Sydney Smith is a 35-year-old Los Angeles lady who has garnered a lot of attention on social media over the years due to her unique appearance.
Smith’s friends and classmates had nicknamed her ‘giraffe’ since she was a child due of her long neck. The truth is, she didn’t find it offensive at all. She, on the other hand, had always admired her neck and believed it distinguished her.
Smiths felt compelled to live up to her moniker as time went on, so she did something that put her in the spotlight. Smith wore rings around her neck in the same way that women from the Kayan tribe in Southeast Asia do to give the impression that their necks are larger than they actually are.
Her parents thought what their daughter did was foolish and that it would be a passing fad, but Smith was adamant about extending her neck even more and wearing her rings everywhere.
The problem is that with those rings, the neck itself cannot be stretched. They do this by pressing down on the collar bone and compressing the rib cage, making the neck appear longer.
The Kayan women begin wearing the brass coils when they are five years old, believing that they enhance their beauty and serve as a symbol of their cultural identity.
Smith said on social media, “I was the first western woman (that I know of) attempting to stretch my neck.”
She stated that three years after she started wearing her self-made copper rings, her neck lengthened by 10 to 11 inches. She even took them off for a brief while, but she didn’t feel quite right without them.
“I’d missed the relief from the pressure on the tops of my neck and shoulders and had been considering doing it again for a while,” Smith explained. “All I wanted was the comfort and exhilaration of this experience.”
Seeing Lady Gaga perform at a concert was another reason she returned to the rings. Smith was motivated by the singer’s “freak empowerment message” to be even more unique, so she got her rings redone by a friend before putting them back on.
Smith’s images and tale were occasionally published online throughout the years, and everyone was curious to see how much her neck had expanded with time. People stared at her, and she struggled to obtain a suitable work, but none of this bothered her until she began to feel stuck.
“In the United States, I couldn’t function as a long-necked woman with fifteen rings.” You could only do it if you were willing to utterly isolate yourself and never leave your house. In 2017, she told the Daily Mail, “I spent five years of my life wearing rings around my neck, and I became quite reclusive and alone.”
“Maybe you can pull it off if you’re a trust fund baby who never needs to leave the house, never needs to drive,” she added.
Smith no longer wears the rings in her life. However, years of wearing them had a negative impact on her health, as her neck muscles had become quite frail. It took her some time to return to normal.
“People have this misunderstanding that when you remove the rings, your neck would appear very long,” she told the Daily Mail.
“Some of you are upset to see me without the rings these days, but I believe I am progressing beyond them.” Accept me now or don’t accept me at all. With or without my rings, I’ve never been entirely accepted by the world. It’s the same in any case. What matters most is self-love.”
“It’s been a few years since I removed my neck rings and the stories keep spreading,” she posted on Instagram in December 2021, in response to many of her followers’ eagerness to learn more about her decision to remove her rings. Since I removed my rings, it’s been difficult to find something equally exciting. People expected me to continue as Giraffe Woman, so I felt bound and defined by my neck rings at the end. Maintaining such a lifestyle in Western society is quite tough. Unlike the longneck ladies of Cambodia’s rural villages, where they live a more basic lifestyle that is suited to their rings, With that said, I couldn’t possibly continue with the rings in Western society, with all of its demands.”