Sydney Smith is a 35-year-old woman from Los Angeles who has attracted a lot of attention on the social media over the years because of her distinctive looks.
Ever since she was a young girl, Smith’s friends and classmates called her ‘giraffe’ because of her long neck. The thing is that she never found that offensive. On the contrary, she has always loved her neck and believed it made her special.
As time passed by, Smiths somehow felt the urge to live by that name, so she did something that put her under the spotlight. Just as the women from the Kayan tribe from Southeast Asia who wear neck rings for the sake of giving an impression that it is bigger than it actually is, Smith herself placed rings around her neck.
Her parents described what their daughter did as ridiculous and believed it would be just a short-lived obsession, but Smith was determined to extend her neck further and wore her rings everywhere.
The thing is that the neck itself can’t really be stretched with those rings. What they do is press down on the collar bone and compresses the rib cage, which makes the neck only look longer.
The Kayan women start wearing the brass coils at the age of five because they believe they make them more beautiful and represent a symbol of their cultural identity.
“I was the first western woman (that I know of) attempting to elongate my neck,” Smith wrote on the social media.
Some three years after she started wearing her copper rings that she made herself, she claimed that her neck got longer for 10 to 11 inches. She even took them off shortly, but didn’t feel comfortable without them.
“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 a while,” Smith said. “The comfort and exhilaration of this process was really all I was after.”
Another reason why she got back to the rings was seeing Lady Gaga at a concert. The singer’s “freak empowerment message” inspired Smith to be different even further so she had a friend redo her rings before she put them on again.
Over the years, Smith’s photos and her story were shared online every now and then and everyone was eager to see how much her neck stretched with time. People starred at her and she even had a hard time finding a proper job, but that didn’t bother her until she started feeling trapped.
“I could not function as a long-necked woman with fifteen rings in the US. You could only do it if you were willing to isolate yourself completely and you never have to leave home. I spent five years of my life with rings around my neck and I became very introverted and isolated,” she told the Daily Mail in 2017.
“If you’re a trust fund baby and do not ever need to leave the house, do not ever need to drive, then maybe you can pull it off,” she added.
Today, Smith lives her life without the rings. However, wearing them for years affected her health as her neck muscles became very fragile. It took some time for her to get back to normal.
“People have this misconception that they think your neck is going to look super long when you remove the rings,” she told the Daily Mail.
“Some of you are disappointed to see me without the rings nowadays, but I feel myself evolving past them. Accept me now or don’t. I’ve never fully been accepted by the world with or without my rings. Either way, it’s the same. Self love is what matters most.”
As many of her followers were eager to learn more of her decision to take her rings away, she decided to give a little more insight and wrote on Instagram in December 2021: “It’s been a few years since I removed my neck rings and the stories keep circulating. It’s been hard finding something equally as exciting since I took my rings off. In the end, I felt trapped and defined by my neck rings, as people expected me to continue as Giraffe Woman. In western society, it is very difficult to maintain that sort of lifestyle. Unlike the small villages in Cambodia where the longneck women live a more simple lifestyle that is conducive to their rings. With that being said, there was no way I could continue with the rings in Western society, with all of its demands.”
Today, Smith works as a light worker and a twin flame specialist which is related to spiritual awakening.