I flew out to the Netherlands for Tall Together 2017 (in the middle seat… one row from the back of the plane – thanks to my husband, Andy!). I met my friend & tall blogger Karen at Schiphol airport and we headed straight to the Pretty Tall store (now Long Tall Sally) for our fitting. It was great to see a couple of familiar faces there (who I had met at Tall Together last year) as we tried on outfits and had our photos taken for Sunday’s fashion show.
Once that was finished, Karen & I headed back to Utrecht for an evening of catching up, supermodel food (hahaha… a last ditch attempt at losing an extra pound) and some Sipsmith’s vodka (which probably put that extra pound straight back on!).
The next morning we headed out for coffee and a bite to eat then made a spur of the moment decision to head to Amersfoort to visit the Long Lady Fashion store. As we crossed the road, a woman stopped and stared at us… Karen and I looked at each other blankly before she announced “Hi. I’m Zaiga”. Wow, this chance meeting was one of the #teamtall women who had flown in from Latvia to join us at the weekend. She had no plans for the afternoon so two became three as we browsed tall fashion before heading out of the rain for an afternoon in a local pub.
Saturday night was nowhere near ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ in Utrecht as we had to be in hair and make up at 8am sharp the following morning. Finally, it had arrived… and nerves were present for a number of reasons:
- I didn’t speak the language
- I’m a million times more comfortable behind the scenes than in the spotlight
- I am currently a size UK16 which is certainly not ‘model size’ by society’s standards.
Those of you who know me, will be aware that if something scares me or I have an unnatural level of fear around something, I generally put it to the top of my list which is why, despite my annoying inner voice, I said a very determined YES to doing this.Everyone made me feel so welcome and my nerves disappeared right up until I took a step out on the runway. As I smiled at the crowd, I noticed that even my cheeks were shaking with nerves… it was too late to make a run for it so I put one foot in front of the other (trying not to smile too much as it made my face shake!) until I reached the end. I pulled a few poses and walked back again…. resisting the urge to break into a sprint!
The worst of it was over… I’d conquered my fear and with no time to reflect, I quickly rushed to throw on outfit number two ready to do it all over again. By outfit change number three, I’d found my happy place and began to enjoy the experience.There were 2 shows, the first at 11am and the second at 1pm. By the time we got to the second show, my nerves had left the building… I was walking the catwalk with confidence and to my surprise, I was having a good time. At 6ft 2″ / 188cms I was one of the shortest in the show… always a strange feeling when you tower above most people in your everyday life but one that I’m getting used too. The Dutch people were so welcoming and kind to me that when I’m around them, I truly feel like I’m among my people!
The #teamtall gathering
No tall event would be complete without a #teamtall gathering! This Facebook group stemmed from a personal need to surround myself with a community of women who ‘got me’ but it has gone far beyond that. It never ceases to amaze me how much good it has created for so many people – improving confidence, empowering others and connecting women all over the world.
This stopped being ‘my group’ after a few short weeks. Today it is a global community that I feel privileged and proud to be part of. When I announced that I’d be heading to the Netherlands, naturally, I asked if anyone from #teamtall fancied making the trip and meeting up after the event… which they did and as always, it was fantastic to meet some new faces as well as to reconnect with some familiar ones.
Thank you to everyone at Tall Together for making me feel so welcome. Dank je to my fellow tall models and Klub Lange Mensen for all the positive energy (and for speaking such good English!) .Thank you #teamtall for once again keeping me in such great company whilst travelling. It was a lot of fun, a break from the norm and I left with that great feeling you get when you’ve overcome one of your fears.I’m looking forward to seeing you all again next year and if any of you are in London, be sure to look me up so I can return the favour!
Check out our other tall events and#teamtall gatherings here