Diana Armstrong started growing her fingernails over 25 years ago. The Minnesota woman said she decided to keep her fingernails following a family tragedy, adding that she also wanted to hold on to the memories that she had with the deceased person.
And though that was her initial intention, the current length of her nails has earned her recognition from Guinness World Records. In a release on Tuesday, the organization announced Armstrong now holds the record for the “longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) and the longest fingernails on a pair of hands ever (female).”
A measurement of Armstrong’s nails on March 13, 2022, determined it was 1,306.58 cm (42 ft 10.4 in) long. To put that into perspective, a standard yellow school bus isn’t longer than Armstrong’s fingernails when they are combined in length.
Measuring 1,306.58 cm (42 ft 10.4 in) long, Armstrong’s longest nail is her right thumbnail. Her left pinky fingernail, which measures 109.2 cm (3 ft 7 in), is her shortest nail. It also takes four to five hours to paint each nail.
The new record holder told the organization that the last time she cut her nails was in 1997. She said she took the decision to never cut her fingernails after her daughter suffered an asthma attack and died in her sleep. Her daughter was 16 at the time.
“That was the worst day of my life,” she said, adding that her deceased daughter was the one who manicured her nails on weekends.
“She was the only one who did my nails. She polished them and filed them for me,” Armstrong recalled.
And though her other children tried to get her to cut her fingernails as the years passed, she said she did not budge. “My kids said ‘Ma, you need to cut your nails.’ I would tell them ‘Mind your business.’”
Her children eventually accepted her decision after she told them why she did not want to cut her nails. “When she told us the back story, it kind of changed my feelings towards it,” Armstrong’s daughter, Rania, said.
“Because just as much as she missed my sister, I missed her too. So, if that’s her way of holding on to her, then I accept.”
The length of Armstrong’s nails means she cannot perform certain tasks including driving. She cannot also wear clothes that have zippers. But she said she doesn’t intend to cut her nails. She was also emotional when Guinness World Records recognized her with a certificate.
“I think she [Tisha] would be proud of me because she’s the last one who did my nails,” Armstrong said. “That’s who I think of when I grow my nails, is my daughter.”
Ayanna Williams previously held the record for the longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female) until her decision to cut them.