At 6 feet 9 inches tall, Aly Stosz turns heads wherever she goes.
The 27-year-old used to struggle with insecurity because of her height but now, comfortable in her own skin, she’s encouraging others to accept themselves too.
“In the past other people would make me feel really bad about my height - for being different. All the negative comments and all the bullying piled up over years and really gave me an intense anxiety,” Stosz said.
At 12 years old, she was already 6 foot 3 inches, which led to other kids taunting her with names like "Godzilla" and "monster."
While she can laugh at it now, she said she struggled with the abuse from other children in the past, leading to anxiety and self-consciousness.
Today, she still feels some of the woes of being tall, like finding shoes for her size 16 feet and clothes that fit.
“When I go shoe shopping, however, it’s a nightmare,” said Stosz. “If I go to outlet stores there is usually large size sneakers that are in like really weird styles… Pants I have to special order. If I find pants that are long enough in the store, it’s literally like a miracle.”
Slowly, Stosz has begun to embrace herself.
She dabbled in fetish photography, which she said was lucrative, before transitioning to focus on her own art.
Stosz, now an artist, said her height helps her art work.
“I think a lot about how I embody a space, how I move through space so, that informs my work as an artist a lot,” Stosz said.
She also has her 6-foot-4-inch boyfriend, Sean Webb, who loves her height.
But Webb said it’s less about her height and more about who she is as a person.
“I'm about five inches shorter than Aly. We get a lot of attention when we walk around but it’s good attention from my perspective,” said Webb. “I love to be with her because of the person she is. The height is a wonderful thing and it’s attractive to me. But to know who she is is a whole other thing that’s bigger than her size.”
Regardless of all of her experiences, Stosz is happier than ever with her height and she is now encouraging other women to embrace their differences.
"I’ve never met anybody as tall as me but I know that they are out there. I just haven’t met them yet. No matter what, anywhere I go, I stand out and I feel blessed to have that,” said Stosz.
She added: “I would say to other women that don’t feel confident in their appearance to try not to care what other people think. Your value is not based on your appearance.
"Try not to let that feeling of not feeling beautiful enough affect you, because it’s not true."