ByElle McFarlane, writer at
'There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you.'
Elle McFarlane

Famous for his rippling abs, all American smile and jumping wildly on Oprah’s sofa, Tom Cruise has amassed a fair reputation for being one of Hollywood’s most larger-than-life actors. However, his entire career has been plagued not only by his controversial beliefs and his role in the fabulously terrible film Cocktail, but also by the public’s obsession with his height.

Looking at times both positively tiny:

And positively giant:

Counting himself amongst the likes of Ben Stiller, Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Black and Christian Slater who likewise do not breach the five foot seven inches mark, Cruise is among good company when it comes to being a smaller man in Hollywood. What makes him special, however, is his expert use of a series of height-enhancing techniques which we see time and time again in his movies, creating an optical illusion of sorts so that he appears much taller than he really is.

Taking a closer look at the magic behind the man, here are Tom Cruise’s eight techniques for appearing taller than you really are.

Technique No.1: Horizontal Over Vertical

While this rule may be somewhat self-evident to some, the closer you can get to lying flat either on the ground or on your co-star, the better. Not only does this make it virtually impossible to get a real sense of your vertical height, it also makes you seem like a more relaxed happy-go-lucky person.

Difficulty Rating: 3/10

Potential Pitfalls: Can prove hazardous in public spaces

Vanilla Sky
Vanilla Sky
Knight & Day
Knight & Day

Technique No.2: Strategic Lighting

If possible, be sure to install under-lighting everywhere you go. Not only can this be incredibly flattering for your cheekbones, but it can also elongate the silhouette of your body, making you look significantly taller, and a little slimmer, than you truly are.

Difficulty Rating: 6/10

Potential Pitfalls: If done incorrectly, this can make you look like a toweringly terrifying halloween specter, potentially disturbing all those around you.


Technique No.3: Stand Next To Children, Often

Due to children being fidgety creatures, often with their own minds, this can be particularly difficult to master, though not impossible. To really capitalize on this technique, make sure that all other adults are banished to the distant background.

Difficulty Rating: 8/10

Potential Pitfalls: Appearing moderate to severely creepy

Here’s a particularly good example of child-free ‘adult backgrounding:’

Technique No.4: When Falling, Make It Seem Laboriously Difficult

Falling gracefully is a skill, but making yourself look taller whilst falling is a true art form. Remember, the more laboriously and dramatic you make your fall look, the further it looks like you have fallen.

Difficulty Rating: 1/10

Potential Pitfalls: Sharp objects on the ground

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Technique No.5: The Marge Simpson

Never forget that your hair can add inches, if not feet, to your height. The key is to invest in hair gel in bulk, and not hold back.

Difficulty Rating: 4/10

Potential Pitfalls: Extreme heat and low ceilings.

The Colour Of Money
The Colour Of Money

Technique No.6 : The Solitary Party Piece

To ensure that the impression of tallness you project has a lasting longevity, make sure your most memorable moments are performed entirely alone. This means that when people wish to recall your ‘best bits’ from memory, they will not be able to recall your height in relation to other humans. They may instead spend their time more wisely focusing on your expert fireplace thrusting or your crisp ‘tighty whities.’

Difficulty Rating: 9/10

Potential Pitfalls: Finding a memorable pair of crisp white underpants and/or not quite perfecting your fireplace thrust.

Technique No.7: Distraction

If you are unable to perform any of the above, adding ‘distraction’ to your catalogue of height-defying techniques can prove to be the ultimate weapon. There are several means of doing this, the most obvious being to beguile onlookers with your terrible teeth:

Or failing that, invest in learning some truly vulgar mixologist skills:

Combining the two together makes for a really potent and effective combination.

Difficulty Rating: 7/10

Potential Pitfalls: This can seriously damage your romantic prospects.

Technique No. 8: Flee

When everything, including your attempts at distraction have failed, there’s only one thing left to do, and that’s to run. This can happen mid-conversation and can see you jumping through a window if necessary, but the struggle to confuse people over your true height, is real.

Difficulty Rating: 1-10/10 (dependent on context)

Potential Pitfalls: Jumping from great heights as part of your attempted flee can result in grave injury.

Do You Think Tom Cruise Is The Grand Master Of Height Deception?


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