People have been telling and listening to fairy tales for many many years. In fact, the first fairy tales date back as far as the 17th century. The short stories filled with magic, beautiful princesses, knights in shining armor, and evil stepmothers, are still told today. Many of them have been made into some of the most memorable Disney films of all time. In 2010, one of the world’s most beloved fairy tales came to animation, with Disney’s movie Tangled.
Tangled tells the popular tale of Rapunzel, the long-haired princess who was locked away in an evil witch’s tower until she is saved by a handsome knight who climbs up her long hair to get to her. Tangled was an instant hit, and has since inspired children all over the world to grow out their hair so they can be like their idol. One woman, who is now 26 years old, was inspired by Rapunzel way before Tangled, and has been growing out her hair since she was a child. She now considers herself the real-life Rapunzel.
With beautiful brown hair flowing down to the ground, Aliia Nasyrova’s mane measures at 7 and a half feet and weighs over 4 pounds. While it is certainly impressive, living life with such long hair has its fair share of challenges, from neck pain to difficult hair care. As you probably have already guessed, taking care of her precious locks is not easy, and requires a large amount of both money and time in order to keep her hair free of split ends, shiny, and voluminous. Just to brush her hair alone takes a full hour, and to air dry it can take a whole day!
Since the internet has caught view of her insanely long mane, she has gone viral and is somewhat of an online celebrity. Her social media sites have thousands of followers, with admirers leaving her messages of support, love, and jealousy on a daily basis. However, not everyone is pleased with Aliia’s lengthy hair, and she has received plenty of hateful messages. Many people don’t understand her lifestyle, and why she would spend such a great deal of money, and time, on keeping her hair long. Multiple people have begged Aliia to cut her hair, and claim that she would look much better with a shorter hairdo.
Aliia, however, refuses to give in to the negative attention, and insists that she will never cut off her luscious long locks.
Most of us recall hearing the story of Rapunzel – the woman whose long hair helped her knight in shining armor rescue her from a lonely tower – when we were children. While it is a lovely story, the thought of having such long hair seems unrealistic. However, one fan of the fairy tale, decided to make the story a reality and has dedicated her life towards becoming the real-life Rapunzel.
The 27-year-old Aliia Nasyrova, who is originally from Russia and now living in Latvia, has been growing her hair out for 20 years. Her brown locks are now to the floor, and then some, measuring at 7 and a half feet long. Aliia says that her impressive hair weighs around 4 and a half pounds, the same as her pet cat. Although Aliia is proud of her locks, she admits that taking care of it comes with its fair share of challenges.
First of all, her heavy head of hair creates some physical problems, including some intense neck strain. She said, “My hair is so heavy, I would compare it to the weight of my cat.” Not only does she have to deal with a painful neck, she also spends a good amount of time taking care of her mane. It takes Aliia a full hour to brush and an entire day to air dry her hair.
Aliia’s husband, Ivan Balaban, says he has gotten used to his wife’s long mane. He is supportive of his her choice to grow out her hair, and even makes sure to leave a whole lot of space in their bed for her lengthy braid (which takes up nearly half of the bed.) He said, “I am always cuddling up the wall when in bed to give more space for her hair, so there is no way I can damage it accidentally, mix them up or harm it in any other way.”
Treat with respect
Not only does Ivan give Aliia’s hair plenty of space in their bed, he also occasionally speaks to the long braid, “I always talk to the braid respectfully. Sometimes I ask it to move a bit.” He even goes so far to call her hair a real “member of the family.” Aliia says she couldn’t have asked for a more loving and supportive husband, and that he hasn’t once asked her to cut her hair.
Ivan has also admitted to having to schedule events and vacations around Aliia’s many haircare needs such as washing, combing and drying, “When we are going away to somewhere we always plan the entire day for it since we understand that otherwise we will lose one day from our vacation and we will have to sit inside at home.” Although Ivan admits that it isn’t the easiest lifestyle, he supports his wife’s decision to keep growing her hair.
Aliia does cut her hair, but she insists on doing it herself, and trims only the bottom in order to prevent split ends. She has to trim her hair once a month, to keep it looking healthy. After she cuts it, she goes to a salon to get a professional’s opinion, just to double check. Aliia’s hair stylist calls her hair “very beautiful” and says that “many people dream to have hair like this.”
Aliia said that she decided to grow out her hair because she was inspired by female characters from fairy tales, especially Rapunzel, whose long hair helped her true love get to her and help her escape the evil witch. “I started to grow my hair because since childhood I liked long hair very much. And I was always attracted by long hair heroines from fairy tales.”
Now that she is an adult, and her hair is the longest it has ever been, she does have to be careful to avoid any potential injuries such as tripping. To prevent mishaps, she has to put her hair in a proper braid before she leaves her house, “Since my hair is longer than my height, sometimes I step on it at home. And outside I never go out with flowing hair.”
When Aliia is out of the house, people tend to notice her unusually long hair, and she gets many stares. Strangers will often stop her on the streets, and tell her how beautiful her hair is. “Some people express their admiration when they see me on the street.” However, there are also people who aren’t as impressed, “Some people don’t like it, they are against it.” One woman who walked by Aliia in a shopping mall told cameras, “It’s very hard to take care of, I would never want it.”
Friends and family
Aliaa’s family has gotten used to her long locks, as have her friends, although they occasionally joke about her unique hairstyle. “My family has gotten used to the length of my hair, and my friends… some of them make fun of me, but they still admire it. Aliaa is never embarrassed of showing off her lengthy mane, and is quite proud of it. She insists that she doesn’t plan on cutting it anytime soon.
Aliia has accumulated quite the online following. She frequently updates her Instagram, which has over 78 thousand followers, with photos and videos of her brown locks. In many of the short clips that she posts, she lets her hair down and moves it around set to background music. She also posts videos of how she takes care of her hair, and shares some of her most unique hairstyles.
Aliia and her long locks get a whole lot of online attention, with thousands of likes and comments of admiration and support. However, just like any internet celebrity, Aliia does get her fair share of cyber bullies, who attack her with hurtful messages of people telling her to “cut it, sell it or get rid of it.” She said, “I often receive messages from people who don’t like the length of my hair or my hair itself, but I do not react to it.”
Cost of long hair
Keeping Aliia’s hair soft, healthy, and clean is not the easiest, or the cheapest. She requires several hair products such as deep conditioners, hair masks, hair oils, and professional shampoo and conditioner in order to maintain her hair’s health and shine. The quantity of hair product required to cover her whole head of hair is huge, so she goes through each bottle very quickly. Thanks to Aliaa’s large fan base, she receives many products for free, which keeps her haircare costs at a minimum.
For the most part, Aliia is extremely careful about protecting her precious locks, and is always very precautious in order to avoid damage. She said the most traumatic experience she has had with her hair happened when she was a kid, “Once in my childhood when I was in a theatre someone left gum in my hair, it was a tragedy,” she said. “I had to cut out a clump of hair to get rid of this gum, because it was very difficult.”
No need to break records
For Aliia, growing her hair out is not about making some world record or getting attention, it is purely for her own happiness. She feels beautiful and confident with her long hair, and feels like a true princess out of her favorite fairy tales. She said, “I don’t have a dream to get into the Guinness World Record Book,” she continued, “but I think I have the longest hair in Latvia.”
World’s longest hair
The length of Aliia’s hair is definitely impressive, but she does not have the longest hair in the world- not even close. The Guinness World Record for the world’s longest documented hair actually belongs to Xie Qiuping from China, whose hair was last measured at over 18 feet long! Xie has been growing her hair out since 1973, from the age of 13. She once said, “You need patience and you need to hold yourself straight when you have hair like this.”
Overcoming hair loss
Another woman who has gone viral for her long hair is 23-year-old Russian Anastasia Sidorov. Anastasia was actually diagnosed with alopecia, a condition that causes your hair to fall out, when she was only 18 years old. Anastasia’s hair would fall out in huge clumps, leaving her with bald patches. Luckily, with the help of a specialist, she was treated and now has gorgeous flowing red locks that measure at 3 and a half feet long. She is not planning on cutting it shorter anytime soon.
Anastasia is now a model, and has appeared in several Pantene shampoo advertisements in Russia. She also frequently shares tips with her many online admirers, and has 396 thousand followers on her Instagram page. Some of her tips include: using a shampoo with sulfates, applying a keratin mask after every wash, and allowing your hair to dry at least 60 percent before blow drying it. She offers hair consultations for individuals wishing to improve the health of their hair, which she charges around $70 for.
Andrea Colson is also known for her long strawberry blonde hair, that she has been growing for years and refuses to cut (apart from her bangs). The Christian missionary from Micronesia has long thick 5-feet-long locks. The trick that she lives by is simple- peanut butter. She insists that eating a spoonful of peanut butter a day helps keep her hair looking healthy, strong and long! She said, “Peanut butter is a miracle hair-grower!”
Hair like a gown
Another woman who considers herself the real-life Rapunzel is Malgorzata Kulczyk from London. The 32-year-old has been growing her hair for years and it now goes down to her ankles. Her hair is so long, that she often wraps it around herself and wears it like a dress! She, like Aliia and Anastasia, spends a lot of time taking care of her long hair in order to keep it looking clean and healthy. She uses a hair mask that she makes by herself at home, which is made of several ingredients but is mainly coconut oil.
While Anastasia, Andrea and Malgorzata’s beautiful manes are impressive, Aliaa’s hair still is longer by a good few feet. Aliia calls herself the “Queen of Super Long Hair” and her fans definitely bow down to the Queen. Thousands of her many admirers have left comments on her Instagram such as, “Beautiful look and no words. Your hair is so very very beautiful!” They also encourage her to not pay attention to the negative responses she receives, “Never mind to those who think negative about your hair, keep growing your hair longer!”
So what do the professionals say about the best way to grow your hair? Celebrity hairstylist Michael Deunas insists on following these tips: 1. Get regular trims every six to eight weeks. 2. Don’t go blonde, bleaching your hair can cause damage and make it harder for hair to grow. 3. Brush your hair a few times a day in order to distribute natural oil in your hair. 4. Eat foods with high protein such as fish, beans, and nuts. And 5. Avoid hair straighteners and blow dryers, which both cause breakage and damage to the hair.
Confidence and pride
With the world filled with Rapunzels, it seems like long hair is certainly making a comeback. Aliia, and her fellow real-life Rapunzels, continue to constantly inspire their many fans, especially young girls, to start growing their hair out in hopes to one day be a real-life fairy tale princess. Aliia is proud of her long locks, and encourages others who are growing out their hair to wear it in pride, and to pay no attention to the bullies and their negative remarks.