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A woman has recently been crowned the person with the longest fingernails ever – and she’s broken a Guinness World Record.
Diana Armstrong, from Minnesota, USA, has broken the record for the longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) and the longest fingernails on a pair of hands ever (female).
The mother has been growing her fingernails for 25 years and as of 13 March 2022 they measure 1,306.58cm (42ft 10.4in).
READ MORE: Woman with world's longest nails heartbroken after losing them in freak accident
While Diana is blown away by the fact she’s a world record holder, the events that lead her here are devastating.
She made the decision to stop cutting her nails in 1997 after the tragic death of her daughter.
While she was shopping, she received a panicked call from her youngest daughter, telling her that her other daughter wouldn’t wake up.
At just 16 years old, Diana’s daughter, Latisha, had passed away in her sleep from an asthma attack.
"That was the worst day of my life," Diana told the Guinness World Records.
Diana, who has always had longer than average nails, used to have them manicured by Latisha every weekend.
Just the day before her sudden death, Latisha spent time polishing Diana’s nails. Now the mother can’t bear to cut them.
Diana explained that she battled depression for a decade, and growing out her nails was her way of keeping her late daughter in her thoughts.
Throughout the years that followed, her children tried convincing her to trim her fingernails as they became embarrassed by what people were saying.
Once she finally revealed her motives to her children, she was met with acceptance and understanding.
"When she told us the back story, it kind of changed my feelings towards it," Diana’s daughter, Rania, said.
"Because just as much as she missed my sister, I missed her too. So, if that’s her way of holding on to her, then I accept."
Nowadays Diana’s whole family help her maintain them as manicurists have said they won’t do nails that long.
Filing and polishing each nail can take her family members five to ten hours, nearly 15-20 bottles of polish and a woodwork tool for filing them to keep them as strong as possible.
One recent paint job took her family four days!
While Diana has said she couldn’t even be paid to cut her nails shorter, the length of them does make a variety of daily tasks challenging.
For example, it is difficult for her to zip up her pants or jacket, which means she steers clear from clothes with zippers.
Diana has also given up on driving, as her long nails have made it almost impossible, but when she used to drive, her nails would rest outside of the car window due to their length.
In public restrooms, she must use the biggest stall as her fingernails are longer than the average stall and if coins drop on the floor she doesn’t have the ability to pick them up.
Diana’s children and grandchildren were elated when they learned she had been recognised as the new record title holder and during the certificate presentation, Diana was overcome with emotion.
"I think she [Tisha] would be proud of me because she’s the last one who did my nails," she said.
"That’s who I think of when I grow my nails, is my daughter."
Rania said that living with Diana wasn’t difficult at first, but being mindful of her mother’s nails has become increasingly important as they have grown longer.
The previous record for the longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) was held by Ayanna Williams (USA) before she made the decision to cut them off. Diana's fingernails beat Ayanna’s previous record by an impressive 573.03cm (18ft 8in).
Diana also holds the additional title of longest fingernails on a pair of hands ever (female), breaking a record that had stood since 2008. The previous record holder wasLee Redmond(USA), who sadly lost her nails in a car accident in early 2009.
Diana is featured in the Guinness World Records 2023 edition, available September 15, 2022.
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