To celebrate the launch of the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2014 book, Jyoti Amge – the world’s shortest woman – visited New York City this month. Our Mike Janela documented the entire trip for the video you can view at the bottom of this post. Here, Mike shares some of his thoughts from the assignment.
Stay in New York City long enough and you grow a little jaded.
Amazing sights like Times Square and the view from a Midtown rooftop are very easy to take for granted when you immerse yourself in them on a daily or weekly basis.
And I hate to admit it, but after living here for 4 years, I easily forget just how impressive the Empire State Building stands or how expansive Central Park sits.
So when shortest woman in the world Jyoti Amge visited the GWR offices to help launch our new book, the chance to follow her around for a week and document her Big Apple trip gave me the kind of jolt usually reserved for when the Knicks hit a game-winner at the Garden.
First of all, the girl is a bona fide celebrity from the moment she walks out her front door. When you stand only 24.7 inches (62.8 cm) tall at age 19, people notice you everywhere you go. And – having never (at least not yet) had the chance to roll through Manhattan in the posse of Brad Pitt or entourage of Justin Bieber – I have to admit it was pretty cool being part of Jyoti’s inner circle as residents and tourists alike snapped pictures endlessly and clamored to meet our little superstar.
Then, of course, there were the actual activities.
I found it hard to believe myself but, in four years living here and having grown up just a half hour away, I had never been to the Statue of Liberty. For Jyoti and her family, it was the place they most wanted to go. I felt a little sheepish to think that I have this world-renowned landmark right in my backyard and I’d never taken the chance to see it up close. I now have Jyoti to thank for that!
But the most incredible and eye-opening part of the week was this starlet’s personality. For anyone who’s ever spent even a day in this great city, you know we New Yorkers can be – shall we say – a bit churlish. But dropping Jyoti onto the streets of Manhattan was like shooting a multi-colored firework into the midnight sky.
Every photo request, she smiled. Every handshake, she accepted. Even every person talking to her like she was a toddler, even though she’s a completely normal and grown woman, she took in stride!
By the time her week in New York wrapped up, Jyoti had appeared on five national television shows, given dozens of newspaper and magazine interviews, and even had her name splashed in lights across Times Square – all accompanied by that megawatt smile.
By the time she departed, this littlest of ladies left town standing as tall as any of our skyscrapers. As you’ll see at the end of the video below, Jyoti grew to love New York. Following her around for a week, you can tell New York loved her too.
The Guinness World Records 2014 book edition is on sale now at all major retailers. Find a full list here. Three iBooks are also available now at the iTunes store: "Awesome Animals," (free download), "Colossal Constructions," and "Incredible People."