Asha Mandela has spent the last 20+ years growing her hair into the recently crowned Longest Dreadlocks by The Guinness Book Of Records.
The 46 year old women from Davenport, Florida started growing her current dreadlocked hair in 1988, four years after moving to the United States from Tinidad/Tobago while she was living in Brooklyn, New York.
(Image of Asha Mandela from UTube and Guinness Book of Records Attempt)
At one point while in New York she cut all of her naturally curly hair very short and decided to go “natural” meaning the abstinence from all hair related chemicals.
As her hair grew in she started twisting it and eventually it formed tangles and then dreads. She loved the look as it evolved and allowed it to grow into a full set of dreads which has been growing nonstop for the past 21 years.
There are many methods for creating dreadlocks and one is to let hair become Naturally Tangled although some dread lockers refer to that method as The Neglect Method where the hair is just neglected allowing it to eventually evolve from tangles to dreads.
Asha explains she just decided to let her hair be and no longer comb it although her mother was not pleased when she made the decision. Asha’s mother called her dreadlocks “the mop” and was unhappy because she told Asha she took good care of her naturally curly hair for so many years only to see it evolve into the dreadlocks.
As she pointed out in several interviews, including her tape on UTube, her hair is always shampooed and conditioned like everyone else. The only difference in her hair and the next person is that her hair is never combed.
Of course Asha has to use one entire bottle of shampoo and one entire bottle of conditioner every time she cleanses her hair, which is now once a week. Another challenge to the Guinness Book winner is how long it can take her hair to dry after she washes it.
How Long Do Asha’s Dreadlocks Measure?
Asha’s longest locks measured 8 feet and 9 inches which won her the first Guinness Book node for Longest Dreadlocks. Of course this doens’t win her the longest hair category which has been won previously by others.
The tresses of Xie Qiuping, a Chinese woman set the record in 2004 for the world’s longest hair: 18 feet, 5.54 inches. Asha’s dreadlocks are, however, quite a bit longer than the world-record holder for longest leg hair or nose hair. Eeewwww. Too much information there. Don’t even want to think about the nose hair holders.
How did Asha grow these magnificent dreadlocks she sometimes refers to as “her baby”? She credits her ability to grow her hair so long and relatively fast is due to her hair’s “mixed texture” which is due to her origins in a “mixed family”. Her hair is naturally curly which also helped the dreading or tangling process to progress so nicely.
How Does Asha Wear Her Hair?
Does Asha wear her hair long and flowing up on her head? She has admitted that as much as she loves her hair it can be challenging because of how heavy it is. Although she sometimes wears it coiled up like a hat on her head, she has confessed to getting headaches from the weight of all that hair. She also reports it can be quite hot in the summer months.
Although my own long hair has never been dreadlocked I can relate to the challenges of hot hair in the summer at which point I wear my own super long hair pinned up. And yes, sometimes it does give me a headache. And my hair is not nearly as heavy as Asha’s dreadlocks.
What’s Next For The Woman With The World’s Longest Dreadlocks?
Now that Asha Mandera has been named the World’s Longest Dreadlock holder she will probably do everything in her power to keep her dreads. As she pointed out in her UTube video, even with the various challenges, she hopes to keep her hair at least for the next 20 years.
Although Asha started a blog during her run for the Guinness Book, she has not continued to update it. I wish she would so we can see how she is continuing to work with her hair as time continues.
Of course once records are recorded, new contenders pop up all the time. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before someone challenges Asha Mandera’s record.
If Asha allows her hair to continue growing she may be able to hold onto the record for awhile. I certainly hope so. She certainly deserves the record. Growing and caring for that much hair involves a lot of work, time and committment. Asha mentioned in her UTube video that as dreads grow they get broken and some wear away to nothing. In fact, she accidentally stepped on one of her locks and it broke off, shaving eleven inches off her final length.
What do you think about this topic? I would love to have your feedback.