World’s Tallest Model Talks About Body Image :: Interview with Amazon Eve
Standing at a domineering 6 feet, 8 inches tall, Amazon Eve knows a thing or two about standing out in a crowd. As the world’s tallest model and a fitness trainer, Eve has used her unique body to make a name for herself. But does the international star still struggle with her body image or being taller than most male suitors? In this intimate interview, Eve shares with me her experience of feeling different and how she has developed a healthy relationship with her body.
NTS: When did you begin to feel “different”? What was it like to experience your body making you stand out from your peers?
Amazon Eve: It felt like a mutation; like that first alien they pushed out of the mother ship during Steve Spielberg’s A CLOSE ENCOUNTER. Tall, lanky and very vulnerable–‘eat her first humans’ was the message by inference. I was different from my peers and I could tell they noticed how tall I was. The comments kept coming from my classmate friends to adults commenting on me being more gently, “A tall drink of water.” I now answer them with, “Because I was very thirsty,” growing up. By the time I was 14 I was 5’11” and taller than most adults. Given that the average adult male height is 5’9” and female is 5’4” in the United States, it was really bad in the next four years as I grew 9 inches. The growing pains took forever to stop. It was awful and to hear the teasing and taunts from other classmates was unbearable. I was not graceful growing up and didn’t have much elegance in my step till much later in life.
NTS: Are there body image issues that you continue to struggle with? How do you stay body-positive?
Amazon Eve: Yes I do still struggle with my height, finding something that fits is a challenge. Not as much now and I, like any woman, feel the pressure from the mainstream girly magazines to look a certain way. I try to ignore it all and just be happy with the body I’ve been given. I am grateful for my body–this is my mantra. My body is a gift–if you prefer. I exercise to make my body as fit and as is should be shaped. I can never be a short girl, and why would I want to when I’m looking beautiful and tall. Exercise helps you get back in touch with your body, when we women can be so brutal with ourselves and our body image, exercise with realistic expectations can give you a lifetime of positive results.
NTS: As a trainer, you help other women to stop focusing on the scale and become proud of their shape. How have you been able to do this yourself? How do you assist other women in doing so?
Amazon Eve: I try to find out why someone wants to see me as a trainer; man or woman. I ask those that want to look better to show me a picture of their ideal shape. By this I’m trying to see how realistic their expectations are. If I get some skinny guy wanting to look like a huge muscled-up body builder, I have to attempt to convince them to look at something more realistic. Same for woman with a bit of a twist; woman place more emphasis on looks and a model size rarely fits most of us. So we do a lot of searches for role models that do fit their particular body shape and fitness goals. For someone like me where there are few examples, I have to do a bit more soul searching and looked towards athletic woman–Gabriele Reece was a star example of mine.
When I say stop looking at the scale I‘m talking about being more aware of your shape and dimensions then on some arbitrary number that comes from a scale. I tried to get down to a models scale weight once and it almost killed me. My relationship with food needed to stop being that abusive boyfriend or addictive relationship with certain substances that call to me.
NTS: What has your experience been like as a model? In what way has it impacted the way that you see or use your body?
Amazon Eve: My experience as a model came at exactly the right time–later than usual. I appreciate the gifts I’ve been given more. The once ugly duckling is now a beautiful swan. However, it took more than words and lots of people telling me, “Why aren’t you modeling” or “Are you a model?” I had to change the meaning of why people were staring at me when I walked down the street. Myself, me, and I needed to get in greater touch with who I am. I’m a beautiful person–not perfect. I don’t have to be perfect or some arbitrary model size and that shows through. I believe that is why I’m where I’m at today. When they put you on a magazine cover you can’t call yourself ugly; some men have me on their bedroom walls as a pin-up. It took much more than that to have a continued career in modeling. The world’s tallest model is more objective than the worlds most beautiful model. This lends itself to a bit of built-in celebrity. I’m very realistic about this.
NTS: What advice would you offer women who struggle with a body that in some way makes them feel different from others?
Amazon Eve: Be realistic: Physical beauty is ephemeral–short lived. What really counts is what’s inside–that sounds like an old screed. How we talk to ourselves is very important. It’s a whole seminar with seats filled with paid ticket holders. The November/December issue of Psychology Today that I was in had a series are articles about the Psychology of Beauty and the Battle Over Beauty; waxing a trite muse; “inner beauty is OK but it wont get you laid.” Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. There is no model size. There are those men out there that like short girls that wouldn’t give me a second look, yet it’s a bit frustrating to see a super tall man (perfect for me) with a short spinner girl, but damn there is an army of Umpa-Lumpa’s sans the orange skin and green knickers that think I’m the hottest thing on the planet. Always remember whatever size you are we all deserve love. It will probably be waiting for you around the corner in a package your are least expecting.