The tallest woman in the world has offered an insight into her life from buying dresses to wear as tops, booking six seats on flights and the rare genetic condition behind her towering height.
Measuring in at 7 feet 0.7 inches or 215 centimetres, Turkish-born Rumeysa Gelgi holds the 2023 Guinness World Record for the tallest woman in the world but said her life hasn’t been an ‘easy journey’.
Speaking with 7Life, the 26-year-old told of how she needs to have furniture custom-made, car travel is ‘impossible’, and how she achieved her dream of moving to America by booking out a whole section of seats to fly there.
At just four-months old, Rumeysa was diagnosed with Weaver Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes bone overgrowth and only affects 50 people globally.
By the time she was six-years old she was already 5 feet 8 inches telling The Guardian she felt like ‘a child trapped inside an adult’s body’.
Doctors put her on medication through puberty as early as possible so she would reach her final height quickly as they didn’t know how tall she would grow.
Without the medication, Rumeysa said she could have been ‘a lot taller’.
Throughout her life, she battled with a range of health issues from a heart defect to scoliosis that saw her have rods and screws out into her spine to ease pressure on her back.
Because of her unique physical condition, Rumeysa was home schooled between going in and out of hospital.
‘It was not an easy journey. I didn’t have any friends because I was so different to children my age but I made it,’ she said adding her parents were her ‘biggest support’ and that she had ‘amazing teachers’.
A self described ‘ambitious person’, at 17 years old, she noticed the record holder for the tallest teenager in the world was shorter than she was so she applied for the title and won.
In 2021, Rumeysa was named the tallest woman in the world and last year she earned the title for the largest hands, longest fingers, which are always colourfully manicured, and longest back.
Car travel is impossible for Rumeysa who has to be transported in a van and beds, chairs and desks have to be specially made to accommodate her height.
She buys dresses to wear as tops and clothing from plus-sized specialist brands but always has to alter them herself while bottoms have to be specially tailored.
Air travel seemed impossible as she can only sit up right for more than two to three hours at a time but last year, with the help of a Turkish airline, Rumeysa was able to fly to the US.
Turkish Air let her book out six planes seats which she could lie across in a special stretcher.
It was the first time the stretcher was used for a regular commercial traveller as it is usually only reserved for medical emergency passengers.
‘I did get some looks but other passengers came over to check I was OK and I really enjoyed my flight. I understand people are curious about me but as long as the stares aren’t too long it’s OK,’ she said.
Rumeysa made the move to California to pursue her career as a web developer and said she’s now thinking a holiday to the UK might be on the cards now that she knows there is an air travel solution for her.
She has been very open online about her life with Weaver Syndrome boasting more than 38,000 Instagram followers and dozens of public speaking and TV appearances.
Rumeysa hopes she can raise awareness about the rare condition that has affected almost every aspect of her life.
‘I also want to show people that you shouldn’t judge others by how they look. I believe a negative thing can be turned into a positive one,’ she said.