Projecting a tall persona when your reality comes up short.
I've spent most of my career on TV, where everyone’s the same height — a luxury not present in my daily life. I’m 4’10”…Okay. You got me! I’m really 4’9” and a half.
I blame my Portuguese grandmother, who told me to, “Never grow up.” I certainly have gotten older, but the growing thing … she won on that one. Nevertheless, my vertical fate is sealed.
And carrying that larger than life persona beyond the TV screen is where my challenge lies. I would imagine many petite, young-looking women/ women in general face a similar struggle in the business world.
Reacting to ROUSING REMARKS
I’m sure most women have heard remarks they reluctantly remember. Here are some I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, over the years.
What’s funny is most people who utter these words think they’re making some sort of outstanding observation that no one else has ever noticed. In truth, though, they’re all harmless. So, I just laugh it off and come up with some quick-witted remark that sends them a message.
It really all comes down to RESPECT.
It’s tough to demand it when your neck is constantly craning, you’re below peoples’ line of sight, you look like you’re too young to drink — or, in my case, you’re standing on stools, boxes or sitting on a phonebook.
All jokes aside, I’m naturally at a disadvantage.
The writer and her grandmother, a few years ago.
WHO CARES. GET OVER IT!
Let’s get back to my spicy, little Portuguese grandma … She’s shorter than me, and I’m pretty sure most people are intimidated by her.
If that’s not good enough … listen to Aretha and her 1960’s hit. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me.”
Find out what respect means to YOU. Both my grandma and Aretha are perceived as strong women who command a room … and they couldn't be more different.
So, despite what you were naturally given — height, age, gender, attractiveness — you have to decide if you’re going to give into these uncontrollable factors or fight back.
I don’t mean literally throwing punches but figure out your own way to demand respect.
Through my years as a TV news reporter, producer, editor and director of editorial, event and custom content — I’ve been forced to figure out what works for me.
With that said, this is all a constant work in progress. I’m still not confident enough to wear flats in public, but I’m working on it!