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‘Real-life Rapunzel’ sets world record for hair length

Donna Coutts, January 30, 2019 7:33PM Kids News

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Nilanshi Patel needs a lot of help from her mother to wash, dry and style her hair. Picture: Guinness World Records media_cameraNilanshi Patel needs a lot of help from her mother to wash, dry and style her hair. Picture: Guinness World Records

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A girl from India has set a new world record for long hair.

Sixteen-year-old Nilanshi Patel, from Gujarat, India, has hair 170.5cm long, the longest ever recorded on a teenager.

Nilanshi’s friends call her the real-life Rapunzel*.

“I got my hair cut, a really bad haircut. So, then I decided that I won’t cut my hair. I decided that when I was six and have not cut it since,” she said in an interview on the Guinness World Records website.

Amazingly, Nilanshi’s hair isn’t even a third of the length of the adult woman with the longest hair. That Guinness World Record has been held since 2004 by China’s Xie Qiuping, whose hair measured 5.627m. She started growing her hair at age 13 — seven years older than Nilanshi when Nilanshi started — so the 16-year-old could pass that record too one day.

Nilanshi with her world record certificate. Picture: Guinness World Records media_cameraNilanshi with her world record certificate. Picture: Guinness World Records

The decision to not cut her hair may have relieved Nilanshi of going to the hairdressers, but having such long hair is a lot of work.

She washes her hair once a week and then it takes half an hour to dry and one hour to comb. Nilanshi’s mother helps her.

Nilanshi's hair is 170.5cm long. Picture: Guinness World Records media_cameraNilanshi’s hair is 170.5cm long. Picture: Guinness World Records

Though it is time-consuming to care for, she has no plans to cut it and leads a normal life.

“People think that I face so many problems with my hair, but I don’t face any problems, I do sports and all the things with my hair. It’s a lucky charm for me!

“I style it is as a long braid* or as a bun on the top of my head. When I am going to an occasion*, or when I am playing table tennis, I bun my hair on my head so that it is comfortable for me.”

Rapunzel from the Disney film Tangled. media_cameraRapunzel from the Disney film Tangled.

GLOSSARY

  • Rapunzel: a character in a traditional fairytale who escapes from a tower by letting down her long hair so a prince can climb up to save her
  • braid: plait
  • occasion: special event

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. How long is her Nilanshi’s hair?
  2. What is Xie Qiuping’s world-record hair length?
  3. Why did she stop having haircuts?
  4. How does she keep it out of the way when she is playing sport?
  5. Name a sport Nilanshi plays.

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Write a Diary
Can you imagine having hair as long as Nilanshi or Xie Quiping?

If you can, measure out 5.627 metres. Write a diary entry for a day in your life with hair that long. Include how your hair would affect the day to day things that you do, how it would feel and things you would have to do to keep your hair out of the way!

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity.
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Nilanshi’s hair has given her an unusual World Record. Can you think of any other unusual or fun World Records that kids could try to achieve? (For example, collecting the most fidget spinners or eating the most potato chips in the fastest time). List as many as you can think of. Choose one and imagine that you have achieved this World Record. Write a post for Kids News all about your unusual and amazing record.

Time: allow 25 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY

Write about a time when you had a really bad experience, like Nilanshi’s bad haircut.

What happened? How did it make you feel? Have you had a good experience since?

If you haven’t had a bad experience, you can make one up.

Share your story with a classmate and see if they can guess if it’s the truth or a lie.

Remember to include your VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, openers, punctuation) to give your story voice and be convincing and engaging for your classmates.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What world record would you like to set? Why that record?

No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.

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