Body modifications can be extreme, subtle or somewhere in between. One type of body modification that you may not read about often is neck stretching. We had the opportunity to talk to “Giraffe Woman” Sydney V. Smith, a 28-year-old Los Angeles resident who has gone to great lengths to elongate her neck.
Giraffe Woman - Sydney V. Smith
Sydney V. Smith
Body Modifications - Neck Stretching
Sydney Smith - Giraffe Woman
Giraffe Woman - Neck Stretching
Giraffe Woman Sydney V. Smith
Fascinated by photos of long-necked tribeswomen, Sydney V. Smith was inspired to extend her own neck. Currently, she wears 10 tight-fitting copper rings around her neck and is hoping to add even more. Smith believes that the rings have stretched her neck to 10 to 11 inches long!
EveryJoe: You have made a splash on the internet because of your commitment to lengthen your neck. For readers who haven’t heard your story, can you tell us about how you became the “Giraffe Woman”?
Sydney V. Smith: “Giraffe Woman” was something I manifested from when I was a kid. Going through puberty in middle school, my neck was unusually long. I was even able to stretch my neck at will, earning me the nickname of “giraffe girl.” I didn’t mind because I was obsessed with giraffes and would play imaginary games pretending to be one. Around that same time I also came across a National Geographic magazine where I saw the beautiful long-necked women in tribes of Burma and Northern Thailand and I became obsessed.
I built a makeshift necklace from coat hangers and put them on at night so that my parents didn’t find out. Whenever there was room for more wire I would add it. Because I was young and growing anyway, I couldn’t tell if my neck was becoming elongated by the process or just naturally for a long time.
After a few years it became obvious that my neck was longer than the other girls but not freakishly, so I stopped for awhile to consider if being a long-necked woman was what I really wanted. In 1995, The Jim Rose Circus was touring and I went to the show. After watching I was inspired to become a long neck woman for the rest of my life. 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 awhile. The comfort and exhilaration of this process was really all I was after.
My goal wasn’t to be a freak and I was in no hurry to become a human giraffe. I took it slow and would add an extra ring when needed. I lived in Maryland and used turtleneck sweaters to hide what I was becoming. In 2011 I had a crucial decision to make. I could feel that my neck had grown to the point that my muscles were having a hard time supporting my head. Should I stop or go for it knowing that I would be enslaved to a ringed necklace for the rest of my life? I decided to go for it after a Lady Gaga concert and hearing her implore the audience to not shy away from who they are. Her freak empowerment message made a special kind of sense for me.
EJ: Are your neck rings permanent? Do you intend to wear them the rest of your life?
Sydney V. Smith: They are now permanent. I don’t see any reason to stop.
EJ: Will you be adding to the number of rings you wear or are you at your maximum length? If you’re adding more, how many/how long do you expect to go to?
Sydney V. Smith: I currently have 10 rings and plan on adding an 11th in the near future.
EJ: When you started this process, how much did you think it would affect your life? How much has it really?
Sydney V. Smith: I knew it would change everything. Once I started there was no going back. I could feel my neck stretching.
EJ: What has been an unexpected benefit of your neck rings? What has been an unexpected drawback?
Sydney V. Smith: An unexpected benefit is that I never imagined I’d be starting a fashion trend. It is a compliment to see all these women appreciate what I’m doing. I even recently saw Kim Kardashian wearing a necklace that looked like a less extreme version of my rings. An unexpected drawback is that I deal with more attention than I want to when just going about my daily activities. So it has made me more introverted than before.
EJ: We’ve heard you are interested in modeling. What type of modeling would you like to do? Are there any brands or publications you’d want to model for?
Sydney V. Smith: I would like to do magazine covers and fashion shoots. I love being photographed. Playboy has always been a big dream of mine.
EJ: Are there other types of body modification you think about?
Sydney V. Smith: Nothing could top the neck rings. I am satisfied!
EJ: What do you think about people who waist-train or heel-train or modify their appearance with surgery?
Sydney V. Smith: It’s their body. They can do whatever they want
EJ: When it comes to boyfriends (or girlfriends), what impresses you the most: Large muscles, large bank account, or large brain?
Sydney V. Smith: Large brain! Because large brain probably also means large bank account!
EJ: What is something about you we’d be surprised to learn?
Sydney V. Smith: I used to be in a rock band.
EJ: Haven’t we seen you on Paranormal Kool-Aid?! Tell us more about your experiences with the paranormal.
Sydney V. Smith: Yes, I was on Paranormal Kool-Aid a few months ago as a guest speaker. It was based on my experiences as a paranormal investigator. I have investigated some really cool places such as The Queen Mary, The Whaley House, Graber Olive House, etc.
EJ: What is the nerdiest thing you’ve ever done?
Sydney V. Smith: Went to college and graduated.
EJ: Who are some of your inspirations and role models?
Sydney V. Smith: Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
EJ: If any EveryJoe reader wanted to date you, what are three things he (or she) should know?
- I sleep with my necklace on.
- My diet is paleo.
- I love pink roses.
EJ: If people are interested in following your adventures, where can they find you on the web?
EJ: Do you prefer…
- Flats or heels? Heels
- Books or movies? Movies
- Highly fashionable or highly comfortable? Both at the same time
- Health food or junk food? Health food
- Vampires or zombies? Vampires
- Ancient astronauts or pagan goddesses? Pagan goddesses
- Hunger Games or Harry Potter? Neither — I don’t like anything too mainstream.
You may be wondering how it’s possible for the neck to stretch. Though the vertebrae themselves don’t become elongated, the space between them can increase from wearing the rings. Plus, the collarbones become angled much lower over time from the weight of the rings. These things together create the longer looking neck. So, what would happen if Sydney stopped wearing the rings? We don’t know for sure and it doesn’t look like we are going to find out. As the beautiful “Giraffe Woman” told us, she considers them a permanent part of her life.
All images courtesy of Sydney V. Smith