Little woman recounts her shock at being called "it" while shopping

Woman with dwarfism who dreams of being a fashion designer reveals she grew up being mocked and called ‘it’ – but insists she wouldn’t change her body if she could take a magic pill

  • Mary Russell, from London appears on Channel 5 upcoming show Little Britons
  • Mary, 50, is 4ft 1in, and has dwarfism – and says she was once called ‘it’ while out
  • Mother-of-one is launching a fashion line targeted at women with dwarfism
  • Said she was the’butt of many jokes’ as a younger woman making her resilient

A 4ft 1in woman who dreams of a designing a successful fashion range for other women of smaller stature recalls the heartache of being called ‘it’ in a moving new Channel 5 documentary. 

Mary Russell, 50, from London, explains in this evening’s ‘Little Britons’ that she felt complete shock when a girl referred to her as ‘it’, while she was out shopping with friends. 

In the programme, which follows Louis Makepeace, 20, Jamie John, 31 and Mary pursuing their dreams, we see the budding fashion designer as she puts the finishing touches on an upcoming line of glamourous outerwear ‘Magdalene’. 

Mary Russell, a mother-of-one, has a form of dwarfism that means she has an average sized torso but short arms and short legs. 

She put together the #mysilouhettematters campaign, which is featured in the show alongside her fashion line. 

Mary Russell (pictured), 50, from London, reveals that she felt complete shock when a girl referred to her as ‘it’ while she was out shopping with friends in tonight’s Little Britons on Channel 5 at 10pm

In the show, she explains she’s been the ‘butt of many jokes’ due to her size, especially when she was a younger woman in her hometown of Huddersfield, in Yorkshire. 

‘When I was younger, I was in town shopping with my friends,’ she recounts, ‘and I’ll never forget this young girl. 

‘She turned to her mum and she said “Mummy, it even wears high heels” and I will never forget that because that for me was her definitely saying that I was not a person, “it,” being the key word,’ she added. 

Having worked as a model with agencies such as Model of Diversity, Mary had her eyes set on creating fashion she and other women her size could related to. 

Tired of never finding anything she could buy in high street shops, Mary decided to launch her own line for little women (pictured with her models) 

The show follows her as she works on putting together her fashion line. 

Mary’s idea started when she became increasingly frustrated at never finding her size in high street shops, leaving her to shop in the children’s department, which damaged her self-confidence. 

Mary wanted to create a fashion line of glamourous garments for women who live with dwarfism, in order to help them feeling recognised and respected. 

‘One of the top problems that comes up within the little people world, it’s not talking about the medical side, it’s talking about clothing,’ she explains.

To make her point further, Mary goes shopping in the centre of London and picks a yellow dress from a rack in a high street shop.  

The show follows Mary as she prepares to launch her line, Magdalene. Pictured with her models on the day of a pre-launch event in Huddersfield

‘This would most definitely have to be shortened,’ she says after putting up the dress against her body. 

‘I want to be able to shop off the peg, just like everybody else does,’ she says, ‘but unfortunately, I’m denied that opportunity.’ 

‘The fashion world is a very big world, it’s known for being quite snooty, and not inclusive.’

And she adds that she wants her line to be taken seriously, and to make a splash with her target audience.  

‘I’m hoping to be a contender, not a gimmick, these are real designs that I’m creating for real women.’  

‘Just by design is what makes living in this world difficult for a person with dysplasia, it wasn’t created with us in mind.’

But she adds: ‘The funny thing is, I wouldn’t change it for the world, if there was a pill that could change me, I might do it just for a day, just to see really what it is like, but I’d definitely want to return to this being,’ she said, pointing to herself. 

Mary returns to Huddersfield in Little Briton, and explains she picked it as the location to film a sneak preview of her upcoming line. 

‘When I lived hear as a young girl, there was a lot of mocking, I was the butt of a lot of jokes, so in the shadows, that still bothers me,’ she says. 

‘So today, it would be nice if I could turn it around, not be the butt of a joke and they see me as someone who’s really transitioned through her life,’ she adds, 

‘I just want to show Huddersfield, this is who I am now.’

What is skeletal achodronplasia?

Restricted growth, sometimes known as dwarfism, is a condition characterised by unusually short height.

There are 2 main types of restricted growth: proportionate short stature (PSS) – a general lack of growth in the body, arms and legs disproportionate short stature (DSS) – where the arms and legs are particularly short 

A rare genetic condition called achondroplasia is the most common cause of DSS.

It causes poor bone growth, resulting in short upper arms and thighs.

It doesn’t always run in the family – many children with achondroplasia have parents of normal height.




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