Comedian Krista Kay opted to not wear heels to her senior prom — she didn’t want to tower over her date, she said.
Her height, a whole six-foot-five, has always been the first thing people notice about her.
“I was taller than literally every other kid in my class growing up,” the new Enumclaw resident said in a phone interview. “It was pretty difficult.”
Growing up in a small South Dakota town didn’t help, either; “No one was tall,” Kay continued. “I thought I was the only tall girl, ever.”
But as she matured, Kay turned her insecurity about her height into a strength — and with her new children’s book, “A Head Above The Rest,” she hopes she can help other kids learn that lesson, too.
Published October 2019 and illustrated by Scotty Roberts, “A Head Above The Rest” is all about teaching kids to recognize that their differences make them unique, and that those differences should be celebrated, not denigrated.
“I have worked on myself to accept being different, because, of course, we can’t change our height. It’s one of those situations where you always have control over your perspective,” Kay said. “I wanted to write the book to teach that lesson to kids at a younger age. If anyone is different in any type of way… if there’s any insecurities around something that you don’t have control over, I just wanted to empower kids to take control of their perspective.”
One way Kay first changed her perspective was to put her height to use by playing basketball at Northern State University in South Dakota, where her skills and physical advantage helped her get placed on the top 10 list for most blocked shots in the country.
After enrolling in a master’s program for counseling, Kay went pro, playing with Australia’s Ringwood Hawks for one season in 2012 before getting her degree two years later.
For three years, she worked as a therapist, but decided in 2017 she wanted to branch out into comedy, thinking her education and experiences would lend themselves readily to such a career.
It was during this shift that her height gave her another unique opportunity — to star on TLC’s documentary show, “My Giant Life,” which features women who are at least six-foot-six (meaning for the first time in her life, Kay wasn’t the tallest person around).
The show followed Kay as she moved from South Dakota to Las Vegas to start her comedy career. As a part of the show, she lived with her co-star Lindsay Howard, who towered over Kay at a whopping six-foot-nine.
It was around this time that Kay started writing “A Head Above The Rest,” but it wouldn’t be for another two years before the project came all together.
Although already having a TV credit lent her weight in the Vegas entertainment scene, it wasn’t long before Kay decided she wanted to switch it up, and when COVID-19 shut the whole strip down, it was time for her to move to small-town Enumclaw and continue her career here (Kay’s boyfriend already living here didn’t hurt, either). She’s been living here for about four months now.
“Vegas is really uncertain with the whole entertainment business anyway, and the things that I do can be done anywhere, anyway,” she said. “It’s just appealing to be back at a slower pace… Enumclaw is beautiful.”
But just because she’s no longer performing in Vegas, doesn’t mean she’s left all her entertainment skills behind.
In order to being a little joy to some kids stuck inside during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kay has been hand-delivering books to her readers — in a giraffe costume.
“It’s pretty cool to see the kids’ face” when I deliver the book in costume, Kay said. “I’m just trying to create something where people can still celebrate and have a surprise or something like that, even though they’re stuck in their houses.”
Once Kay is through finalizing her move to the Plateau, she hopes to get in touch with local venues for shows.
To learn more about Kay, or to book her for an event, head to http://kristakaycomedy.com/.