Katja Bavendam is making a big splash with My Giant Life on the TLC Network.
Season two kicks off with a new lesbian cast member who is 6'8" and lives in New York. Her wife, Julie McGuire, is 5'2," making for an interesting dynamic. They have been married for a year and the storyline on the show follows their journey to have a child.
Bavendam is out to prove she's not just another tall drink of water and Windy City Times called her to talk about it.
Windy City Times: Hi, Katja. So you are a New Yorker?
Katja Bavendam: I think that is fair to say after 12 years on and off.
WCT: What is your job?
KB: I'm a traffic engineer. It is an office job. I am with an engineering and planning consulting firm.
WCT: How were you cast on My Giant Life?
KB: A friend of mine reached out to me that knew the producers. That is how it happened. They found me.
WCT: Do you get tired of the "how tall are you" question?
KB: I'm used to it. That question usually comes from a certain type of person. I'm sometimes surprised when the questions doesn't come. I am usually bracing myself for it.
I think my friends are more tired of it than I am. I deal with it and it has been part of my life for so long.
WCT: Are there tall people in your family?
KB: My dad is 6'4" and my mother is six feet. My sister is 6'3."
WCT: Did your height cause problems growing up?
KB: No, I don't think I had any more problems than any other teenager. When people started dating, I did have some pressure looking for a taller guy. This was before I was aware that I was more into women than men.
It always draws attention. Sometimes, when I am having a bad day, I don't want the attention. I can't hide. It is always there.
WCT: How long have you been with your partner?
KB: We have been together for three and a half years. She's 5'2" so that is a big draw for the show. We have a nice height difference going on.
We met online. She thought it was a typo on my profile about the height. Once we both explained that we didn't have a problem dating someone of a different height then the rest was history.
WCT: Describe the process of having a child together.
KB: We are in the interesting spot of having that choice of who is going to carry the baby. If I had a husband and we wanted kids, it would be obvious. Now that we have a choice we are trying to put it on each other because neither one of us has an immediate desire to be pregnant.
We are very different, with one of us being tall and blonde and the other is short and brunette. That plays into the decision, too.
WCT: Did you go to the doctor and find out which one is safer to carry a baby?
KB: We went to a doctor and the pressure was put on her because she is 37. If we want a risk-free pregnancy, then it was suggested to go for it soon. It is really up to her to take the plunge on that.
WCT: What did you do for Pride?
KB: We were out on the beach at the Fire Island Pines. It was empty because primarily gay men go there. Everyone was in the city for the parade.
WCT: My Giant Life seems to be shot from different angles to make things look bigger. Describe that experience.
KB: I don't think it was necessary to make us look taller, but if that is what they want to go for then that is fine.
We did wear GoPro cameras on our shoulders so people could see the world through our eyes. Julie gets to see what I see. At a concert, I can lift her up and she is shocked I can see that much of the stage.
WCT: I was just asked to move at a concert because I am tall myself, so you must get that a lot.
KB: I do and it is not like I am pushing myself into the front row. That gets annoying.
WCT: Is being referred to as a "giant" offensive to some people?
KB: Some people get offended that the word "giant" is in the show but I don't think so. It is all in good fun.
I make fun of it. When we are together I say, "Oh, I'm just hanging with some fellow giants!"
WCT: Did you get to be friends with other people on the show?
KB: I got to know them through promotional stuff we did for TLC together. Other than that, we haven't crossed paths outside of the show.
WCT: What was your goal for being on My Giant Life?
KB: To have some fun with it. When do you get to experience the filming of a reality-TV show?
I also wanted to create some awareness and put ourselves out there as a lesbian couple, knowing that there will be a lot of viewers that don't approve of that. We wanted to reach at least one person that won't see us as scary and open their minds up.
Living in New York we don't get a lot of public hate but I know that is not the reality for everyone in this country. With Orlando there is obviously a lot of work to be done in terms of what people think and eliminate hate.
We wanted to put ourselves out there as part of the LGBT community. While we are a bit unique with two women having a baby, I hope everyone can relate to us. I'm glad they picked us to have some social diversity in the show.
Expect big things from My Giant Life Tuesdays at 9 p.m. central on TLC with more information at www.TLC.com .