If you’re anything like me, you’d find it impossible to keep even two millimetre long nails before nibbling them off. But Ayanna Williams, a Houston-based woman who holds the record for the world’s longest fingernails, has cut off her 24 feet-long nails after almost 30 years.
In a YouTube video released by the Guinness Book of World Records that can be mildly triggering for some, Williams can be seen tearfully parting with her unicorn pink tapering talons with help from an electric rotary device. This was her first nail cut since the 90s.
"With or without my nails, I will still be the queen," Williams said in the video. "My nails don't make me, I make my nails!"
Williams first broke the Guinness World Record for the woman with the longest nails in 2017 with her 19 feet fingernails that took more than 20 hours to manicure. But that was nothing compared to the time her manicure took just before she chopped them off last weekend, requiring at least four bottles of nail polish to finish up the paint job over the course of a few days.
The remnants of her record-breaking nails will now be displayed at the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum in Orlando, Florida. Williams says she will not grow her nails longer than six inches now, admitting that her they’d get in the way of doing tasks like washing dishes or changing the bedsheet. Explaining how she dealt with public reactions, she said, "I have this thing that I do with children when they come up to me and they say 'are those your nails?!' and I say 'yeah' and then I ask and I say 'How old are you?' and they say 'I’m ten or I’m seven', and I say 'Guess how old my nails are? They’re like 28 – 29 years! They’re older than you!'"
Previously, the Guinness record holder for the world’s longest fingernails was held by 82-year-old Shridhar Chillal from India, who cut his nails after 66 years in 2018.
For Williams, parting with her precious nails—though a bittersweet nail in their coffin—signals an exciting new chapter and a challenge for others to beat her current record. “I’ve been growing my nails for a few decades now,” she said. “I’m so, so ready for a new life. I know I’m going to miss them, but it’s just about that time – it’s time for them to go." Letting go isn’t always easy, but we think she nailed it.