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Fashion & Beauty

Woman who stopped having her hair straightened grows one of world’s largest afros

She wanted to use the $50-100 she spent getting her hair straightened at salons each month on rent and bills for her first apartment, and said transitioning was difficult.



By Fiona Jackson via SWNS

A woman who stopped having her hair straightened to save money has grown one of the world's largest AFROS - which stands at a whopping 4ft 10in.

Simone Williams, 32, started growing out her natural locks, and now has an incredible fro which has a 1.48m circumference.

It is more than 8 in tall (20.5cm) and wide (22.5cm) - and she briefly scooped the Guinness World Record for the world's biggest female afro in 2020.

Her locks are so large that she jokes she can no longer wear a hat or a hood.

Simone from, Brooklyn, New York said: "Around 2014 and 2015, natural hair was a lot less common.

"It was a bigger statement. It wasn't even widely recognized in the media.

"I would walk down the street and people would give me thumbs up or say 'I love your hair, it's so pretty!'

"But some people just stare at my hair, they don't even understand what they're looking at.

"Some people ask me if it's heavy or if it's my real hair, but I cant imagine having all this fake hair!"

"I used to love wearing hats in the winter and that's not a thing anymore; they just slowly rise off of my head.

"My hair doesn't even fit in a hood - it would have to have a drawstring to tie it down.

"But it makes a nice shield from the wind!"

When she was young, Simone straightened her hair and didn't choose to embrace its natural beauty until the age of 23 to save money.

She wanted to use the $50-100 she spent getting her hair straightened at salons each month on rent and bills for her first apartment, and said transitioning was difficult.

Simone said: "I started seeing a little bit of my new hair texture and I just thought I would experiment and see.

"Coming from just the straight texture, my hair was pretty easy to wash, blow-dry and then straighten.

"But in the transition phase it would be half natural and the ends would be straight, it was tangled all the time.

"Then I cut the straight parts off which was easier but so different because it had a mind of its own.

"It was hard to adjust and it was a struggle, there was a lot of self-doubt as I was worried about how people would perceive it. "

Simone very rarely went to salons - and it had been two years since her last trim when she went to get her afro officially measured, on February 15, 2020, at H2 Salon in Brooklyn.

She said: "People were intrigued by it - I had to sit down and put my head in my lap and then get it blow dried so it probably looked a little different.

"There was also a cameraman and two people with a tape measure!"

After she submitted all the evidence Guinness required, Simone didn't hear anything for a couple of months, until she saw an email with the subject line "Congrats!"

She said: "I initially thought she was going to be like 'hey, you did this wrong' but then I read the subject and I was like oh my gosh!

"I was working from home at the time so I just dropped to the floor, after the years of back and forth I did it!

"Until that moment I didn't think I would get it - I cried just a little bit. I was in such disbelief.

"I took ten minutes to really process everything and then I had a meeting on Zoom, and in the meeting I was just like smiling!"

Simone said she has no intention of changing her hair.

She said: "If I'd known there would be as much publicity as there is today that would've deterred me. I don't think I would've ever submitted those measurements.

"But there was something in that period of recording the measurements, I could see my confidence had grown because of my hair.

"One thing that makes me feel good is, because of the publicity, a lot of other women are embracing their hair.

"For women who are on their natural journey or are in places that don't embrace the natural 'fro as much, I just want them to know their hair is beautiful and trust the process and your natural hair journey."

Before Simone took the record, it belonged to Aevin Dugas, 45, from Gonzales, Louisiana, who held it for eight years.

She won back the title by just a few centimeters on February 4, 2021.

Her 'do stands at 24cm (9.45in) tall, 25cm (9.84in) wide, and 157cm (5.15ft) in circumferance.

Simone - a long time admirer of Aevin's hair - is happy to see her win back the title.

"It was kind of like reliving the moment I first saw her record years ago," she said.

"Only this time I was the person whose record she had to beat. Life is so funny sometimes.

"I'm happy for her. I'm happy I was able to join the ranks - it's an amazing milestone for me."

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