By Aliki Kraterou
A blogger has broken a record to grow Russia’s longest nails – all to win a bet.
Elena Shilenkova, 35, spent four years growing her ‘babies’ to 12cm [4.7 inches] long in order to win a bet with a friend, who said she couldn’t do it.
But the YouTuber, from Saint Petersburg, refuses to swim in the sea, play tennis or wear gloves despite Russia’s freezing temperatures – all to protect her talons, which she refers to as her ‘babies’.
Elena said: “My nails are now the longest I have had, I have been growing them for four years and three months.
“It started over a bet with my friend, and now everyone is just used to my ‘long nail’ status.
“I call them ‘my babies’, as they are four years old and I take care of them as I would do with babies.”
Elena claims she does not face any difficulties in her everyday life but she had to make some sacrifices in order to maintain her nail length – such as not being able to travel to the sea and being unable to swim, even though she loves it.
She has had long nails since her teenage years but is now racked with the constant fear one might break – and often has nightmares she will wake up with short talons.
Elena said: “I don’t have any problems with the things I do daily, I just do some things in a different way than most people.
“For example, I would say that my way of typing is a little bit different.
“I just need to constantly control all my movements.
“I have to think beforehand about all my actions and movements and try to avoid sharp movements and ‘behave’ softly – sharp movements are my enemy.
“I am most worried about breaking the nails in my sleep and I often have nightmares that I wake up with short nails.
“The dreams are quite real so I wake up in panic and check closely my nails to make sure they are alright.
“I am afraid to break them as I would have to waste my time on fixing them – they do break sometimes but I always fix them.
“Total control helps – I also take vitamin pills for nails and hair every six months.
“I would love to swim or play tennis.
“Also, I miss gloves –it can be quite cold in Russia and I have to put my hands in MY pockets.”
Elena said when it comes to people’s reactions on the street, she says that there are as many positive as negative comments – especially from older people.
But she admitted her unusual talons do not leave her short of male attention.
“When I was a child and went to school, I already had nails longer than most adult women – but my teachers were quite tolerant about it.
“They even did not let me wash the windows as they were afraid that I could break my nails.
“People have different reactions when they see my nails, some get frightened others don’t understand what they are.
“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.
“I do like having these long nails because I always get a lot of attention.
“If a person meets me once he/she would never forget me.
“My nails are like personal calling card.
“People see thousands of faces and are always erased from the memory – but someone with nails like mine would never been forgotten.
“It’s impossible not to notice me.
“I am quite a social person, especially with men.
“Quite often men just don’t notice my nails, but when they do, they get surprised and start asking all those typical questions.
“I am never short of male attention.”