Imagine not being able to stand up in the shower to wash your hair because the sheer weight of it when wet drags you to the floor. For one woman in the United States, this is part of her everyday life.
Tere Lynn Svetlecich Russell is an Illinois woman with a difference. It’s the 46-year-old’s unusual physical appearance that sets her apart from everyone else. And it’s what first caught her husband’s eye.
The fuss is all about her hair. And you only need to take one look at it to see why. Her stunning locks which cascade down her back measured an incredible 74 inches long in 2014.
Ever since she was a young child she had longer hair than her peers. But she never stopped growing it out. These days, she is something of an internet sensation and goes by the nickname “Rapunzel.”
“When I first saw Tere Lynn, her hair was so eye-catching. It was really appealing to me,” said Lynn’s husband, Chip, in an interview with the Huffington Post in 2014. So with this in mind, she never considered shortening it.
But living with a woman with hair so magnificent is not without its drawbacks, according to Chip. “We go through towels like you wouldn’t believe. Quite often I go for a shower and all I get is a soggy towel!” he told the Huffington Post.
The couple have five children – two boys and three girls. And as you might expect, the girls followed in their mom’s footsteps.
Daughters Callan, Cendalyn, Chesney were all sporting similarly impressive hairstyles in 2014. In fact the three girls and their mom boasted an incredible 13 feet of hair between them.
In 2014, eldest sister Callan’s hair was 36.75 inches, Cendalyn was just behind with 36 inches of hair, and while youngest sister Chesney had some catching up to do with her mane, at 26.25 inches it was still striking. We dread to think what the shampoo and conditioner bill amounts to.
Indeed, mom Tere Lynn revealed that each time one of them washes their hair, they use as much as a quarter of a bottle of conditioner. And there’s so much hair that they can’t even wash it on their own.
“The daughters shampoo their hair in the shower and I will stand there with a handheld sprayer,” Tere Lynn told AWM. And that’s not the only part of their lives their long hair affects.
Indeed, Tere Lynn has to be extra careful when going about her everyday life because of her amazing hair. Hidden dangers lurk everywhere. For example, when cleaning the house, she needs to be wary of the vacuum cleaner sucking up her hair.
Furthermore, her mane is prone to being trodden on or getting caught in car doors. Tere Lynn even has to wash her hair while leaning over the bath – if she tries to wash it while she’s in the shower, she is unable to stand up because of the weight of it.
However, as of 2014, none of that had yet persuaded Tere Lynn to chop it all off. She persevering despite the impracticality of it, as were her daughters. And there are fringe benefits to the Russells’ extraordinary hairstyles.
For example, the girls would enter local ponytail competitions to showcase their stunning manes. They would enter every year, and you only need to see their extensive rosette collection to appreciate how often they come home with the top prize.
So, will the girls keep on growing their hair forever? In a 2013 interview with Barcroft TV, Tere Lynn revealed that she was happy to let her daughters make their own choices regarding their luscious locks one day. But not then.
“I want them to be mature enough to make that decision for themselves,” she said. Perhaps as teenagers they’ll get fed up of all the grooming their long hair requires, but as of 2014 at least, it seemed that the locks were staying.
Mom, meanwhile, was content with her own 74-inch hair, mainly because husband Chip loves the look. “I keep it because of Chip. I know he loves it,” she told the Huffington Post.
Whether the Russell women keep their long hair or not, they’ve certainly made a strong impression on the internet. Their story has been spread around the world, with the media dubbing them “The Rapunzel Family.”
Indeed, a short Barcroft TV piece about “The Rapunzel Family” has been viewed more than 41 million times since it was uploaded to YouTube in March 2013. Like their hairstyles, it seems that interest in the Russells is just going to keep on growing.