(Photo: Asha Zulu Mandela)
Asha Zulu Mandela of Atlanta, Georgia holds the Guinness World Record for the longest dreadlocks in the world. The official measurement is 19 feet and 6 inches, but she claims to have one strand of hair that is 55 feet long. Zoe Mintz writes in The International Business Times:
"My hair has become part of me. It is my life. I will never cut it," Mandela told The Mirror, adding that she maintained her locks even while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. The tattooed, bejeweled mother of one has also overcome two strokes and two heart attacks.
But her roughly 39 pounds of hair have also affected her spine. "The doctors seem to think I have a curvature of my spine and that it's the length and the weight of my hair that's making me curve,” she said. "Some have said my neck has collapsed at the back and that I need to be careful because I could start having spasms in my spine and probably be paralyzed."
Still, Mandela wants to keep growing her hair. "Cutting it would be equivalent to suicide. It would be like being a zombie."