“I’m 23 Years Old, but I Look 8,” How Star Shauna Rae Lives With Her Special Condition and Goes on Dates
Imagine living not in your own body, but in somebody else’s. Many of us would assume this was the plot of some adventurous movie or virtual reality experiment. Our featured heroine today is not living in the virtual world, but she knows the struggle of having an appearance that doesn’t match what’s expected at her age.
Meet Shauna Rae, a TLC star who’s 23 but lives in the body of a 8-year-old. Today, she’s telling us her dramatic and fascinating life story.
Shauna was born with a rare genetic condition.
Shauna was born with pituitary dwarfism, a condition that makes her look way younger than she really is. She’s become a TLC star and appeared on the show, I’m Shauna Rae, where she tells the world about all the struggles she has to encounter due to her special condition.
The girl was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer when she was just 6 months old. She had a successful treatment that helped her go into remission, but the condition ultimately stunted her growth.
As a result, Shauna is now 3 feet and 10 inches tall, which is the height of an 8-year-old. In her interview, she opens up about how she feels and says, “I am a grown-up woman stuck in the body of an 8-year-old.”
The young woman has to deal with public opinion, and sometimes it’s a real challenge.
During one of her recent interviews, Shauna said she’s often not treated “like a normal human” because of her unique appearance. “And that’s all I’m asking for, is for people to treat me like a normal human,” she said. She confessed that she’s felt different her whole life, and her condition was always the thing people paid attention to.
The young woman reflected on how her dwarfism affected her at an early age, and she pointed out that she first discovered she wasn’t growing at the same rate as her peers when she was in kindergarten. But when she was in junior high, it began affecting her mental health significantly. And then, at the age of 16, she learned that she wasn’t going to grow anymore, and she was more than shocked.
“It was a very difficult time,” Shauna said. “It probably was the lowest time of my life because I always imagined that I would be tall. And getting that news, it just kind of was like a hammer crashing into glass.”
Realizing her true self-worth was a difficult and long path.
At first, it was really hard for Shauna to cope with the new reality after finding out the truth about her future. “I kind of isolated myself in a way, so I could find myself and be happy with who I am because, at the time, I wasn’t happy with who I was. I started doing online school, and I just really focused on me and what I wanted to do, and who I was as a person, and bettering myself,” she recalls.
But now, being a star of a whole show dedicated to her life, Shauna wants others to learn from her optimistic view. She says, “Being positive is just the best advice I can give because, at the end of the day, the only person that controls how you feel is yourself.”
The difficulties she faces because of her appearance only make her stronger.
Shauna has been refused all the things that adult people normally take for granted. Getting tattoos, and even gym memberships, become almost impossible for her due to the age she physically appears to be. The most common response that she gets in typical places for adults is, “We don’t allow kids.”
She also faced some huge difficulties in her dating life so far. In her interview, she explains that it’s hard for her to find the right person, but isn’t giving up.
In expressing her frustration about her dating life, she says, “I attract creeps. It’s scary to put myself out there, but you have to put some risk in to get happiness.”
There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and Shauna proves it.
In season 2 of the show, Shauna finally had a positive dating experience after she was set up on a blind date by a matchmaker.
As a result, she met Thomas, a volunteer firefighter who also has the same condition as she does. In her interview, she couldn’t hold back her emotions as she said, “Meeting the young man with pituitary dwarfism was an amazing experience. We had a lot in common because of our medical histories. And then our actual social lives are much different.”
Though this experience didn’t end up with big love, Shauna goes on to explore living solo and adult dating, and she’s more than optimistic about her life now.
What are your feelings about Shauna Rae’s story? What would you wish for her if you had a chance to meet her personally?