Do you remember the girl with the world’s longest hair on a teenager?

Nilanshi Patel, a girl from Gujarat, India, broke the record back in 2018, at the age of 16.

With brown locks that measure 170.5 cm (5 ft 7 in) long, she quickly became known to the world as the real-life Rapunzel.

But then two years later, just before her 18th birthday and after 12 years of growing it, she decided to cut it all off.

At that point Nilanshi’s hair had grown even longer, reaching the jaw-dropping length of 200 cm (6 ft 6.7 inches) and securing her a second title, this time for the longest hair on a teenager ever .

So what made her decide that it was time to cut it?

“All these years, my hair has been my lucky charm,” Nilanshi said. “It gave me a lot... now it’s time to give it something back.” 

Nilanshi blowing a kiss to her hair while her mum holds it up

That is why she decided to donate her record-breaking locks to a museum, so people could see it, learn her story and be inspired by it.

After it had been cut, it was tied up into a bunch that weighed a total of 266 g (9.4 oz) and shipped all the way from India to the USA.

There it was first displayed at Guinness World Records Museum in Hollywood and, after a while, it was transferred to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Hollywood museum.

Thankfully, Nilanshi felt good about her shorter hair and was happy with the haircut!

Nilanshi outside her front door with her new bobbed hairstyle

Fast forward to today, Nilanshi is a busy 20-year-old student of many talents and passions.

“With hard work and dedication, I fulfilled one of my dreams of being a IITian – a student at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, which is India’s best university.

“I am also a national level table tennis player; I like to play musical instruments like the keyboard and harmonium. My biggest passion is dancing, acting and modelling.”

In fact, in 2022 she was a semi-finalist on Glamanand Supermodel India, a beauty pageant broadcast on TV.

“I have seen many ups and downs in the family, which made me stronger and more passionate about achieving my goals,” Nilanshi explained. “I started believing in myself and [that is how] I have been able to achieve whatever I did until today.”

Nilanshi today, with her hair grown long again

Reflecting on her achievement from over five years ago, Nilanshi thinks that it gave her confidence and pride in herself, inspiring her to work on everything wholeheartedly to achieve more things in life.

“When I broke the Guinness World Records title, I became the World's Real life Rapunzel. People are still likely to recognize me and want to hear my story.

“I have been invited to speak at events, give interviews, or be featured in various media coverage!”

“When I broke the Guinness World Records title, I became the World's Real life Rapunzel.” – Nilanshi Patel

Even though she is very grateful for her extraordinary hair, Nilanshi doesn’t think she will grow it that long again.

As she explained, “Having long hair is such a beautiful and satisfactory feeling, but it came up with a lot of care which was time consuming.

“I couldn't handle it on my own, so my mom was helping me all these years. I want to focus on my other interests and passions and [would like to] break other records!”

nilanshi's hair in 2023

As for her hair length today, it's around 45 cm (1 ft 4 in), proving the record breaker’s unconditional love for long hair.

Unfortunately, Nilanshi hasn’t been able to visit the Ripley’s museum to see her locks on display: “ When I cut my hair, that was COVID time; all the transport and international flights were shut down, so I couldn't visit then.

“Now, my parents and I are immensely looking forward to the invitation from the museum. [We can’t wait] to be there, see my hair and click pictures with it; I want to finally meet my buddy! Hoping it will happen soon.”

“Achieving a world record was like a dream come true! It brings me pride, satisfaction, and recognition. It is a source of motivation to pursue new goals and challenges in life!” – Nilanshi Patel

Nilanshi Patel with her certificate

Since Nilanshi cut her hair off, no one currently holds the record for longest hair on a teenager – which means that someone out there will have the record without even realizing it.

In other words, if you're a teen with really long hair, you could be a world record holder without even knowing!

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