When asked what do you want to be when you grow up?, little girls may answer their dream to be a supermodel. One woman in Russia still has not given up on that dream, even at age 30, after being told she was too short to be a model at age 17. Alexandra Transer has grown a total of 2.5 inches from 5-foot-4 after surgically fracturing her legs via the Ilizarov apparatus method.

"I had tried to get into modelling school when I was 17 but was told by the director that because I had stopped growing the only way I would ever be the right height was if I grew leg extensions. So that’s exactly what I decided to do. At first, my parents were really against it. My mum is only 5.2-foot and my dad 5.5-foot, so we are a family of shorties,” said Transer, the Mirror reported.

The aspiring model underwent the Ilizarov apparatus, which is meant to lengthen bones. Transer’s surgery involved surgically fracturing her legs and fitting a metal cage — a ring apparatus — to each leg. Based on the principle “tension stress,” bone and soft tissue, including skin, muscle, and neurovascular structures, will heal and regenerate in a predictable manner under tension, according to an article in the journal Physical Therapy.

Transer’s fractured bone began to grow together as she recovered. Meanwhile, she had to turn a screw on each cage four times a day, moving the healing fracture apart by approximately 0.10 centimeters a day. After nine months, Transer’s legs grew a total of 2.3in.

“The first operation went really well, and in nine months I grew by 6cm. I am now planning two more operations in the next couple of years, and by 2018 I will be 6ft,” Transer said. The 30-year-old, aware of her age, realizes she may be too old to model, but says, “I'll dye my hair blonde and at least I will look and feel like one.”

The surgical procedure has helped patients like 21-year-old Xu Juan from China, who underwent the intensive surgery to lengthen her left leg by 9in. Her left leg was damaged after an infection left her thigh bone eroded by bacteria as a child, the Daily Mail reported. The woman’s left leg was left 9in. shorter than her right due to the lack of proper medical care. Doctors were able to extend her left leg to make it evenly long, and then replace the left knee joint and left hip joint in a second surgery.

These leg extensions can help treat certain medical conditions, and even aspiring models, apparently.