She Hasn’t Cut Her Fingernails In 5 Years. Now Her Career Depends On Them


For years, 35-year-old Elena Shilenkova has worked on honing her life’s mission. She has spent countless hours working on the one thing that brings her the most joy in her life – her long fingernails.


Because she has spent so much time ensuring that her nails are healthy, she sought the world record for the longest nails. While many women enjoy having long nails, few people strive to have nails as long as Elena’s.

Elena started on her journey when she decided not to trim her nails for four years. While most people would need to go for a manicure after a few weeks or even sooner, Elena, who lives in Russia, allowed her nails to grow and grow, tending to them like they were her children.


Because she honed her nails for so many years, she managed to grow them until they reached 12 centimeters, which is very long.

The reason that Elena first started growing her nails was that her friend bet her that she would not be able to grow her nails past 5 centimeters or 2 inches. Elena took the $3,000 bet and set out to cash in. She won that bet within a year.

Because she was holding the $3,000 in her hands, she realized that her nails might be the source of income she always dreamed about. She continued to grow them and has not stopped until she achieved the victory of getting her name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“People have different reactions when they see my nails, some get frightened others don’t understand what they are,” she said. “Some say ‘they are so cool’ and ask for a selfie or say that they ‘respect me for my patience.’ But a few ask me when I would finally cut them off.”

Elena with her Russian Book of Records 2018 certificate (Collect/PA Real Life)
Elena has since evolved her goals. She has become an Instagram and YouTube personality in her home country of Russia. People love to follow her and see all the crazy antics she gets up to with her extremely long nails.

Because Elena doesn’t let her long nails stop her from leading her dream life, she figures out creative ways to do the things she loves.

However, maintaining her long nails is her top priority.

Elena’s nails (Collect/PA Real Life)
“I love playing tennis, but I really can’t run the risk of tripping over and having to break my fall with my hands. I also don’t really go abroad anymore because the only thing I like doing on holiday is swimming in the sea,” she said. “I can’t swim because the risk of snapping a nail is too high so I don’t go on holiday in case I’m tempted to get in the sea.”

Elena admits that it is hard to grow long nails as they require a lot of attention and care.

“It’s a hard job growing your nails out. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment, looking after something that is so fragile. I am constantly wary of breaking them and looking after them can be a full-time job. Even when I’m sleeping, subconsciously, my mind is worrying about them – that’s why I call them my babies because I have to take care of them.”

Elena’s nails (Collect/PA Real Life)

What do you think about her long nails?