20-foot-long fingernails land Las Vegas woman in Guinness Book of World Records

Chris "The Dutchess" Walton shows off her Guinness-world-record-winning fingernails.

There’s a new Guinness world record holder — though her feat is neither one of strength nor endurance.

Chris “The Dutchess” Walton, 45, of Las Vegas, Nev., has just been certified as having the longest fingernails in the world. Walton’s nails, which she has been growing for 18 years, total 19 feet 9 inches, about the height of an average giraffe. Her nails on each hand range in length from 1 foot 3 inches to 3 feet.

She tries not to let her long nails get in the way of her daily routine. She can even use a smartphone to send text messages. However, in a few areas of her life, she has had to make adjustments, particularly in choosing and modifying her clothes. “I acclimate the clothes to me… I’ll take the seam out,” she said, explaining that many people just assume she struggles every day to put a top on. Asked how she does the dishes, she laughed and said, “I have grandkids now so I have earned the right not to do dishes.”

Walton explained that she didn’t set out looking to break a world record. “[It’s] like you think about love – you go looking for it and you can’t find it. So if I was probably thinking about it, it probably wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Unlike the previous record holder, Walton did not control the shape of her nails, preferring to let them grow out naturally. They resemble wild branches rather than a symmetrical work of art. She paints them gold, using several bottles of nail polish in the process, and also applies an acrylic base to keep them strong.

Walton said that most people have a positive reaction towards her nails. Many don’t even notice them until she starts gesturing. “A lot of people accept differences; if they don’t, you have to wonder how they deal with people who might have something like this normally,” she said.

The previous world record holder for longest fingernails was Lee Redmond, 70, a grandmother from Salt Lake City, Utah. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Redmond, who spent 30 years growing out her fingernails, lost the record in 2009 after being ejected from her vehicle in a four-car pileup in Holladay, Utah.

Walton is one of 4,000 new and updated record holders in the 2012 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, which is being released on Sept. 15. The company, a division of Canadian grocery and media conglomerate Jim Pattison Group, is also branching out into the digital arena. They currently produce several Guinness World Records iPhone applications and plan to launch an e-book version in November.

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