, inspiring, supportive women who help to reinforce that confidence in me that tall is beautiful, plus I have a wonderful tall husband who thinks so too.
I've been over six feet [tall] since 6th grade. For a very long time, into my twenties even, I was very uneasy with my height. I seldom wore heels and was always shrinking myself by scrunching up my shoulders. But, I was so tired of wasting time with this insecurity. I started to write honestly about being tall and had an article published in Bitch Magazine. In 2014, I won Miss Tall International and co-hosted a tall girl flash mob with Bree Wijnaar in Grand Central Station.
For me, embracing my height has been a journey of body positivity, one where I have sought to like all of me no matter how they are received by someone else.
I still have my awkward moments, but I can honestly say that today, I really enjoy being a tall woman.
I thought it was a curse! It all started in high school. I was mocked often because I was taller than most of my classmates. On those occasions, when we had to be on a queue, I was made to stand last on the queue. I felt bad always, I wanted a reduced height, I wanted to be friends with the 5'5''--foot girls. Most of the time, I cried because I was called a walking tree. It was terrible. They made fun of me and I thought I was abnormal. I lost confidence and I hid from the cruel world.
Then finally, I went to college to study law. The game changed. I became aware of how beautiful my height is. I guess I listened to a lot of inspirational messages because I was in search of closure. My confidence grew and it was a major comeback. I wore sky-high heels and knew the only boundary I had is myself. "Oh! She is a model." No, honey. I am not a model. I don't have to be a model to be proud and confident about my height. High school made me feel like being 6-foot [tall] was a curse.
I channeled all that newly acquired confidence. Who wouldn't want to watch a 6-foot lady confidently arguing in court on a lawyer's rope? That is a great sight, you know. I found myself. Sometimes you must chill and avoid mounting pressure on yourself and never forget to show those never-ending legs.
Tall is confidence.
Growing up tall was probably one of the hardest things I had to go through. You get called names, you can never find pants long enough, you're taller than all the boys, and the mere thought of wearing heels was definitely out of the question! It's like being forced into the spotlight everywhere you go. Not to mention, growing up in a small town, just made it 10x worse because you feel like you're the only one going through this. I get it, I've been there.
It wasn't until I reached my mid-teen years that I realized being tall had taken a huge toll on my self-esteem and I had to do something about it. [From there] I learned how to use my height as an advantage! I never was an athlete, so I had to find another approach: modeling.
Modeling was something that I always wanted to do since I was probably old enough to walk but being that my self-esteem was so low growing up, I didn't want any extra attention. Once I reached the age of 17, I had my first photoshoot and all I could think to myself was, "This is it! This is what I want to do!" So I started researching everything fashion/modeling-related. When I found out that the modeling industry is mostly made up of tall girls, you couldn't beat me to a casting call! I'm telling you, I was on it!
Now that I'm 22 years old and 6', I look back on what I've been through. I wouldn't change anything because that molded me into the strong individual I am today! I wish I could go back and tell my younger self, "It'll all come together in the end. The people that make fun of you now will be begging to be your friend and telling people how they know you in the future. Your height is a blessing, not a curse."
I love being tall and have embraced my height for a long time. Yes, when I was younger and in school, it bothered me being called names, such as "giraffe". But being tall is considered beautiful! I love my height because it literally makes me stand out. I don't let my tall frame make me insecure if pieces don't fit me just right, like with pants or long sleeves tops. If they fall a little short, I rock them anyway with confidence! How do you think the trend crop pants and ¾ sleeves trend got started? Us tall GLAMAZONS are the reason! I never viewed it as a #tallgirlproblem but just a simple #tallgirlsituation that I have learned to adapt to. I do try to find pants with longer inseam but if I don't, and it is cute, I will buy them anyway.
Being 5'11" has also never stopped me from wearing high heels either, even when it makes me just as tall or slightly taller than my husband who is 6'3''. I usually wear between 3 to 4.5 inch heels. Being tall is who I am and I want to show that I love my height because I know there are tall girls and women out there who are still insecure about their height. So, if they ever see me on the street in heels and pants that may be a little short, perhaps it would give them the little boost of encouragement that they can embrace their height too.
The older I get, I recognize that God gives us gifts, some of which we cannot comprehend. Height is one of those gifts. I am currently 22 years old and I am 6'2''! Although I am aware of how tall I am, I have always for the most part felt "average", being tall is my normal. That is also because my whole family, from immediate to extended, are tall, so I never felt out of place or awkward. It was not until I got to high school that I started to feel out of place and different compared to my peers.
I never fit into anything, so my clothes never really fit correctly and I did not think I was pretty, so I hung my head low. I hated when people would stop me in the store and ask me questions or make jokes. I felt that I was being put on the spot and I feel because I was a tall young girl that is what made heads turn. My brothers were also tall and never received half the looks or questions I did. I started to take God's gift and let the world make me feel it was a curse. It was not until I was a sophomore in college that I really started accepting and embracing my height within this world.
The one thing I always hear people say is "you are too tall for heels", and that is so far from the truth. One day, I was at the mall and I saw these size 11 sparkly gold heels on the clearance rack. I fell in love and I knew these were meant to be my shoes. The first time I wore them, friends and even other random people, kept questioning why I would wear these 4-inch heels if I was already so tall.
I realized that God did not make me tall to be quiet and scared to be present. I am tall because when I walk into a room, God needed my presence to be known he needed my voice to be heard.
Not many people know but with height comes authority and power and that is not something God just hands out. God needed everyone who gazed upon me to know I, Cheyenne Tyler Jacobs, had purpose. So I no longer hide.
I started loving who I am and not giving a thought to those who joked about my height. I get stopped often by people asking questions about my height and I think it is amazing. I found stores (mostly online) that I could buy clothes that fit and are stylish. I started hanging with people who lifted me up, who did not bring me down. I started to dig up that young girl with that vibrant spirit and I made her a woman. I realized tall was not only my normal but it was my blessing and I am proud to be 6"2. If there is any advice, I could give to any young girl or woman who is struggling with height is keep your head high.
Your height is a gift and you are beautiful, even if society and those around you cannot see it. Just know you are not alone. There is a community of tall beautiful tall women waiting to welcome you with open arms. Be blessed and stay beautifully tall.
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
Have you ever heard the saying, “You can't have it all?” Do you think there’s any truth to it? The more I resonate with the thought, I realize it just depends on what one considers “all.” In this “How We Met” story, I chatted with two individuals who have reached an unusual level of success but, for years, celebrated it alone. Now, they have a beautiful marriage centered around faith, family, and legacy.
But the journey to getting there required them to be uniquely intentional, submit fully to God, and practice an amount of vulnerability that I think most people would find uncomfortable – especially on the first date.
Santia Barnes, known more commonly as @Trackbaby001 on Instagram, earned the highest-paid contract ever for a woman in American football. Also, she is the first female athlete to have her own shoe company. With a combined social audience of 3 million followers, she’s established herself as a mega-influencer in the health/fitness and lifestyle space. But surprisingly, in our 48-minute phone call, we only discussed this for roughly 60 seconds. Instead, I had a beautiful conversation with Santia and her husband Isaac, a successful tech entrepreneur, about their dream-like partnership.
His company was one of the fastest growing in his county for two years, and he is the only Black entrepreneur to win a federal aviation award for being a government contractor. Plus, he previously won a $13.4 billion contract with the Air Force and Space Force (cues, "he got money" in my best Quinta Brunson voice). But seriously, both of them have such an amazing story alone – yet they made it even better by finding each other. It almost sounds too good to be true, right? Well, Santia felt the same way. In fact, on their first date, they actually tried to disqualify each other. Here’s how it went.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you two meet?
Isaac: Well, firstly, we connected through the divine grace of God. But we met on Bumble and talked there, and she gave me such a hard time (laughs). But we built a connection online and then took it offline to the phone and eventually in person. Since that meeting, we’ve been stuck like glue.
Santia: Yes, we met on Bumble. But I’ve gotta add to that. I was pretty much done with love, relationships, and especially online dating. But it was right around Valentine's Day, and I felt like God was telling me to try just one more time. So, I created my profile and made it very blunt; I was super clear about what I wanted. I started swiping for a few days and eventually came across his profile, and I noticed our profiles were very similar.
I felt like it was rare for a man to be that intentional. Also, I like that he was attractive and an entrepreneur. I felt like he could understand my life. It took him a couple of days to swipe back, though, and I was little in my feelings. I was literally going to delete the app when he DM’d me. So, it was really the grace of God.
Tell me about your first date. What was the chemistry like?
Isaac: She was late (laughs). But we went to Seasons 52, which made sense because I’m vegan, and she likes to eat healthy. So I made reservations, but again, she was late. Eventually, she got there, and when she did, I saw the entire room shift. It was the weirdest thing. I’ve never seen that in real life. It was like the whole restaurant was looking at us. So we got a table, and immediately, it felt like our energy flowed together so smoothly.
You know how first dates can be awkward? This was exactly the opposite. She grilled me, and I grilled her. We asked some of the deepest questions ever. It was like we were trying to disqualify each other. After dinner, I walked her back to her car because she was recently injured. And in that moment, God talked to me. I knew that this is what it is.
Santia: We talked for like three hours on that date. I remember in the conversation, I said, “Not to be weird, but your energy makes me feel very calm.” That was a big green flag for me. I also remember him walking me back to my car and not trying anything but genuinely just caring for my leg. I was like, this is different. It was an A+ date.
"We asked some of the deepest questions ever. It was like we were trying to disqualify each other. After dinner, I walked her back to her car because she was recently injured. And in that moment, God talked to me. I knew that this is what it is."
Photo courtesy of Santia and Issac Barnes
So, what are some of these intense disqualifying questions y’all asked?
Isaac: We asked everything. We talked about our thoughts on kids, marriage, church, gender roles, family, past relationships, and trauma.
Santia: Yeah, we asked everything they tell you not to. But that’s how I knew he was the one; he didn’t get uncomfortable.
Okay, so if you were still dating, walk me through that next step. What was that conversation like when you two decided to take it to the next level?
Isaac: I had a business trip I had to go to in Orlando, and because of my connection with the Creator I knew she needed to go on this trip with me. She was overcoming tearing her ACL and just needed a break. So we took a road trip together. We drove from Atlanta to Orlando in the car for 8 hours, and we just did the work. We got into childhood trauma and aspirations. It got deep –
Santia: Like, I cried. I discovered stuff about myself I haven’t talked about with anyone else.
Isaac: In that moment, I developed a deeper sense of trust in her because of her vulnerability. And after that trip, I just knew. She still had some concerns, but I was good (laughs).
Santia: Yeah, because I felt like something had to be wrong. Like, I remember calling my mom and she tried to help me just embrace it. Eventually, I actually asked him, “What are we?” And he literally said, “You’re going to be my wife.” And I still was like, are you going to ask me to be your girlfriend though, and he did – and I said yeah. (laughs). But that was only like a month in. It was very quick.
It seems like communication has been a core part of your relationship. What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourselves individually through loving each other?
Isaac: That’s hard to answer just for this week. A lot of our stuff is self-discovery. But I’ll say, I learned how skeptical I was that this is possible. Also, I learned that all of what I went through is crafting me to be who I am today. Through this relationship, I’ve learned to embrace my 100% authentic self. Her love matters more to me than anything else, and that’s my #1 priority.
So if she accepts me how I am, who is the world to tell me I can’t be this way? She has allowed me to see myself more than any other human, and because of that, I have to shower her with as much love as possible.
Santia: I don’t even know where to start. He’s taught me a lot since day one. He made me more confident in who I am. As an influencer, you don’t always know who is there for the right reasons. But he’s made me feel 100% more confident in standing on who I am. He’s also taught me so much about business. He taught me how to open up more, not feel shame in who I am, and how to set boundaries and stick to them.
And Issac has melted every fear, doubt, and insecurity I’ve had about relationships. I could keep going, but overall, he has a really amazing way of teaching me in a loving way. Having someone that sees and understands me – and not just the social media me – but Santia Barnes, the individual, has been beautiful, and I’ve never experienced it until now.
"Issac has melted every fear, doubt, and insecurity I’ve had about relationships. Having someone that sees and understands me – and not just the social media me – but Santia Barnes, the individual, has been beautiful, and I’ve never experienced it until now."
Photo courtesy of Santia and Issac Barnes
How do you guys navigate past struggles, baggage to work toward your relationships?
Issac: On our honeymoon, I vowed that I would come into this relationship with a clear understanding of what’s holding me back so I can be my best self going through our marriage. For example, on our first day over there, we both wrote down all of the negative anchor thoughts we had around money and finances, and we literally went through every thought.
I found 50 financial aspirations, and every time I read something that I didn’t agree with, I wrote it down. And we talked about where these negative thoughts came from, going back to childhood.
Santia: We do that all the time. If anything comes up, we talk about it, try to get to the core of it, dissect it, and we solve it.
Okay, seriously do ya’ll argue at all (laughs)?
Santia: I mean, if we feel something, we say it.
Isaac: The way we got there is that we established early on that if we’re going to do this we have to be on the same team. We have a championship we’re trying to win, and that’s a family legacy. If something is going on, I’m gonna treat it like my teammate is going through it, and we’ll work through it. But it’s impossible not to have any challenges.
Santia: We don’t have to yell, scream, or be disrespectful though. We can talk in a calm voice and disagree. As long as we know that we’re on the same team, we’re good. I always know we’re not purposely trying to hurt each other, and I know that he's my partner. Looking at it from that lens changes things. We’ve only had two real arguments. It was early on, and when we dissected those too, we realized that back then, we didn’t know each other the way we do now. We weren’t sure we were on the same team (laughs).
Do you guys have any rituals or daily practices that help keep your relationship strong?
Isaac: To cement our process, we listen to our spiritual practice. We practice Sabbath every Friday evening until Saturday evening. So that means no work, no outside communication, we’re just in each other’s skin for 24 hours and experience the world together. Then we recap our week, things we’re grateful for from each other and from God, things that bother us, and then we process it right there. We do that every week.
Santia: We also go over a Bible verse and dissect it together. We have a lot of processes because when you have a plan, you can’t really fail.
Isaac: And the Bible verse always relates. It’s crazy. (laughs)
Photo courtesy of Santia and Issac Barnes
What are your love languages?
Santia: Mine is acts of service, gifts, and words of affirmation
Isaac: Mine is physical touch, acts of service, and words of affirmation.
Are there any challenges you guys had to work through?
Santia: This is my first time living with a man. So things that guys do – like not flushing the toilet, putting dishes in the sink when I’m washing the dishes, and stuff. Honestly. I was really scared about that because I love my space. But surprisingly, I adjusted very quickly. We both work from home and have our own offices, too. So it just kinda works out.
Isaac: For me, it was going from being a single man to adjusting to her needs. For example, she likes flowers. To me, that meant I occasionally bought her flowers. But to her, that means, nah, I want them multiple times a month. Date nights meant occasionally to me; she wants them weekly. It’s just about making sure our needs and expectations are articulated correctly. We come from different worlds, so it’s important to do that.
Finally, I’ll close with how did you know it was love?
Santia: We took a trip to NOLA – another road trip. I cried again and just remembered thinking there’s no one like him. I was like, God, if he’s not my person, this is a cruel joke. But more blatantly, like three months into us dating, I was so conflicted because I was like, I’m falling, and I don’t want to be hurt again.
I remember I had a dream where I was in this dark room and there was this figure there, and I knew it was God, and in that dream, I feel like he told me clear as day that Isaac was my person. Plus, my Mom hates everyone I’ve ever dated, but she was like he’s gonna be my son-in-law. I had so many confirmations that I eventually just let go.
Isaac: It was multiple moments. I really got confirmation on the first date, but I became sure in one moment. I was sitting in my office, and she came in, and we were talking about her making history. So I started showing her some of my awards, too, and at that point, she still didn’t know what I did. And she was like, why don’t people know about this, and I showed her my Facebook page – where I had made a small post with a few likes (laughs). And she was like, do you know how many young Black children don’t know this is possible? It was different.
I felt like a hypocrite because I do everything for the next generation. So, she allowed me to see myself in that totality and still hold me accountable. The only person who had done that for me was my Dad and [he] passed away a few days before my 18th birthday. So after that, that did it for me. Then we went to the DR for my brother's anniversary, and she met my family and I saw how well she blended with my family, and I just knew.
Santia and Isaac are continuing to grow their individual businesses and love journey. Through that process, they have created an intentional dating platform on Instagram called @dateintentional1.
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Featured image courtesy of Santia and Issac Barnes