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'I Was Mortified': Nicole Kidman Opens Up About The Downside Of Being A Tall Woman In Hollywood

 Nicole Kidman in The Expats.
Nicole Kidman in The Expats.

Nicole Kidman is one of the most beloved and well-recognized actresses in Hollywood today, between her numerous great movies over the years, TV shows and being the face of those AMC Theatres ads. While one might think the Moulin Rouge star just strutted right into her success, the actress recently opened up about how her height actually started as a downside as a Hollywood actress.

When Kidman was a guest on The Radio Times Podcast, host Kelly-Anne Taylor shared her own experience dealing with being a tall young woman in her life, and how knowing the actress was the same height as her helped her get through bullying. Nicole Kidman related with Taylor, saying this:

I’m five foot eleven.… I was teased. I was called Storky. And they’d always be like, ‘How’s the air up there?’

Considering the average height for a woman globally is between 4’11 to 5’7 (and around 5’9 for men), Nicole Kidman certainly towers above most. The actress shared that she’s always being told she’s taller in person, and having to think about the size of the heels she wears at Hollywood events due to her height. When she was asked whether her height still bothers her today, here’s how she responded:

It’ll bother me when I’m acting and I want to be small, but then there are times when I appreciate it when it’s related to what I’m doing and I go, ‘OK, I can use this now.’ But a lot of the time, I’m still going, ‘Aw.’ Hey, I’m incredibly grateful to be healthy and walking around. Having said that, I’ve had knee issues and all sorts of things partly because of my height.

Of course there’s plenty of women who would die to be Nicole Kidman’s height, but this is a classic example of the grass not always being greener on the other side. Kidman has grown to appreciate her height over the years, including in her work as an actress. But it has also led to knee issues and other medical issues. Additionally, when Kidman was hoping to be an actor, her height led casting directors to turn her away. As she recalled:

Yes, I was told, ‘You won’t have a career. You’re too tall.’ And I remember auditioning for Annie, which was just one of those sort of big callouts, where hundreds and hundreds of people [were there]. I didn’t have an agent or anything. I just sort of showed up. … I had to talk my way through the door because they were measuring you before you went in. I was mortified. I was over the mark. I think you had to be five foot four, and I was like, ‘Please.’ But they did let me in, so thank you, whoever that was.

While Kidman has dealt with her share of problems due to her height, she’s far from the tallest famous actress in Hollywood. Among the tallest are The Crown’s Elizabeth Debicki (who just was among 2024 Golden Globes winners) and Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, who are reportedly 6 ’3. X-Men’s Famke Janssen, Allison Janney and Geena Davis are apparently each 6 feet tall whilst Sigourney Weaver and Tilda Swinton share Kidman’s 5 '11 height.

Considering all the movie magic that goes into Nicole Kidman’s work, it’s certainly not apparent to us as an audience how tall she is. Nevertheless, Kidman has remained an exciting talent in Hollywood across the forty years she’s been an actress. Her latest project is The Expats, which is among upcoming book-to-screen adaptations. The series is based on the novel by Janice Y. K. Lee and will be available to stream with an Amazon Prime subscription on January 26.