Nailed it! Meet the woman who hasn’t cut her fingernails for more than 30 years

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Cordelia Adams was inspired by her mother to start growing her nails 32 years ago. (Photo: Instagram)
Cordelia Adams was inspired by her mother to start growing her nails 32 years ago. (Photo: Instagram)

Cordelia Adams hasn't cut her fingernails for 32 years, and they've grown to a staggering 30cm long.

Cordelia (59), who lives in Virginia in the US, shot to fame thanks to her TikTok page which she started during the pandemic in 2020.

“The best thing about having the super long nails is the attention,” she says. “I was just doing it for fun because I saw people doing these fun antics on TikTok, so I decided, 'Let me try this.' And I did.”

She became an online sensation after a video of her washing her hands went viral with more than 17 million views. She now has more than 700 000 followers. 

“Even though a lot of times the comments are negative, I like the attention. I enjoy answering them back.

“The worst thing of having super-long nails is the disrespectful questions,” she says. “Are they mine? Are they heavy? Why won’t I cut them? How do you eat? How do you cook? How do you clean? How do you take care of yourself?”

Cordelia was inspired to grow her nails by her mother, who also had long fingernails.

“I’ve been growing my nails for 32 years; I started growing them back in 1989,” she says.

“The longest my nails have ever been is 16 inches (40cm). I trim them every once in a while. I actually use a jewellery trimmer to cut them because they don't fit in between (the blades of) a regular nail clipper.”

As a nail technician, Cordelia says that she knows how to repair her nails when she accidentally breaks one and she can easily manage daily tasks.

“It’s not difficult at all for me to get ready, as the nails actually fold back over my arm. So, if I’m holding something, they're out of the way completely – I don’t do anything fingertip first,” she says.

She adds that she uses her knuckles "as pliers, in order to pick things up”.

Cordelia grooms and decorates her own nails and her favourite design “right now, is the stained glass on my ring finger”, she says.

“It usually takes anything between 10 minutes to half-an-hour to apply, depending on the design.”

It takes her about two-and-a-half hours to remove a design from a nail before starting a new one.

While Cordelia's nails are impressive, she has a long way to go before she can set any records. 

Shridhar Chillal from India holds the Guinness World Record for the longest fingernails on a single hand ever. The combined length of his fingernails is 909,6cm.

The woman who held the female record until she had her nails clipped last year, was American Ayanna Williams from Houston, whose nails had grown to 733,55cm.

Yolanda Adams, Cordelia's younger sister, says Cordelia has always been unique. “Most of my life she’s had the long nails, and if she were to cut them, she wouldn’t be her.”

As for Cordelia, having short nails isn't something she's even considering.

“Having long nails is an expression of myself and it's an extension of who I am.”

Sources: YouTube, MSN, Instagram, TikTok

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