The Tallest Woman in the World Opens Up About Her Daily Struggles
Rumeysa Gelgi holds the prestigious title of being the tallest living woman globally. Her towering stature sets her apart, making her a notable figure in the diverse landscape of humanity. Living in Turkey, Gelgi stands as a unique individual, breaking records and inspiring those around her. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine, as the woman recently opened up about the hardships inherent in her daily routine.
The difficulty of being a child in an adult’s body.
Gelgi’s childhood, marked by homeschooling due to her physical condition, was far from ordinary. Standing at 5’8″ by the age of 6, she grappled with societal norms that called for men to be taller than women. This societal expectation added an extra layer of difficulty for tall women, a fact that she found particularly upsetting.
She is the tallest woman in the world, courtesy of a rare genetic condition called Weaver syndrome, affecting only 50 people globally. “I felt like a child trapped inside an adult’s body,” she recalls.
In Gelgi’s early years, at just one year old, she faced open-heart surgery due to congenital heart issues. 2 years later, she found herself in the operating room once again, this time undergoing a procedure for an umbilical hernia. The challenges continued when Gelgi reached the age of 5, requiring 5 months of physiotherapy before she could take her inaugural steps, supported by a walker.
Her medical journey has been a roller coaster. In 2013, Gelgi underwent 2 surgeries for scoliosis. However, since then, she’s navigated her way without major health setbacks or extensive treatments, choosing instead to maintain her strength through regular physiotherapy sessions. Despite her resilience, the woman now relies on a wheelchair or walker for mobility, or, in some cases, she uses custom-made orthopedic shoes.
How she finds clothes to fit her body.
“It wasn’t an easy journey,” she reflects, looking back on the path she’s traversed. Being so different from children her age made friendships a challenge, but she made it through. The biggest pillars of support? Her parents and some incredible teachers. Through it all, she discovered a simple truth — with a few adjustments, she could do everything anyone else could.
And life is a constant adjustment for her, thanks to her towering height. Everything, from clothes to daily setups, needs a personal touch to fit her unique stature. It’s a challenge, sure, but she’s found the silver lining — a chance to get creative with her wardrobe. Shopping involves a mix of plus-size pieces that she tweaks and tailors to make them uniquely hers. Dresses become tops, and bottoms get a custom fit — it’s her way of turning challenges into a fashion statement.
Gelgi requires her family’s help in some of her daily activities.
Gelgi’s hobbies include swimming and sharing meals with her family, and their pride extends beyond her world titles to the awareness she spreads. She is unable to ride in a car, so she travels in a van instead. Additionally, she requires custom furniture due to the fact that her height prevents standard options from being suitable.
Reflecting on her daily routine, Gelgi underscores the vital role that assistance plays in navigating various physical tasks due to her unique stature. Standing as the only tall person in her family, Gelgi grapples with distinct challenges, particularly the health issues associated with her syndrome and height. She candidly acknowledges, “I am a physically disabled person,” shedding light on the unique struggles she faces on a regular basis.
Being exceptionally tall has brought its own set of difficulties, both physically and socially, as Gelgi often finds herself in peculiar situations, especially when reminiscing about her early years. Despite these challenges, Gelgi finds solace and relaxation in simple pleasures. One of her favorite pastimes involves unwinding with a Netflix binge, creating a perfect recipe for a laid-back evening. Her choice to share these moments, especially with her mother, underlines the importance of familial bonds in finding comfort and support.
She is not married, nor does she have children, but she’s a fulfilled woman.
Gelgi isn’t romantically involved with anyone and doesn’t have children, but she finds the love she yearns for in those who appreciate her and her family, who have instilled in her a unique mindset from a young age. Instead of seeing her condition as a hurdle to overcome, her parents encouraged her to embrace it as an integral part of her identity. This perspective has played a crucial role in shaping Gelgi’s self-image, allowing her to define herself beyond just her health challenges.
Beyond her personal life, Rumeysa Gelgi is a fulfilled individual. She wears multiple hats as a researcher, advocate, and junior front-end developer, currently employed at edX. Holding a certification as a front-end developer, she actively advocates for Weaver syndrome. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gelgi served as a volunteer for Strays Animal at Kirik Kuyruk from 2016 to 2020.
She embraces life with a positive outlook.
Gelgi is living in California and diving into the tech world. She’s also a proud cat mom to Peri, named after the Turkish word for “fairy.” Leaving Peri with friends in Turkey was tough, but she’s hoping to bring her over to California soon. After achieving her dream of flying for the first time, Gelgi is excited to see what’s next and is thinking about a trip to the UK.
Moving to California to become a web developer was a big step for her, but Gelgi believes in turning bad things into good things. She tells people going through tough times is how they can realize how special they are. By sharing her life with Weaver Syndrome, she wants to make more people aware of it. With more than 38,000 followers on Instagram, she’s got quite the crew cheering her on. Beyond social media, she has actively participated in public speaking engagements and made appearances on numerous television platforms, contributing to a broader impact and outreach.
There’s still plenty to learn about this amazing woman, like when she experienced her first flight ever.