tall women

Stand Tall in Your Truth

Yes. At 6’6” I am obviously tall (shoutout to all of the strangers who think they are the first person to tell me this) but what does it mean to truly Stand Tall?

I think it’s different for everyone.

For me, I try my best to Stand Tall in every single thing that I do. Standing up for yourself in all areas of your life can be difficult. Do I fall short? Yes. But I have more wins than losses and I use my losses as knowledge to fuel my future wins. Standing Tall has saved me from making bad decisions, from believing lies that people tell me about myself, from lies that I tell myself and it has certainly saved my back from the terrors of slouching. Standing Tall is not just a physical occurrence, it is an act of pure self love.

I wanted to wear my badge of honor, so I created a shirt for myself and thought…what if others want to wear their truth too? No matter what your height is, we all Stand Tall for something. What is it for you?

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I can’t wait for us to Stand Tall together! Coming soon…

Full Circle

Graduation season is in full swing and recently I had the absolute honor to be the commencement speaker for my Alma Maters Black Graduation. It was a full circle moment for so many reasons. At University of the Pacific, I found my voice. It was where I discovered my confidence and realized that being Black was a privilege. I could explain it further but I thought there was no better way to show my sheer amazement for the day but to post my actual speech. 

I am incredibly grateful for Marshea Pratt and her entire staff for asking me to speak and congratulations to the 2019 University of the Pacific Black Graduates!

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Good evening! How is everyone doing today? Greetings friends, faculty, staff, alumni and the illustrious class of 2019! Yes, you better make some noise for yourself! You did that!

My name is Alicia Jay. I received my Bachelors in broadcasting in 2002 and my Masters in Public Relations in 2003 right here at Pacific. I see you sitting there trying to do the math and let me just do it for you...I am 38 years old and looking great I might add. Now the burning question, did I play a sport at Pacific? Yes. I was the captain of the soccer team. The tallest goalie Pacific has ever had. Y’all actually believed me?

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Really, I played basketball for 5 years because I redshirted for a season. For those of you who don’t know what that is, I was granted an extra year of eligibility because I needed to get stronger. When I walked on this campus I was a very skinny girl, with absolutely no muscle, who didn’t know who she was, with zero confidence. I came all the way down from Beaverton, Oregon where I was one of a few black kids in the school district. Not the school...the entire district. I would walk home from elementary school with my little brother and someone would yell nigger out the window. I had a teacher that would bring me up in front of the class on a regular basis and tell everyone how poor my spelling scores were and what a terrible student I was. Later when I began my career in basketball, my Father pulled me off of the court during a game because he could see that I was visibly shaken due to the other teams racial remarks against me. On top of that, I was bullied on a regular basis for being exceptionally tall. Now, I know that they were making fun of me because they wanted my gift and couldn’t have it but at the time every comment felt like a knife to my side. So by the time I arrived at UOP, I was depleted. I was low. I was suicidal.

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During the first week, my teammate and I got a knock on our door and when we opened it, we were greeted by every black person on campus. The entire black student union came to make sure that we knew that they were there and more importantly that they had our back. After they left, my roommate and teammate who was from Oakland (shout out to Ahshalic) was shocked that the group were ALL of the black people in the student union, but for me, I was juiced! I finally had MY community with me. The 15 people at my door made me feel seen. They are my best friends to this day. They are the people who brought me back from hating who I was and more importantly taught me what a privilege it is to be black. They are my Sorors who I crossed with in 2001 when we reinitiated Delta Sigma Theta Sorority incorporated right here on this campus. They are my community that reminds me every day that I do in fact belong in the rooms that I am in and have the strength of every single black person who paved the way before me.

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Look around you right now. No matter where you go, you will always have a thread of being in this graduating class with each other. This moment is the starting point to the rest of your lives. Now, I’m gonna take it church. I need you to greet your graduating class right now. Hug your neighbor to the left and the right. Congratulate them. Really. Do it right now. Don’t make me come down there and hug each and every one of you because I will...

Now, why am I up here? Sure. I have accomplished some things. I could talk about how after graduating from Pacific, I commenced a 13 year career in corporate America with the Golden State Warriors in Game operations and marketing. I won awards, produced championship games, I was in parades and I have three rings which of course I am wearing tonight because I earned these bad boys and paid the taxes on them so please believe I wear them whenever I get the chance.

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I could talk about creating a successful lifestyle platform called TallSWAG that helps people to stand tall every day, in every way, that has brought me to many stages just like this one, enabled me to change lives and even star in a number one hit television show on TLC that was watched by millions of viewers. BTW I’m @TallSWAG on all social channels.

Click the photo for more about why I decided to go on a show with the word GIANT in the title.

Click the photo for more about why I decided to go on a show with the word GIANT in the title.

I could also talk about meeting Michelle Obama. I have proof y’all. Look. She is hugging me like I’m family. That’s not photoshopped. I still can’t believe that.

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But I am not going to talk about any of those things. Today, I am going to talk about painting your own picture.

The other day, I went to one of those paint and sip classes for the first time. If you haven’t been, it’s a class that teaches you how to paint the template of a picture while you sip the drink of your choice.
This was the one that we were going to paint.

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So, I get there. Find my easel. And I see the outline that is drawn. I make sure all of the colors are there and I am ready to paint it exactly how they told me too and something just clicked...why? There’s nothing wrong with it but I don’t put flowers in my hair and these colors don’t really go with my apartment...why did I have to stay in these lines? The answer is...you don’t.

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As you walk into the rest of your lives there are many people that are going to try and box you in and up. They will put parameters around you and give you parameters to stick to.

They will tell you your hair is too natural,
that you can’t deviate from the plan,
that you are intimidating,
that you don’t deserve the promotion, a seat at the table or can create your own table.

That is their version of the painting. Those are their lines. Don’t let those lies incarcerate your truth. You are bold. You are dynamic. You are a game changer and a history maker. You are everything that many people don’t want you to be

and they will do things to make you believe that their version is better. Do not let them.

8 months ago I listened to myself say this and walked away from a guided portrait to pursue my own work of art. I am now a full time entrepreneur. It has been challenging, it is taking prayer, patience and persistence but any great feat does. In your path you will encounter many lessons and it is your job to live through them, learn from them and pass them on, so today that is what I am going to do for you. These are lessons I learned for someone in this room today and you better appreciate them because they were not pleasant but like all lessons completely necessary...

Starting over is essential. You will do it many times throughout your life. They will all be scary. They will all be worth it. You arrive at every new start with the necessary lessons for that level of your life. Nothing is wasted. Use the levels, don’t let the levels use you.

You belong in the room. Whether it be a room that you created or one that you are helping to create, you deserve to be there. Your path led you to this place.

God makes no mistakes. Embrace it and thrive in it.

You are the only one with your gifts. No two people are the same. We are created to accomplish things that only we can do. Stop comparing your gifts to someone else’s. There is no comparison. Create your lane and thrive in your purpose.

Congratulate and Collaborate. We are here to build with our community. We achieve together. Our gifts are to be shared and celebrated. Contribute to and gain from your community.

Hard work always pays off. You must move your feet or someone else will. Purpose cannot be achieved without movement.

Never stand at closed doors. Closed doors are a blessing. They carve our path just like open ones do. Do not stare at them. They are there to create movement. Thank them for the experience and move forward.

The bear is scared of you. Your gifts will scare people into forming weapons against you. They will not prosper. Move past their noise and towards the achievement of your goals.

Ignore the clock. Shed the worlds timeline of success. Work hard. Follow your path and let your purpose unfold in the way that it was meant to. Don’t rush your story. Live it.

Get out of your own way. Your feelings will stop you from doing what it takes to accomplish your purpose. Choose faith over feelings always.

Leave it here. You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. You are here to leave a positive mark on the world. Get out there and use your gifts to do it. Use your influence to the fullest.

Now, these are very important points but really it all comes down to this very moment. You have accomplished something amazing and I am very proud of you but if you don’t do anything with it, you just paid a lot of money for a cap and gown. Use your gifts, your black privilege and the knowledge that you have gained right here at UOP to change the world in the most humble way possible. There is nobody that can do it in the way that you can except for you.

It has truly been an honor. Thank you for having me and congratulations to OUR new class of 2019!

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Congratulations to the 2019 University of the Pacific Black graduating class!

Congratulations to the 2019 University of the Pacific Black graduating class!

Speak Up

When I saw this jumpsuit, I literally shed a tall tear. Yes. I am emotional by nature. Sappy commercials can trigger watery eyes but this jumpsuit called out to me. It was like hey Alicia girl! Not only is it animal print (which you know I live for), it’s also LONG ENOUGH in every way. You wanna hear the most amazing part? It was only $29. That’s not a typo my friend.

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Now. Don’t hate me…but this beauty was so popular that it flew off the shelf before I could shoot it BUT it’s just one of the many pieces that are the new COLLUSION line from ASOS. The site describes the line as:

A new brand for the coming-of-age generation that refuses to compromise on principle or style, COLLUSION believes clothes that celebrate self-expression and inclusivity should be the norm. It's no surprise then that it's linked up with six inspirational creatives to shape its first collection, which includes denim, knitwear, dresses and loads more.

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Now apparently this was made for something called the Gen Z that apparently I am aged out of but I don’t give a dang. I really like a lot of the pieces and will rock them as my older self pleases. The design and the price are winners for this lady.

I also love that they had a collective of six young designers, models, artists, and influencers that created the line. That is dope. Creative collaboration is my jam. Let’s just pray that ASOS calls me to help create their next Tall line. *speaks it into existence*

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Now, let’s talk about these beautiful sock boots. They are from none other than Payless. Payless has been a staple in my closet since I was young. As a whipper snapper, not only were they the only shoes my Mom could afford, they were also the only ones that could fit. They have been holding it down for size 10-13 for years and continue to step their game up design wise. These joints are a testament to that.

While we are speaking things into existence, Holla at me Payless! We have a capsule collection to make, as well as a sick commercial that I have already scripted. Let’s do this!

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See…they really are long enough. I knew you were wondering.

See…they really are long enough. I knew you were wondering.

Photos and MUA by  Nikki Notarte   Tall COLLUSION Jumpsuit - ASOS ( sold out. Check out the new line here )/ Brash Women’s Xaya Pointed-Toe Sock Boots - Payless  (shown in size 12)/Belt - Thrifted/Hoops - Forever 21

Photos and MUA by Nikki Notarte

Tall COLLUSION Jumpsuit - ASOS (sold out. Check out the new line here)/Brash Women’s Xaya Pointed-Toe Sock Boots - Payless (shown in size 12)/Belt - Thrifted/Hoops - Forever 21

I will be rocking this jumpsuit a lot. That $29 will be put to good use! Don’t be surprised if you see me running down the street wearing the suit, some sneakers and a faux leather jacket. Yep. That’s gonna be me.

PS. If you even had a thought, even for a moment, that you shouldn’t wear this much print…THROW THAT THOUGHT OUT THE WINDOW AND RUN OVER IT. You can wear whatever you please. Give them somethin to look at hunni!

Discover Her Journey

If you don't know, the Taylor Jay Collection is an amazing line with pieces that not only look great together but can be paired with other pieces to create looks that empower anyone's style. They are comfortable, chic and perfect for a woman on the go. 

Behind the line is Taylor. She is a mom, relentless entrepreneur and someone that I am honored to call my friend. She is passionate about what she does and created the #DiscoverHerJourney campaign to expand her scope of sizes to cater to plus as well as special collections that cater to all women in special ways.

I have always been amazed that her pieces are long enough for me. I have been rocking her collections for years and always look forward to her new, thoughtful styles. She really makes things that not only make sense but also make you feel stylish and carefree when you wear them.

Support a brand that supports you. #DiscoverHerJourney.

Support a brand that supports you. #DiscoverHerJourney.

As a Tall, African American woman who is very underserved in the media and fashion industries, I am so thankful for designers like Taylor who cater to all women and are making strides to include everyone.

It is incredibly important that we support each other and brands that believe in US, so please support #DiscoverHerJourney in any way that you can. From sharing the campaign, to donation, there is no such thing as a small contribution. Every supportive move is a move towards an industry that represents all of us!

Thanks in advance. We all thank you! #DiscoverHerJourney

No Tears Here

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I’m pretty sure this is the trifecta of length. Like who has long enough sleeves on their sweater, jeans (I swear they are long enough and it’s not the good ol’ cover the gap up with the boot trick:) and boots that are really over the knee??

This tall girl, that’s who!

And you can too!  

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This sweater though! It has the bell sleeves and they dang near go down to my knees. To say that I am infatuated by this sweater is an understatement and guess where it’s from? Boohoo. They have a tall line and I can’t even lie…I was suspect at first. Would it be long enough? Would it fall apart at those price points? The answer was very positive for both. As you can see, the arms are mad long and so far nothing has fallen apart. I have only tried out the tops, but me likey. I have this sweater and a nude bodysuit that I wore on my birthday. The price points were awesome because I got them on a flash sale. They have them all of the time so make sure to look out for them.

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Now…ya’ll  know that I’m a rider for Smash Shoes. These boots are ev-a-ree-thang! They are comfortable to walk in (major key) and really hit over the knee. Now…don’t hurt me but they appear to be sold out now (except for size 12 in the grey option) but check out their full line and sign up for their emails for a first look at their new styles as they come in.

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Last, but certainly not least are the skinnies. They are from newcomer Doubs Clothing. They come in 34”- 38” inseam. I love the stretch and they have an ankle detail that you can see by clicking here. I still don’t know how to pronounce their name correctly however I know the jeans fit correctly and that’s what matters my friends;)

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So there you have it. The proof that it is possible to get everything in the correct length for us. I know it’s tough at times but no tears! Our choices have certainly gotten better will continue to get better. I will steady share every tall style ting I find and experience. I’m here for you girl! 

Sparkle and Shine

Tis the season to dress up! Everyone is going to holiday parties. From Glam to ugly sweater, there are so many different looks to put together. While there are many style moments remember this...

Continue to be you.

No matter what the party, let YOUR style shine through! 

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You don't have to rock a dress to every soiree nor do you have to rock a traditional red and green colorblocked palette. You can make your look subtle or scream. It is completely up to you!

#ISparkleWhen I am completely myself. I love being me during the holidays and every other day of the year. I shine by being unapologetically me.  

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So whatever you decide to wear to your holiday parties...stand tall and rock it with confidence. You know what you like and feel best in. Get out there and strut mama!

When I wore this look, you couldn't tell me nothin! The faux fur is not only chic, it's warm too. The wrists were nice and toasty in this chilly weather. The pop of floral embroidery added a nice touch and I was completely comfy in the jeans and boots (the studs add an edge that I am completely here for). This look definitely captivated the room.

I really love the options LTS has for the holidays! There is a little bit of everything and guess what...you can win some of it! Throughout the whole month of December you can enter to win your own piece of LTS sparkle by entering to win HERE.  

I really want to see what you rock for the holidays so don't forget to tag @TallSWAG in your posts. See you soon and whatever you do...don't forget to sparkle and shine all of the time!