I Am Shauna Rae Episode 1 Recap: Meet The 22-Year old Trapped In An 8-Year Old's Body
A lot of people know what it's like to be baby-faced. They get carded everywhere they go and get mistaken for 16-years old or maybe even 14-years old when they are really in their 20s. However, probably very, very few people have been mistaken for 8-years old. Shauna Rae, age 22, is permanently trapped in the body of an 8-year old after brain cancer and chemotherapy left her pituitary gland barely functional. As a result, she stands at just 3' 11'' and weighs a meager 50-lbs. She doesn't face traditional dwarfism where aging and voice change are more apparent as one gets older. Her face and voice still very much align with that of an 8 - 13 year old’s.
Who Are Shauna Rae's Family?
I Am Shauna Rae premiered on TLC on January 11, 2022. The series follows Shauna as she navigates life living in the body of an 8-year old. Episode one introduces the rest of the family. Shauna lives with her mother Patricia Schrankel and step-father Mark Schrankel. Her older sister, Tara Lesick, is 24-years old and lives with her fiancé in Florida, but comes to visit frequently. Shauna also has two half-sisters - Rylee and Morgan. Rylee was introduced in episode 1 and is the youngest of the family. Morgan did not appear in episode 1, but will likely be introduced as the series continues.
What Are Shauna’s Struggles?
Shauna’s condition means that she struggles to lead a typical 22-year old lifestyle. Independence is a particular struggle as she is unable to drive. Not only is she unable to drive, but technically, by law, she should be in a car seat due to her weight. She relies on her sisters and parents to help her do things that her height makes difficult. She struggles with being questioned at bars, night clubs, and other adult-only areas. She even gets denied access to many amusement park attractions and games due to not meeting height requirements. Shauna also struggles with relationships. Her young appearance especially raises concern for her attracting “creeps” as she calls them, or “a**holes” who don't understand her condition or how to properly address it.
The Desire For Independence
Despite her struggles, Shauna is anxious for more independence. Seeing her older sister engaged and living in Florida definitely adds to Shauna’s impatience to be independent, too. She hopes to someday move out, as well, and wants to test the limits a bit with getting more tattoos, going out more frequently, and finding love. However, in order to become more independent she needs her mother to loosen the reigns a bit. Most mothers are over protective of their children, but even more so when their child has a unique situation that makes them more vulnerable and gives them additional struggles. While Shauna’s mother is only trying to look out for her, it rankles Shauna that she is treated differently than her sisters.
Shauna’s condition does mean that independence will be difficult for her. At 22-years she does not have a driver’s license, relies on her parents and siblings for help, and she may also struggle to find employment. Meanwhile, there are also other fears on the kind of people she may unwittingly attract, her ability to defend herself, and the ease with which she could flee a dangerous situation. Shauna is as deserving of a normal life as anyone else, but the reality is that dangerous people and situations do exist and that Shauna’s condition makes her more vulnerable to them. Hopefully, Shauna can find a balance between her personal independence and her acceptance of help from others.