New Year's Resolutions From the World's Tallest Woman

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"We had a graduation party at a skating ring and I was the only kid who couldn't participate," she said. "My feet were too big to rent skates. I just wanted to be like other girls." Allen couldn't get behind the wheel of a car when it came time to take driver's ed. No boy would dance with her. "They called me a beanpole, a monster, a freak. And that's what they said to my face," she said. "I could only imagine what they said behind my back." 'Why Not Go On TV And Make Some Money?'

Some people turn the other cheek. Not Sandy Allen. "I try not to have anger. But I give it to them back when I need to," she says. "I've learned to pity mean people." "You can laugh off some of those jokes. But how many times do you want to hear 'How's the weather up there?' Especially, if they are being mean about it. Sometimes you want to spit on those people and say, 'It's raining.'" She credits her grandmother for teaching survival instincts. Sandy's mother abandoned her, and she never knew her father. In 1976, only a few years after high school, she was working as a secretary, when Guinness recognized her as the world's tallest living woman and a high school pariah turned international celebrity. "Suddenly, my height became an asset. I was getting invitations everywhere," she says. "I figured why not go on TV and make some money?" Over the next years, she worked for Guinness at a museum and traveling exhibit and became a familiar face on the talk show circuits, speaking with the likes of David Frost, Phil Donahue, Merv Griffin, Oprah Winfrey, Leeza Gibbons, Maury Povich, Jerry Springer and Howard Stern. "Most of the time people were nice, and I got to travel the world," she said. One high point, she says — famed filmmaker Federico Fellini flew her to Europe to appear in his version of Casanova. In case you missed it, She played an arm-wrestling giantess who, at one point, takes a provocative bath with two dwarfs. "I was definitely proud of what I did and to be a part of a critically acclaimed filmmaker's work," she said. "When it played in Shelbyville, I was the toast of the town."