Woman sets Guinness World Record with 42-foot long fingernails, report says

Minnesota resident Diana Armstrong has broken the record for having the longest fingernails.
Minnesota resident Diana Armstrong has broken the record for having the longest fingernails.(Guinness World Records)
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT
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(Gray News) - A Minnesota woman is setting a unique record that has taken her 25 years to achieve.

According to the Guinness World Records, Diana Armstrong has broken the record for the longest fingernails on a pair of female hands and the longest fingernails overall.

Officials said Armstrong’s nails measured 42 feet, 10.4 inches long in total length as of March 13, with the combined length longer than a school bus.

Her right thumbnail is the longest of all her nails, measuring 4 feet, 6.7 inches. By comparison, her shortest nail, her left pinky fingernail, is 3 feet, 7 inches long.

Armstrong said she has been growing her fingernails for over 25 years, with last cutting her nails in 1997 after she lost her 16-year-old daughter, Latisha, to an asthma attack.

“That was the worst day of my life,” Armstrong said.

She said she has always had longer than average nails, but her daughter used to help her manicure them every weekend.

“She was the only one who did my nails. She polished them and filed them for me,” Armstrong said.

Over the years, she said her children tried convincing her to trim her fingernails, but she did not.

However, once she revealed her motive to her children, she said she was met with acceptance and understanding from the family.

“When she told us the backstory, it kind of changed my feelings towards it,” Armstrong’s daughter Rania said. “Because, as much as she missed my sister, I missed her too. So, if that’s her way of holding on to her, I accept.”

Armstrong said she battled depression for a decade, and growing out her nails was her way of keeping her late daughter in her thoughts.

Rania said her mother previously worked as a hairstylist before becoming a stay-at-home mom after Tisha’s passing and focused on growing her fingernails.

Now that they have reached such extreme lengths, Armstrong’s nails take between four and five hours to paint each.

Painting them is such a laborious process that she only has her nails done once every four to five years. Armstrong said the process includes 15 to 20 nail polish bottles and a woodworking tool for filing.

It’s a challenge to paint them herself, so she enlists the help of her grandchildren, who she said love adorning her nails with colorful patterns.

Armstrong said she is restricted in what she can do with her hands and often uses her feet to pick up clothes off the floor or to open the refrigerator.

“If I have to pick up money off the floor, I can pick up bills,” she said. “But if I drop change on the floor, that will just stay down there.”

Armstrong said she has also given up on driving, as her long nails have made it almost impossible, but when she used to drive, her nails would rest outside the car window due to their length.

She also tends to steer clear of zippers, which are very difficult to navigate with her nails.

Armstrong said she has grown used to the attention she attracts when she’s in public with her nails and was surprised when they first caught the attention of Guinness World Records.

“I thought that was a joke,” Armstrong said.

A representative with the Guinness World Records said during the certificate presentation with adjudicator Mike Marcotte that Armstrong was overcome with emotion.

“I think she [Latisha] would be proud of me because she’s the last one who did my nails,” she said. “That’s who I think of when I grow my nails.”

Armstrong also said she has no plans of cutting her nails anytime soon.

According to the Guinness World Records, the previous record for the longest fingernails on a pair of female hands was held by Ayanna Williams before she decided to cut them off.

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