Reality star Shauna Rae is like any other in her twenties. She splashes around the dating pool and works to gain her independence from her parents. The only problem? The 23-year-old appears to be closer to the age of 8.
“People don’t understand that I’m an adult,” the Long Island native says in the first episode of the new season of her TLC reality series “I Am Shauna Rae.”
The show’s second season premieres at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1 and follows Rae as she searches for love and considers whether she wants to pursue a college education in business or veterinary science.
Rae was born with brain cancer and underwent chemotherapy as a child. The treatment impacted his pituitary gland, causing pituitary dwarfism. She has been in complete remission from cancer for years, but is only 3ft 10in tall and weighs around 50lbs.
“If you look at me, you see an 8-year-old,” she told the Post. “But I think if you take the time to look at the details in my face, in my hands, the maturity of my body – and I think if you take the time to actually talk to me – you really understand that I am a 23 year.
Rae told the Post that as she navigates the dating world, she’s been able to spot freaks who are interested in her for the wrong reasons.
“I just developed the ability to spot someone who might not have the best intentions because they’re betraying themselves,” she said. “Their questions are very focused on my physique… They’re learning about me like I’m a specimen in a lab.”
In the new season, Rae goes on a blind date with Thomas, a 20-year-old volunteer firefighter who also suffers from pituitary dwarfism and is 4-foot-8. Although her lips were sealed on her relationship status, she revealed that “there was that extra understanding” in their dynamic.
“He didn’t have to sit there and have a medical conversation with me, which is what I have to do with most men I date,” she said. “It was good that I didn’t have to walk him through it.”
Rae is currently learning to drive using hand controls as she is too small to use pedal extensions. She is also focused on finding financial stability so she can move out of her parents’ house.
Although his daily life is in many ways similar to that of other young adults, his stature comes with many complications.
“I had several problems with people not believing me when I told them my age. One thing that happened recently was that I went to a [lab] to get blood drawn… I was trying to leave but an employee wouldn’t allow me to because they thought I was a child leaving without a parent,” she said.
Rae offered to show them her ID, and she also pointed out that she had tattoos and piercings. But the employee got their supervisor.
“They all denied that I was an adult and they wouldn’t let me leave the property without an adult taking me home,” she said. “It got to the point where I had to leave when they weren’t watching. It was so extreme.
The experience left her quite distraught.
“It’s painful when society doesn’t accept you for who you are,” she said. “I don’t want people to ask me questions when I say who I am. I agree to show proof, if necessary. But if you’re your typical regular street Joe, then you have to take my word for it.
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