Shauna Rae shares the importance of showing her life as a pituitary dwarf on TV: ‘I’m doing it for people like me, people who feel different'

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At 22, Shauna Rae resembles an 8-year-old girl as a result of her growth being stunted by life-saving cancer treatments that she received at the age of 6. But as a young woman looking to make her mark in the world, the star of TLC's docuseries I Am Shauna Rae is opening up about how much she hopes to conquer, despite people's misconceptions of her.

"People don't understand dwarfism in general," Rae tells me of living with pituitary dwarfism. "People think I'm unintelligent because they view me as my height and as a child that would match that height, I get talked down to. That is probably like one of the hardest parts about it is because I'm constantly having to prove myself."

The misconception that Rae faces due to her size is something that I can begin to relate to as a model and designer who has built an entire platform around addressing the misrepresentation of plus size women. And while I have had the opportunity to work with brands and to create my own to design clothes that are inclusive in sizing, it was surprising to hear more about Rae's own experience around fashion.

When we began to discuss her ambitions for the future, fashion is one of the first things Rae mentions, noting that she doesn't have many options.

"Growing up, I kind of always felt younger than I was just because I was dressing younger. It was a little difficult to wrap my head around how to look older with children's clothes on and trying to make things fit to my body," she explains. "When I stopped growing at 16, I started actually sewing. So I got into making clothes fit me perfectly."

While I relate to Rae navigating a world of fashion that's still working to tackle a one-size-fits-all approach, Rae also faces a number of obstacles when it comes to dating and family planning that she bravely opens up about on her show and works through with her therapist.

"I make sure at the end of the day, when I put my head on that pillow, I don't hold anyone's else's thoughts in my head," Rae says. "And no matter what, I'm happy with who I am."

Ultimately, she explains that sharing her journey with the world has had little to do with her and more to do with the people she can positively impact.

"I'm not doing it for me. I'm doing it for people like me, people who feel different, people who feel alone, people who need that support," she says. "I'm here. I want to be there for people."

—Video produced by Stacy Jackman

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