- A Louisiana woman’s afro has set a Guinness World Record.
- Aevin Dugas, 47, has an afro that measures 9.84 inches tall, 10.24 inches wide and 5.41 feet in circumference.
- She struggled to accept her natural hair as a child due to a lack of representation.
A Louisiana woman has set a Guinness world record for having the largest afro on a living person, and it’s not her first time doing it.
Aevin Dugas, 47, has an afro measuring 9.84 inches tall, 10.24 inches wide and 5.41 feet in circumference, setting a record in the company’s category for women.
Her most recent record was set in September, but she previously set the record in 2010 and 2021, Guinness World Records wrote on its website. In 2010, her afro measured in at 4 feet-4 inches.
Dugas has spent years growing her hair this length, she said. Some people think her hair should be longer since she has been growing it for so long, but there have been setbacks.
“I have gotten trims,” she said. “I went vegetarian one time and my hair broke a lot. It’s not so much that I have been growing my afro for 24 years. I have been natural for 24 years.”
When women go natural, they stop straightening their hair with chemicals such as relaxers, often called perms. Dugas said she made the switch because she no longer wanted to use “dangerous” chemicals to straighten her hair.
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What’s her hair regimen?
Dugas got her first relaxer when she was 13 years old, she told USA TODAY.
She has always loved her mother’s hair as well and remembers seeing a photo of her with an afro in the 1970s, she said.
She stopped getting her hair chemically straightened with relaxers in 1999. She had tried years before and one day, she woke up and thought “Why am I permanently straightening my hair?”
Dugas is a native of Napoleonville, about 50 miles south of Baton Rouge. When she first went natural, people in the area made fun of her for it, she previously told the Houma Courier, part of the Gannett network. That subsided as the natural hair movement began to take off again.
Today, Dugas gets her ends trimmed regularly and uses hot oil treatments, as well as butters she makes herself.
“I’m a pretty much once a week person because I don’t like buildup to form on my hair,” she told USA TODAY. “And honestly, the other thing I do with it is I leave it alone.”
She doesn’t manipulate or constantly detangle it, she said. She gives it time to grow.
“I love a bun, whether it’s to the top, to the back, to the side,” she told USA TODAY. “It’s one of those styles that is quick and easy.”
Some people ‘take a little tug’ when she wears her hair out
Reactions to her hair range from folks shouting in admiration to walking up to “take a little tug,” a big no no, she told Guinness.
“They just come in and pull it because I think they’re trying to figure out if it’s real or not,” she told USA TODAY. “I think they’re trying to get comfortable with it but I just have decided physically, I cannot help you with that. That’s something you’re just going to have to figure out on your own. I’m not comfortable with it anymore.”
Dugas said her hair is part of her body and it’s a matter of personal space.
“Don’t touch it,” she said.
There are a few other downsides to having such a large afro, she said: the heat and being able to see. Her peripheral vision is “skewed” when she wears her hair out and sometimes if there are branches or trees nearby, they’ll get caught in her hair, she said.
Her hair also used to get caught in the car door.
But Dugas said being recognized for her hair is nice and her family and friends like it, too.
How did she gain recognition for her hair?
Dugas first gained notoriety for her hair when her sister posted her photo on Facebook. She had gone out one night with her hair in a puff. She took her puff out and her sister snapped a photo, she said.
“From there, an old childhood friend commented ‘You should go out for the Guinness Book’s largest afro,'” she recalled.
She went online, posted her photo and Guinness reached out to her. Back then, in 2010, the largest afro title was brand new, the Houma Courier reported.
“We looked long and hard around the world for suitable potential candidates with help from various hair consultants and specialists,” Michael Whitty, a Guinness photo editor, told the Courier. “Aevin’s photos leapt out at us and she made the short list. Once we had everyone’s measurement evidence she was clearly our standout winner.”
Since then, Dugas has set quite a few records, including one in Rome.
Setting this record has been like a dream
Setting a record with Guinness has been a dream come true for her, Dugas said.
Ever since she was a little girl attending book fairs, she’d head straight to the Guinness Book of World Records and look for the longest hair title-holder or longest nails.
As a child, Dugas thought her hair wasn’t beautiful. She thought hair needed to be long and straight to be considered pretty. While her family was supportive, she didn’t see her hair texture in popular culture much, especially not in commercials.
“I didn’t see my hair represented anywhere,” she told USA TODAY. “You see other people on commercials and you see what’s considered to be pretty hair … I didn’t see that and so because I didn’t see anybody who looked like me, or look like my cousin or anything like that, it didn’t make me happy.”
Today, she knows her hair is beautiful and views her record as a celebration of textured hair and self-love.
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Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY’s NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757 – and loves all things horror, witches, Christmas, and food. Follow her on Twitter at @Saleen_Martin or email her at [email protected].