Maria Feliciana dos Santos grew normally until the age of 10, when her growth skyrocketed. She was a basketball player, singer and circus attraction. Her first public performances were in 1962 at the age of 16. At 18 she received the title of Queen of Height in a contest in Chacrinha. Although her height was often claimed to be 7 feet 4.4 inches (224.8 cm), her real height was probably no more than 7 feet 0 inches.