Woman with world’s longest fingernails cuts them short for the first time in almost 30 years

Marie Claire Dorking
·3-min read
Ayanna Williams has had her record-breaking nails cut short. (Guiness World Records/Ripley's)
Ayanna Williams has had her record-breaking nails cut short. (Guiness World Records/Ripley's)

A woman who held the Guinness World Record for the world's longest fingernails has had them cut short for the first time in almost three decades. 

Ayanna Williams from Houston, Texas, broke the World Record for the longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) in 2017, when her impressive nails measured nearly 19 feet long. 

Before getting them cut, however, the incredible nails had grown to 733.55cm (24ft 0.7in) with the longest individual nail measuring 38 inches.

Despite growing her nails for 28 years, Williams said it was time for a new chapter in her life, admitting it was a "relief" to have her nails cut shorter. 

It means she will be able to do every day tasks like wash the dishes and change the bed for the first time in years.

Read more: Meet the real-life Rapunzel who has hair longer than 5ft and hasn't cut it for over five years

"Certain things were getting really difficult for me," she tells Yahoo Style. "I have diabetes now and I'm on insulin, so that was a factor.

"It just felt like it was time."

Williams admits that before having her nails cut, she was constantly worried about breaking one, but despite it taking up to five days and three or four bottles of nail polish to manicure her nails at their longest, she will miss having them.  

"The day before I had them cut I was feeling really teary and emotional, but life is totally different now that they've been cut," she says. "I can do everything and not have to watch my nails. I don't have to worry about them getting caught in the door."

Incredibly, Williams says she never set out to grow her nails to record-breaking lengths. 

Read more: People are photoshopping their knuckles for perfect manicure snap

Ayanna Williams gets her record-breaking nails cut. (Guinness World Records/Ripley's)
Ayanna Williams gets her record-breaking nails cut. (Guinness World Records/Ripley's)

Straight after the cut, the great-grandmother, who needed to have a professional cut the nails with an electronic rotary cutter due to the scale and thickness, said she felt instant relief in her thumb and knuckles.

She still plans to grow them to around six inches "or maybe a little shorter", but she says she never wants her nails to be that long again. 

Dermatologist Dr Readinger, who cut Williams' nails, admitted they were the first of their kind that she has had to work with and said it would stand out as an "interesting experience" in her career.

Before having her nails cut, Williams' said that she received various reactions to her nails, but most were positive and supportive, particularly when they were spotted by children who were often surprised when she revealed her nails were older than they were. 

Read more: Lizzo paired her chocolate dress with chocolate scented nail polish at the Brits

Ayanna Williams admitted it was a
Ayanna Williams admitted it was a "relief" to have the nails gone. (Guinness World Records/Ripley's)

Williams' record-breaking nails are now immortalised in a display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium, with the great-grandmother explaining that she's happy to see them on display because it is history for her children. 

“It’s going to feel like it’s a wax of myself," she says. "Even though it’s just my nails, it’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait to see that."

She's also keen to encourage the next history-making nail enthusiast to grow their nails and to go for a record-breaking title.  

“Do what you want to do! Let everyone be themselves. If you want to grow your nails long, do it,” she adds. 

"With or without my nails, I will still be the queen. My nails don’t make me, I make my nails!"

Watch: Real life Rapunzel has 180cm-long hair. 

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