‘I’m stared at in public because of my dwarfism – the world isn’t built for me’
The Traitors winner Meryl Williams stole hearts across the nation when she appeared the hit BBC show last year.
Meryl, 27, who has achondroplasia, has spoken exclusively to OK! about her motivation for taking part in the reality series, saying she wanted to help eliminate the stigma around people with dwarfism.
Here, Meryl talks about how she navigates the obstacles in day to day life, how she achieves all of her custom outfits, and proves people with dwarfism are just like the rest of us…
"The whole reason I did The Traitors is because a lot of people think people with dwarfism don't live real life.
"I just wanted to show people that we do. We do everyday tasks. Everyone is always like, 'You drive?!' and yeah, I have dogs, I bought my own house in 2021. I just live a normal life. I just want to try to raise awareness and show people that we just the same as everyone else, and they can relate to us a lot more than they think.
"I've had instances in the past where people would say, 'I've never seen anyone with your condition'. Some people are scared of someone who is different. I'm nothing to be scared of – I'm not going to hurt anyone! I think there's such a stigma around dwarfism because everyone just thinks that these are these mythical beings.
"I was scrolling on social media one day and came across these people who said they have a fear of dwarves. It made me think, 'Oh my God, people are actually scared of me.' I was so shocked. It's just an excuse to discriminate.
"I know a lot of people with my condition hide themselves – they don't want to go out, they don't want to put themselves out there, they're scared of what people will say. I don't want to live my life in the shadows.
"Often times I forget that I'm little, until I'm out in public and someone stares at me. I do get stared at quite a lot. Nowadays, it's hard to know if it's because they recognise me from The Traitors, or if it's because I'm a little person!
"It's something that I've come to terms with. Obviously I do look different and with that you will get stared at. You do experience discrimination sometimes, for example on social media. But I'm quite strong, I'm quite numb to negative comments and I think the positive outweighs the negative.
"I always say the world is not made for me, I have to adapt myself to the world. Everything in my house is all average height, nothing's been adapted. I just have to grab a stool or stand on a chair.
"I drive to London quite a lot for work events. I went through the toll bridges and I didn't realise that I couldn't reach to pay until I put my arm out, so I had to get out of my car on the bypass!
"My gran alters all my clothes – she has done since I was around two, three months old, which is amazing. She's a trained seamstress, so I'll go to like Zara or something and I'll buy a jumpsuit from the adult section and she will take the sleeves up, take the trousers up, then take the waist and if need be.
"She basically custom makes all my clothes – I don't know what I would do without her.
"A lot of people with my condition will fit into kids clothes, but with dwarfism, a common common aspect is bigger thighs and bigger arms and then a bigger bum – we don't have the physique to fit into children's clothes normally, but then obviously adults is too big.
"So I'm lucky that my gran does alter my clothes so I don't feel restricted in the sense of clothing because I do have her, but I know lots of people with my condition that don't have that like luxury."
Meryl has been shortlisted for BAFTA Scotland's Audience Award – the first person with dwarfism ever to do so.
The public can vote for their favourite screen stars in the Scotland Audience Award for Favourite Scot on Screen.
You can vote for Meryl here up until 5pm on Monday October 30, and the winner will be revealed at the BAFTA Scotland awards ceremony in Glasgow on Sunday November 19.
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