I don’t know about you, but I can’t grow out my fingernails if my life depended on them. They break if I look at them wrong, or I subconsciously bite them off when I’m nervous. Needless to say, I can’t even grow my nails out for a week straight, let alone a couple of years.
Allow us to introduce you to someone who can: Elena Shilenkova, the girl with the longest fingernails on the planet. And it all started as a simple bet.
One of Elena’s friends bet her that she couldn’t get her nails longer than 5 cm. The prize for this bet was pretty hefty too—$3,000! Now, like I said, I can’t keep my nails long for the life of me, and I can guarantee even with $3,000 on the line, I’d still manage to break them. But not Elena. She accepted the bet and won it with ease.
But her nail-growing didn’t stop there. She decided she wanted to keep growing them out, longer and longer, to see where she could get with them. Last year, her nails officially qualified for the 2018 Russian book of national records.
That’s not to say that it was an easy journey—or easy for her to maintain her nails since then. Elena actually had to sacrifice quite a few things she once loved in order to get her nails as long as they are.
“I love playing tennis, but I really can’t run the risk of tripping over and having to break my fall with my hands,” she said. “I also don’t really go abroad anymore because the only thing I like doing on holiday is swimming in the sea. I can’t swim because the risk of snapping a nail is too high.”
Additionally, Elena is constantly thinking about her nails. Nails are pretty fragile, so she has to constantly be making sure that she’s protecting them.
“It’s a hard job growing your nails out. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment looking after something that is so fragile,” she said. “I am constantly wary of breaking them and looking after them can be a full-time job.
Elena works to protect her nails so much that she’s actually gone so far as to refer to them as her “babies.” After all, she cares about them as much as she would her own kin, and would do anything to protect them.
“Even when I’m sleeping, subconsciously, my mind is worrying about them—that’s why I call them my babies, because I have to take care of them.”
Elena isn’t the only one who loves her nails—even total strangers compliment them on a regular basis.
“People often come up to me in the street and tell me how pretty they think my nails are,” she said. “They are beautiful because they’re unique. They make me stand out from the crowd and people certainly don’t forget me in a hurry.”
Could you ever grow your nails as long as this woman did? What do you think of the look of them?