Welcome to the NEW ThereAreGiants.com where the goal is the same, but the journey has changed. Hence forth, TAG will be your destination for clothing reviews of companies who cater to tall men and a filtered online store where you can explore their product yourself. However, we will no longer be covering major corporations e.g. Old Navy, JCPenney, Men's Wearhouse, etc., but focusing predominantly on start ups and mom-and-pop shops that are capitalizing on the bespoke life for talls. There will be exceptions, but ThereAreGiants is a firm believer and supporter of ambitious and delicious people who want to pave their own way.
From our first article ‘Dresshirtness’ with Evan Hoyt Thompson, to now, so many wonderful things have come out of this project. Things that back in mid-April 2012, while sitting in a tiny bedroom of an apartment in Washington Heights NYC, I wouldn’t have even thought possible.
The origin of ThereAreGiants is actually a very sad story that cliché-ly ends similarly to a phoenix rising from the proverbial ashes. You see, in late 2011 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. About 4 months into chemo and radiation, I was exploring other treatments, as none of the current ones that were being attempted were working. Shortly after announcing this news to whom I was lead to believe was my serious boyfriend of the time, I was dismissed, dumped, and replaced only weeks before this extreme procedure was to happen. I was devastated - scared.
Side note: this boy friend happened to be 6’9” and an aspiring writer. As most people in the arts do, he struggled with where he was going with his writing career, to which I suggested a tall men’s blog. After all, he’s abnormally tall and an excellent writer, therefore readers would heed his advice or anecdotal content. To this suggestion I was shot down, him retorting that no one would read it – ‘There aren’t enough tall guys out there.’
My initial thought to this break up was ‘I need a project to not think about this’… my second thought was ‘how am I ever going to meet another tall man?’ Because once you go GIANT, everyone else seems non compliant.
My mind kept wandering back to the tall men’s blog idea until, whether it was the radiation or the medication I was on at the time, my creative side popped and got the better of me. So one night, while in bed propped up against the wall, still periodically rubbing my patchwork quilt of a head awaiting a more rapid hair growth, and listening to Sondheim, ThereAreGiants’ domain was bought, and the site – then a Tumblr – was born.
- I had no idea that the first essay I wrote about department stores not carrying tall sizes was going to turn into models, wardrobe fittings, photo shoots, location scouting, guest writers, and interviews with public figures.
- I had no idea that while sitting in Sloan Kettering hooked up to a machine that political figure Zach Wahls (6’5”) was going to agree to sit down and interview with me. “That’s the coolest thing I’ve ever been asked to do.”
- I had no idea that Lands’ End, a company I grew up wearing, was going to sponsor a full spread on winter coats for our December Style article… at the time we didn’t even have a style section.
- I had no idea that the one-and-only 7 Foot Body Builder, Greg Clausen, was going to sign on to a full time fitness column with my little online magazine.
- Further more, while all of the sponsorships and ad space requests were flying back and forth, I had no idea if I was even going to live.
At this point in my treatment I was in ‘possible remission’ due to the completion of radiation, but was encouraged to proceed with a Stem Cell Transplant anyway to make sure that all of the cancer cells were completely wiped out of my system. I agreed - When someone gives you a 40% chance of living if you don’t do a procedure, you do it!
Once I was checked into Sloan Kettering for the 30-day intensive treatment, ThereAreGiants went from being a distraction to keeping me sane. It was my normalcy. I announced on the site that ThereAreGiants was going bi-weekly for the summer so that my workload wouldn’t be so unattainable while trapped in a 20x20 sterile room. I held editor meetings with Brett Stout and Christopher Bosco in my hospital room to piece together what the next article was going to be about and look like. I still crack a moderate smile when thinking about them in their hospital gowns, protective masks, and rubber gloves taking notes on what was to be in our August issue and who needed to do what.
I spent hours every day, between nausea and what meals I could force myself to eat, putting together the Olympics sports cards for all of the GIANT athletes and reading Zach Wahls’ book in preparation for speaking with him. My parents sat with me day in and day out, pitching in thoughts and ideas about what I was writing and coming up with and how to move forward with them – all the while handling medical information and bills both medical and personal. I learned through all of this how incredible my parents really are and how utterly grateful I am to have them – but that is a different story.
Upon being discharged from the hospital, only 11 days after the transplant, a near hospital record, I began the physical recouping process. Walks with Mom or Dad down to Riverside Park, Yoga in my tiny apartment, and keeping ThereAreGiants going. The TAG Trunk Club spread was shot only two weeks after my discharge when I could barely walk up a flight of stairs. The Hairy Situation article on men’s haircuts with stylist Jerami Brown was shot just days after I was cleared to drink Starbucks again (and thank god for that) - and ironically had very little hair.
ThereAreGiants was the spine that propped me up in the scariest and most crucial time of my life. The readers and contributors have unknowingly been the driving force that kept me going. Whether it was out of necessity or out of felt obligation, this project, in a way, saved my life, but most definitely saved my sanity. ThereAreGiants is personal. Each article, each model, each photoshoot got me through another week, gave me something to wake up for, and continues to bring a smile to my face when all is pieced together.
Most of you will read this and think 'Oh my God, I had no idea.' I wanted to keep my 'battle with cancer' private until I knew what was happening. I didn't publically admit to having cancer until we were told that it was gone on October 5, 2012 - 2 days before my birthday; a birthday I wasn't even sure I was going to have. I remain cancer free, and my life gets to go on. I do my fighting best as I ease back into my former life, to keep ThereAreGiants going - and your support is very pertinant to keeping this alive. There is real lack of voice for the tall male community outside of Rochester Big & Tall. I am diligently working to provide that voice and in doing so have accidentally created the ONLY tall men’s magazine in full operation today. Please continue to visit, read, and support ThereAreGiants.com... it's not only needed by me, but the GIANTS as well.
"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - Winnie the Pooh