At 13, Caroline Stillman was 6ft 4 and relentlessly bullied – but now she’s a blonde bombshell fighting off men
As a schoolgirl, Caroline Stillman hit the headlines after she was bullied over her incredible 6ft 4 frame. She was forced to quit school after the torment made her ill and her confidence hit rock bottom.
Seven years on, aged 20, she’s finally accepted her height and, after attracting the attention of a modelling scout, she’s realised being tall has its advantages.
“They called me ‘giant’ and ‘giraffe legs.’ I felt humiliated and didn’t have any friends."
Caroline, from Leicestershire, says: “I’ve definitely got back my confidence. People are always complimenting me on my height and say I should model. When I was young, kids were so mean and boys didn’t look at me. I never thought anyone would call me model material – or sexy!”
Closer first spoke to Caroline in 2006, when she revealed school bullies had made her life hell. She was born with Marfan’s syndrome – a condition that causes the connective tissue in the body, like ligaments or joints, to grow unusually large, which also puts a strain on the heart.
The condition runs in Caroline’s family, with her mum, Sarah, 53, being 6ft, and brother Sam, 24, 6ft 7. Her dad, Bill, 54, who’s 5ft 10, and sister Emily, 26, who’s 5ft 9, are both unaffected.
Caroline says: “I know I could pass on the condition to children of my own – and I worry they’d be bullied – but I’d tell them to be proud about their height.”
As a young child, long-limbed Caroline was happy to stand head and shoulders above her classmates, but when she went to secondary school aged 11, she became a target for bullies.
She recalls: “They called me ‘giant’ and ‘giraffe legs.’ I felt humiliated and didn’t have any friends. I’d cry every day and hid away in my bedroom a lot.
“Every night after school, I’d get MSN messages saying horrible things – I felt I couldn’t escape the bullies even at home.”
Aged 13, she was already 6ft 4 and, as the bullying continued, it became violent. She says: “Two girls pinned me to a table and stuck chewing gum in my hair – I tried to laugh it off but, when I got home, I told my dad who went into school to complain.”
A month on, Caroline was so scared of going to school she was vomiting in the mornings and was signed off sick by a doctor due to stress. She also needed counselling.
She was home-schooled for a year, then enrolled at a new school. Although she still hated her looks, the pupils accepted her size and she made friends.
Then, aged 16, Caroline began a media diploma at college and her self-esteem improved. She says: “I felt more independent and that’s when I grew into my looks.
My friends taught me about make-up and, on nights out, I started to get compliments from lads – especially about my long legs. My confidence grew quickly – the only thing that still bothered me was that I could never find pretty shoes in size 11.”
Size 12 Caroline, who has 36D-cup boobs, now studies footwear design in London and wants to design shoes for girls with bigger feet.
And the student – who split with her first boyfriend in June after four months together – has even been approached by a scout looking for models for a sportswear collection.
She adds: “The scout said I was the perfect height. I was nervous at first, but now I’m definitely considering it. I’m proud of my height – I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”