Longest dreadlocks-world record set by Asha
DAVENPORT, Fla., USA --
Asha Mandela, of Davenport in Polk County, has an impressive
hair: the longest of her locks 8 feet, 9 inches long-setting
the world record for the Longest
Photo: Mandela's dreadlocks, which she
started growing 20 years ago, are longer than she is tall.
She cradles her locks in her arms like a baby. She wraps it
around her neck like a scarf. She lets it hang down her back
and trail behind her like a bridal veil. / Photo by George
Skene, Orlando Sentinel (enlarge
Asha Mandela, who is originally from
Trinidad, said she first cut all of her hair off and began
growing the 20-year dreads while she was living in New York.
She said she occasionally considers cutting the
dreadlocks but she has become too attached to the style to
let it go.
"As much as I love it, I get frustrated with
it," she said. "But then I realize I'd feel naked without
Ryan Spinella, executive assistant to the city
administrator of Longwood, Fla., was one of the witnesses
on hand to verify the measuring of Mandela's locks. "I couldn't
say what to compare it with. Just a lot of hair," Spinella
said. "You don't believe it until you measure it, really."
Originally from Trinidad, Mandela started growing
her dreads when she decided to stop using chemicals on her
hair while she was living in Brooklyn, N.Y.
She cut it all off and, as it grew back, began
corkscrewing it into curls that in turn were twisted together
into dreadlocks. Before her dreads were long enough to hang
down, they stuck out from her head like long black fingers.
Mandela's hair is her pride. It is much
like a child she has raised from infancy for 20 years. She
even calls it her baby. But like a child, eight feet of hair
is both a blessing and a burden.
She wrings out the water as you would
a wet beach towel. When the days are hot, and she takes it
out by the pool in the backyard, it takes two hours to dry.
When it's humid and cloudy or cool outside, it might take
all day for her wet hair
to lose its dampness. "I try not to have any errands that
day," said Mandela, 46
Mandela says she "used to wash it three
times a week. Now I do it once a week. It's very tiring. Sometimes
I don't have the energy." It takes one bottle of shampoo and
one bottle of conditioner every time she washes her hair.
Body world records