PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WFFF) — A SUNY Plattsburgh grad is now a Guinness World Record holder. Simone Williams is recognized for having a larger Afro than any other person in the world.
“My hair was 4 feet, 10 inches in circumference,” she said. “That’s the measurement taken at eye level all the way around when it’s nice and fluffed out.”
Williams’s afro is nine years in the making. She says her hair has always drawn a lot of stares. “I would receive a lot of attention around my hair and one day I decided to google ‘largest afro,'” she said.
Inspired by the previous record holder, Simone became more passionate about growing out her locks. She actually began her natural hair journey shortly after graduating from SUNY Plattsburgh. After years of perms and straightening, Simone says cutting the trips to the salon was initially a way to save some money post-grad.
“Right after Plattsburgh, I moved in with my father and I hated it after 4 years of freedom, so I thought how can I save some money for my first apartment,” she said. “One of the major costs I had at the time was going to the hair salon.”
She began applying to Guinness World Records for the title in 2018 and says a lot went into the application process, including having a licensed beautician take measurements, a witness, and picture proof. Now, working as a fashion designer, Simone says its an honor for her hair to celebrated. She notes that hasn’t always been the case for black people rocking their natural hair in the workplace.
“In the beginning, my concerns were ‘is it neat, is it too big, I know it has volume but is it too big?’ Simone said. “You would get some comments, but all of the negativity around you is not your business, as long as you love your hair and you think its beautiful that’s all that matters.”