Turkey’s Rumeysa Gelgi is already a celebrity.
She was the former tallest teenager living, as confirmed in 2014, ad last October she broke the record for the tallest woman living.
Her most recent measurement confirmed that she stands at a towering 215.16 cm (7ft 0.7in), and her popularity has reached dizzying heights all over the world.
But Rumeysa's record-breaking features don't end there. As verified in February 2022, she also holds three additional records:
- Longest finger on a living person (female): 11.2 cm (4.40 in)
- Largest hands on a living person (female): her right hand measures 24.93 cm (9.81 in) and left hand measures 24.26 cm (9.55 in)
- Longest back on a living person (female): 59.90 cm (23.58 in)
Rumeysa’s incredible height is due to a condition called Weaver syndrome.
This rare genetic condition, often of hereditary nature, causes accelerated growth and remarkably advanced bone age.
Other issues can arise with this condition, like limited mobility of the joints (such as elbows and ankles), instability when walking and occasional difficulties with swallowing or breathing.
Her height and condition means that Rumeysa uses a wheelchair a lot of the time, although she can use a walker to move safely for short periods.
"Being a record holder is a very amazing thing. I know that only the special people can make it and I know I’m one of them now." - Rumeysa Gelgi
When she’s not travelling or being an ambassador for body positivity, Rumeysa likes to swim and spend time with her family and siblings.
No other member of her family has presented signs of Weaver syndrome and Rumeysa’s parents and siblings are of average height.
Ever since achieving her first record, Rumeysa has been an advocate for positivity, diversity and research, using her rare medical condition to educate others through her experience.
Getting several record titles became part of her journey and helped her pursue her dreams.
"I was born with extreme physical uniqueness," Rumeysa writes on her Instagram, "and wanted to have as much of them recognized and celebrated as possible, hoping to inspire and encourage others with visible differences to do the same thing and be themselves."
"It motivated me to pursue my goals and have a more confident outlook in life."
In the past, Rumeysa has received negativity due to her appearance.
However, after recognizing that ignorance often fuelled those hurtful comments, she decided to use her record and unique situation to educate people.
Day after day, she continuously uses her platform to spread awareness and positivity.
"I like being different from everyone else," she says.
It makes her feel special, and being taller than most definitely has its advantages: "It also provides me with easy access to high places, and looking down at people from above isn’t a bad thing either!"
Although she still attracts the curiosity of the public, Rumeysa shares that now most people are supportive and being a multiple record holder has been a source of pride and positivity for her.
"Every disadvantage can be turned into an advantage for yourself so accept yourself for who you are, be aware of your potential and do your best."
Tallest people in the world
One of the most iconic Guinness World Records titles is, without a doubt, the tallest person.
Sultan Kösen (from Turkey, measuring 251 cm; 8 ft 2.8 in) is the tallest man living.
What is interesting to note is that, just like Rumeysa, Sultan is originally from Turkey.
The occurrence of two record holders sharing the same title and country of origin is rare, although not unprecedented.
The previous record holders for the tallest man living and tallest woman living also shared the same nationality: Bao Xi Shun (236.1 cm; 7 ft 8.95 in) and Yao Defen (233.3 cm; 7 ft 7 in) were both from China.
The record for the tallest woman who ever lived is held by a Chinese record holder: Zeng Jinlian. Zeng was born in 1964 in the Yujiang village, in the Bright Moon Commune, Hunan Province.
When she passed away in 1982, she measured an average of 246.3 cm (8 ft 1 in) – earning herself the title of tallest woman ever.
But height can also run in the family.
Recently the record for the tallest family ever was confirmed in the US.
This Minnesota clan of five counts an average height of 203.29 cm (6 ft 8.03 in).
If that doesn't seem incredible already, their lengths combined equal half a tennis court!
Read more here about the Trapp family.
The tallest man ever is a timeless icon from the Guinness World Records archives.
Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA) is widely known to be the tallest person who ever lived and became a celebrity during his life.
The reason for his condition was hyperplasia of his pituitary gland, which produced an excess of the human growth hormone – the same condition that affects the current tallest man living, Sultan.
Due to the lack of treatment, Wadlow continued to grow until he passed away at only 22 years of age, and his record will likely never be broken.
Upon his last measurement, which took place in 1940, Wadlow was a jaw-dropping 272 cm (8 ft 11.1 in): taller than a grizzly bear standing on its legs.