Portrayed: Elena

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ELENA  Kiev, Ukraine

For many years, Rapunzels Today has been publishing long hair contests, and although they are amazing, there are real-life Rapunzels out there who never participated in these contests, but would have a great chance of winning if they did. They don't just walk into our lives, so we decided to search for them and our first attempt brought us to Elena from Ukraine, who has by far the longest and most beautiful hair I've seen in ten years of photography! 

Do you remember the animated movie 'Tangled', Disney's version of the fairytale Rapunzel? It's about a girl with magic hair captured in a tower by her evil stepmother. And although Elena was able to grow her hair voluntary and in freedom and has been raised in a loving family, the resemblance between her and the fictional character Rapunzel from that movie is striking. There's certainly something magical about her natural blonde and healthy hair with an incredible length of 180cm, but at the same time she turns out to be a fashionable schoolgirl whose life is not so different from other girls of her age.

She's not only blessed with hair most girls can only dream about, but possesses sporting and musical talents as well. She proofs that living with exceptionally long hair does not come with any limitations, as for years, figure skating was one of her hobbies. She performed in various theater plays, and in 2011 she won first prize at the Mini Miss Blonde competition held annually in Kiev. She also plays the piano and singing is simply her biggest passion that gives her great pleasure. Recently she even has been graduated with honors from a music school! 

For the photo session with Elena, we chose the most beautiful and enchanting locations in Kiev, which are undoubtedly the Pechersk Lavra Monastery and Park Slavy nearby with stunning city views. See if you can find the giant Motherland Statue on one of the photos, that can been seen from every corner of the city! 

On most pictures, Elena wears a vyshyvanka, a traditional Ukrainian type of shirt with embroidered colorful patterns or flowers and matching trousers. To complete the Ukrainian experience, she poses in front of kalyna berry plants, that grow in parks and in the wild across Ukraine and produces, so I've been told, delicious jams and juices. At the lower entrance of the monastery, Elena walks up the stairs in a beautiful floor length dress as if she climbs Rapunzel's tower. It felt most appropriate to take some ancient looking black and white pictures that seem to come right out of an old picture book!

Many girls and women have a desire to grow their hair to the floor or longer, but unfortunately only a few of them achieve this, because hair growth is limited to a certain terminal length. But we can learn from Elena when we ask her to reveal a little bit of her secret. It might be something we all know, but patience and determination are first requirements plus a strong love for your hair every single day. With the help of her mother she washes her hair weekly with a regular shampoo and conditioner for easy combing, so it's equally important not to see it as a burden to spend a considerable amount of time caring for your glorious manes.   

She has no intentions of breaking a national record, so to the question of how much longer she will let it grow, she answers wisely that she doesn't know what will happen. But the hair doesn't bother her and she gets great support from her family, so I'm quite sure that we'll see and hear more from Elena in the near future.



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