Meet the real-life Rapunzel who hasn't cut her two-metre long hair in 28 years
Wouldn't it be amazing if fairy-tale princesses were real? It would be pretty cool to go out and bump into Snow White, or Sleeping Beauty, or the Little Mermaid, wouldn't it? But unfortunately, even a four-year-old kid knows that fairy tales aren't real, and that the princesses of our childhood storybooks are nothing more than playful fictions. After all, how plausible is it really for a woman to feel a pea through a dozen mattresses? But as it turns out, there is one fairy tale character that actually is real: Rapunzel.
Yes, the princess with the incredibly does have a real-life counterpart. Her name is Alena Kravchenko, a woman who hails from Odessa in Ukraine. Alena hasn't cut her hair for an astonishing 28 years, and now she works as a successful businesswoman who also dresses up just like a princess for her own amusement. Alena has only ever had one haircut in her life, back when she was five years old, and it was her mother who instilled in her the philosophy that long hair was an important feminine attribute.
The most she does these days is trim the split ends, and her incredible mane of hair is so long that she often trips up over it. Throughout the week she ties it up in a plait; only letting her hair down (literally) at the weekend.
Commenting on her super-long-locks in a recent interview, Alena stated: "I love my precious long hair and love taking care of it. But I don’t wash it very often, because I think that products are not good for it and can make it thinner and can stunt its growth. I like to be natural and the natural oils in your hair are what is best for it and help to preserve its glossiness ..."
"I usually like to keep my hair tied up in a bun, but when I let it down it does attract a lot of attention and people often take photographs and call me Rapunzel, which for me is a great honour. I think it makes me stand out and makes me unique – so I’m very happy if that’s how people see me."
She added: "For as long as I can remember my mother would tell me that feminine beauty stems directly from a woman’s hair. Over the years I realised that she was right, as there really is nothing more beautiful in the world than a woman with natural, flowing hair. I read recently that hair growth is a sign of physical and mental well-being, which – if it’s true – shows that I’m doing something right!”
"I am quite a humble person, but I love the way people look at me on the rare occasions I do let it down. I remember the first time my husband saw me with it down – which was maybe on the third or fourth date – and it came as quite a shock to him. But after he had got over the surprise, he saw how unusual and beautiful it was. I’d like them to know that long hair is something beautiful and something to be proud of. Hopefully, they will see in me how much pride I take from it and how much pleasure it has given me over the years."
Alena has two daughters of her own, and while she hasn't cut their hair yet, she says that she isn't going to force her haircare views on them, and will let them visit a hairdressers if they want. Fair enough; they probably like Frozen more than Tangled anyway...