28-year-old Sydney V. Smith’s goal in life is to become a ‘giraffe woman’. For the past three years, the Los Angeles resident has been trying to extend her neck by wearing no less than 11 copper rings around it. The idea stemmed from her lifelong fascination with body modification, especially the tribal women of Thailand and Burma who encase their necks in rings at an early age.
“I’ve always had a long neck,” said Sydney. “In middle school, they called me ‘giraffe girl’. Then I saw pictures of the long-necked tribes in Thailand and Burma in National Geographic and I became fascinated with them.” That’s when she began to cut up coat hangers and wrap them around her neck at bed time. Naturally, her parents thought the idea was ridiculous. But she persisted, and she believes that her night-time ritual actually helped elongate her neck.
“After a few years, it became obvious that my neck was longer than the other girls, but not freakishly,” said Sydney. “So I stopped for a while to consider if being a long-necked woman was what I really wanted.” But soon, it became clear to her that she was quite attached to the rings. “I had missed the comfort from the pressure on the top of my neck and shoulders and had been thinking about doing it again for a while. The comfort and exhilaration of this process was really what I was after.”