The world’s shortest couple – who both measure less then three feet tall – have proved that size doesn’t matter when it comes to love.
Paulo Gabriel da Silva Barros and Katyucia Hoshino, from Brazil, both have forms of dwarfism and stand at 34.8in and 35.2in respectively. The pair, who hope to enter the Guinness Book of World Records, said they met on a social media website ten years ago and started chatting on MSN Messenger.
Paulo, 30, who has a rare genetic condition called diastrophic dysplasia dwarfism, said it was love at first sight for him.
‘I found her very beautiful from the first moment I saw her,’ he said. But the attraction wasn’t mutual. Katyucia, 26, who has achondroplasia dwarfism, which affects bone growth, initially blocked him on the instant messaging site.
‘The first time I started talking to Paulo, he was really annoying. He had cheap-pick up lines.’ Paulo, who works as a legal secretary, said: ‘She thought I was trying to flirt but I was just being nice. According to her I was a really boring guy.’
That would have been the end of the matter, if Katyucia hadn’t suddenly decided to unblock him 18 months later. Katyucia, who now owns her own beauty salon that has been specially adapted for her size, said: ‘One day something happened in my head and I went and unblocked him. By then he was already more relatable.’
Paulo said: ‘When she unblocked me, it didn’t take me more than a minute to say hello. we started speaking and she said I was more civilised.’ Two months later, Paulo travelled more than 186 milies to Katyucia’s home city of Londrina to meet her.
He said he was bowled over by Katyucia’s beauty, but she was shy and unimpressed with his dress sense. Paulo said: ‘What most attracted me to her, besides her beauty, was how sweet she was. It was her sweet personality.’
The beautician said: ‘He was wearing an orange shirt, jeans and sunglasses – thank God it has improved since then.’ Despite Katyucia’s concerns about the long distance between them, five days later the pair started dating and after four years they moved in together.
Katyucia said: ‘I had never dated before so Paulo is my first boyfriend, my first everything.’ Now they say they’re are like any other couple. Paulo has a specially-adapted car to enable him to drive, while Katyucia’s beauty salon has been specially modified for her height.
Paulo, who has ambitions to run for mayor in his home town of Itapeva, said: ‘Basically, we are a normal couple but our height is a little smaller.
‘The best thing about our relationship is our closeness, our companionship we have for each other. ‘She supports me in everything, she’s my little warrior.’
Katyucia added: ‘We fight like every couple. A couple that doesn’t fight isn’t a normal couple. ‘Our thoughts match, our ideas match, our feelings match and that’s really cool.
‘His best quality is his simplicity. He is a person like any other. I think as a couple we are both different people, we aren’t the same person. We discuss our relationship, sit down and talk and get to a resolution.
‘I have a really difficult temper; dealing with me is not easy, but Paulo is so understanding and patient – that’s what I find most attractive about him.’ Together the couple enjoy travelling, going out, and eating ice cream and Japanese food.
Katyucia said: ‘The things we most like to do are eating and sleeping. Those are the things we do best.’ The couple say their small stature means they struggle to use cash machines, public bathrooms and reaching for their beloved buffets.
Paulo said: ‘The only difference that I see are things in public spaces. For example, an ATM was made for people with normal height. It’s a simple thing. A person with normal height has access but we, unfortunately, don’t have access.’
Katyucia added: ‘One of the difficulties I encounter is with the oven, the sink, the washing machine and opening a window and opening doors.’
Both say they have faced discrimination for their size and have been pointed and stared at in the street – with passers-by openly laughing at their stature.
Katyucia said: ‘I’ve been through discrimination every day. Every day I go outside and you see people pointing at you, whispering about you, that’s normal. You can’t escape it.’
But Paulo and Katyucia brush off the ignorance of others and after eight years together, the pair are considering getting married – though Paulo has yet to pop the question. Katyucia said: ‘If it wasn’t for his patience, we wouldn’t have been together for eight years.
‘I wouldn’t be who I am today. Paulo teaches me so much.’ The smitten couple are open to the possibility of children in the future – although it may be difficult for Katyucia to carry a baby full-term because of her size.
She said: ‘We’ve discussed having kids. My pregnancy would be high risk because the size of my uterus wouldn’t support a baby.
‘We’ve decided to let things happen at the right moment. In regards to the future we say: ‘never say never’.’ She added: ‘In terms of personal goals, I want to one day get married, I want us to have our own house and have our own dogs. Whether we have kids or not, I want to be happy, that’s what I want.’