Meet the World’s Shortest Woman (You Might Recognize Her)
Have you seen this woman on TV or in the movies?
She is listed in the Guinness World Record as the Shortest Woman in the World, and her name is Jyoti Kisanji Amge. At two feet tall (about 62 cm), she is stunning and extremely talented.
Her sweet smile and engaging personality have gained her fans all over the world. Read on to find out more about this fabulous young woman.
A Happy Family
As you read further about Jyoti’s life, you will be astounded at what she and her family have accomplished. Many parents whose child is born with disabilities throw their hands up and assume that their child’s life will be painful and full of insurmountable obstacles.
But Jyoti’s family took her differences in stride and carried on with their lives like any other family. They know their child was different and would have special needs, but their love, support, and encouragement have proven extraordinary.
Jyoti’s mother knew that something was wrong soon after she became pregnant. This pregnancy was different from her previous four, and it was her maternal instinct that told her to seek medical advice. When she did, she was shocked at what the doctors told her.
During ultrasound scans, the baby could barely be seen. She was delivered at ten months, weighing just over three pounds. Jyoti’s family, who are devout Hindus, saw her birth and ability to survive as a miracle.
Jyoti was born in December of 1993 in Maharashtra, India, and her mother, Ranjana, tells the story that her baby girl was small but continued to grow normally until about age five. At that age, her growth stopped, and she has not grown at all since then.
Despite her growth issues, Jyoti developed mentally as a normal child and went to school with other children her age. Her family did not focus on Jyoti’s size, so she did not think of herself as different and faced all obstacles with a positive outlook.
Why Was Her Growth Stunted?
Jyoti once explained that her growth problems stem from an insufficiency of growth hormones caused by something called achondroplasia. The latter is the most common form of what is known as skeletal dysplasia. It occurs in about one in every 40,000 births.
There are no treatments for this condition, which is caused by a gene mutation. So, very quickly after the diagnosis, Jyoti’s parents decided that they would raise their daughter like they raised their other children and not focus on her physical issues.
More about Achondroplasia
The condition which afflicted Jyoti, achondroplasia, is a disorder affecting bone growth. It stops the process that happens naturally in most children, that of cartilage changing into bone, especially affecting the bones of the arms and legs. That is why Jyoti’s growth stopped at age five and never started again.
This type of disorder means that the child might suffer from an inability to move their arms, legs, and fingers to their fullest range. It can also include the child having an unusually large head and limited intelligence.
The Support of Family
It’s hard to imagine what Jyoti’s parents felt when they received the diagnosis of her condition. They realized that their precious, beautiful, happy child would never grow to be more than two feet tall. Yet they did not feel pity for her or for themselves.
They simply treated her as if she was no different from any other child, sent her to school, encouraged her to make friends, and challenged her to pursue advanced degrees. As parents, they knew that this vivacious, powerful young woman would carve out a future for herself.
Not an Easy Life
Jyoti’s family instilled a sense of confidence in her, convincing her that nothing need stop her from achieving her dreams. She believed in herself, but the people around her were not always kind to the diminutive woman.
Her father recalled, “When she was not [this] famous, people used to tease her and make fun of her. She used to feel very dejected then.” It was her family who let her know that she had their unwavering support. They even carried her around the house so that she could see the world just as they saw it.
Being Jyoti’s Family
Jyoti’s parents, Ranjana and Kishanji, as well as her three sisters and her brother, spend a great deal of time helping Jyoti. All of the family members, including extended family, help Jyoti out with daily living and with any special needs.
Jyoti’s parents worry about her health and about taking care of her as she and they age. They know that she cannot live on her own and must always have someone to help her. But her sisters and brother are quite aware of their sister’s needs and promise to always be available to help their amazing sister.
Jyoti in School
For most young children, going to school is a little scary. There are always fears about making friends and fitting in. But for someone like Jyoti, those fears were magnified. She needed to be carried up and down stairs and of course, needed a special desk and chair.
Jyoti’s biggest fear was the size of everything. She had gotten used to her own home, but she didn’t know how she would cope in school. She was even afraid of her schoolmates – they all seemed so big!
Building Her Self-Confidence
Jyoti’s personality was powerful, positive, and determined from the moment she was born. Although doctors were not certain about her future, the baby grew into a happy, bright young child. Much credit for this goes to her family, who didn’t treat her any differently because of her stature.
When she received the Guinness World Records award, her self-confidence took a sharp uptick. As she said, “Getting this record has made me feel better about myself. I feel popular, special, and important.”
Higher Education and Beyond
Jyoti was intent on continuing her education and was accepted to university. Because it was difficult for her to get from class to class, her sister carried her around the campus and helped Jyoti complete her college degree.
After earning an undergraduate degree and then a Master’s degree in English Literature, as well as taking acting and dance classes, Jyoti decided to focus on her dream of going to Hollywood to become an actress. She was quoted once as saying, “I’m crazy for acting. I want to make a career in acting, and for that, I can do anything.”
Guinness World Record!
In 2009, the Guinness World Record (GWR) book confirmed Jyoti as the world’s smallest living female teen when she measured about two feet tall. As is the protocol for GWR, they measured her once again two years later, when she turned 18; at that point, she was confirmed as the shortest female living (mobile.)
At 29 years old, she has kept this record for more than ten years and also broke a second record. She is now in the GWR as the shortest actress after her appearance in the television show American Horror Story, which premiered in 2014.
The GWR Record Holder Gains Fame
After Jyoti was entered into the Guinness World Record, her fame skyrocketed. She wanted to travel to England and the U.S. and to see the world, in addition to her biggest dream of becoming an actress.
Wherever she went, her fans followed her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. She was thrilled to have found her place in the world after having so many doubts about her own future as she grew up. Her success proves how determined and brave she is and is inspiring.
Her Television Career Begins
In 2009 Jyoti first appeared on television on the show called Bikkuri Chojin 100 Special No. 2, from Fuji TV. Bursting with personality and charisma, she soon became a favorite on Indian television. She was finally doing what she dreamed of – well, just about.
She was certainly on her way to stardom, and rightfully so. Yet her fondest dream remained to snag a role on a Hollywood television show and gain fame outside of her native country. She has the personality to engage people worldwide, and she wanted more in her life.
Meeting Other Record-Holders
As a member of the GWR “family,” Jyoti had opportunities to meet with other record holders and took every chance she was offered to compare notes with them. It was fascinating for her to learn how other people dealt with their own physical differences.
In 2012 she met Chandra Bahadur Dangi, the shortest man ever, and found that she was taller than him. He was one foot nine inches, while she was two feet four inches. It was the first time that the world’s shortest man and woman had met.
Living as a Two-Foot Woman
Let’s take a moment to consider what life has been like for the now-famous Jyoti. As a person of such extremely short stature, everything she uses, wears, and needs must be re-sized to fit her limited reach.
In the image above, you can see how even small sizes of normal toiletries are too large for her hands. In addition, although she is small, she is now a 29-year-old woman and wants to have clothing made that is appropriate for her age.
Like Any Other Young Woman
Jyoti doesn’t see herself as special or different. She is secure in her own abilities and accepts the challenges that face her with grace and a huge smile. She enjoys what every other young woman loves – beautiful clothes, being with friends, and experiencing life.
For Jyoti, being able to apply makeup and wear beautiful clothing shows the world that she is a young woman like any other. This message is inspiring to her thousands of followers. She carries a strong message about self-image and is forward-thinking.
Jyoti had the incredible experience of meeting the world’s tallest man, Sultan Kosen, in 2012. The two were posing for photos for the Guinness World Records.
She commented, “When I met the world’s tallest man, I was a little shocked,” she said at the time, “I was thinking how can someone be so tall, and he was astonished to see me as well, but we are now very good friends.” Look at the difference in the hand sizes! Since her inclusion in the GWR, she has traveled the world and met many famous people.
International TV Show Stardom
In 2012 Jyoti was a guest on the Indian TV program Bigg Boss, which was a take on the U.S. program Big Brother. In 2014, Jyoti was thrilled to act in the U.S. television program American Horror Stories: Freak Show. Her role was the character of Ma Petite in the fourth season of the show.
In 2014, Jyoti was thrilled to act in the U.S. television program American Horror Stories: Freak Show. Her role was the character of Ma Petite in the fourth season of the show. One can only imagine how her family felt seeing Jyoti on the screen. After all, every member of the family had a large part to play in her success.
Her Own Documentary
In 2009, Jyoti starred in a documentary show which was part of the Body Shock series. It was called Body Shock: Two Foot Tall Teen. The film depicts the Amge family, devout Hindus, and how they saw Jyoti’s birth and survival as a miracle that deepened their faith.
The show follows Jyoti’s parents’ dilemma over whether or not to allow Jyoti to undergo serious surgery to realign her bones. They worried that the operation could cause her further damage.
GWR’s Video about Jyoti
The Guinness World Record (GWR) team took the opportunity of Jyoti’s entry into the record book to travel to India with host Asha Leo and film a video showing a normal day in Jyoti’s life. The 11-minute video is part of a series profiling GWR inductees.
The video shows Jyoti in her family home, helping with chores and proud of what her family has accomplished. She and host Leo get look-alike dresses made for a family party and get to know each other, showing insights into Jyoti’s thoughts and challenges.
Starring in Episodes of American Horror Story
Perhaps Jyoti’s biggest break was when she appeared as the character Ma Petite in episodes of the American TV show American Horror Story. She was selected to star in Season 4 of the show, which aired in 2014, in its episodes entitled American Horror Story: Freak Show.
For this role, she was awarded the Russian International Horror Films Award for her performance. The character Ma Petite is part of a traveling troupe of circus performers who enter a town, after which strange things begin happening to the townspeople.
In the Wax Museum!
There are many measures of a person’s fame, and Jyoti is no different from any other celebrity. She has thousands of followers on social media, fans flock to her wherever she goes, and she has made many TV appearances.
One more moment of fame can be added to that list. In 2015, the Celebrity Wax Museum in Lonavala, India added a statue of her. The statue stands among many likenesses of international stars such as Barack Obama and Mother Theresa.
Becoming a Role Model
While focusing on her acting career, Jyoti has also undertaken the task of promoting the issue of self-confidence. She hopes to inspire others with physical and mental differences, not to allow those differences to hold them back.
Above, you see Jyoti receiving the India Celebrity Award in 2020 for her acting career in her home country. Nothing has stopped her from following her dream of becoming a professional actor. Considering his small stature, one would think her roles would be severely limited, but she has shone beyond anyone’s imagination.
Traveling Around the World
During Jyoti’s travels around the world, she had the opportunity to connect with her many fans. One group was a troop of policemen in Florida who had followed her career. She was happy to meet them and spend some time with them.
On her Instagram page, she quotes a saying about policemen, which she shares with her followers, “A true police officer fights not because he hates what’s in front of him, but because he loves who stands behind him.”
Social media is Jyoti’s milieu. She loves posting photos about her travels and commenting on her current interests. She also uses social media to share her ideas about being different and meeting life’s challenges.
She currently has about 17,000 followers on Twitter, one million followers on Instagram, and over 46,000 followers on Facebook. Her followers have grown exponentially as she has become more and more well-known following her television appearances and especially after becoming a member of the Guinness World Records.
How Others See Her
For some of her fans in India, Jyoti is considered to be the manifestation of a goddess, but she doesn’t see herself like that. She feels she is a normal human being who happens to be of short stature and doesn’t like to be treated like a child.
She has said that in India, people often stop her so that they can touch her feet, a gesture of respect and admiration in that country. This embarrasses her because she does not see herself as special or deserving of being considered a goddess!
Belief and Faith
Jyoti’s family are devout Hindus, and their beliefs have helped them weather many difficult times. She has stated that her faith is extremely important to her, and it is something that her family does together, which makes it even more special.
The family practices rituals together and prays together, which Jyoti feels makes them closer, and ties them to their ancestors. She admires her family for their steadfast beliefs, and for their devotion to their religion.
Perhaps Jyoti’s most important contributions to her fans are her messages of encouragement. She has had a difficult, challenging life yet remains upbeat and positive. Her daily routines involve much more navigation and planning than those of most people, and she knows how dependent she is on her family.
Her message is one of having a positive attitude toward life and not focusing on what is missing. “Be happy with what you’ve got,” she said in her video for Guinness World Record. Jyoti knows what is missing in her life but does not dwell on the negative.