What does one get by going 33 years without a haircut? Tennessee’s Tami Manis knows – the world record for longest mullet on a female.
Manis, 58, spoke on Thursday about her path to clinching what is arguably one of the most unusual marks maintained by Guinness world records. In an interview published by the organization known for curating a database of more than 40,000 world records, she revealed how the music video for the 1985 song Voices Carry by the rock band ‘Til Tuesday inspired her to begin growing her hair particularly long in the back.
“The girl had a rat tail,” said Manis, a public health nurse from Knoxville, which is home to the University of Tennessee. “And I really wanted one of those.”
That hairstyle for which Manis felt an admiration was a spin-off of the short-in-the-front, long-in-the-back hairstyle made popular in the 1980s and 1990s by the actor Patrick Swayze, the musician Billy Ray Cyrus and the Serie A star Roberto Baggio, among other heart-throbs. Manis had a good mullet going in the fall of 1989 when she had it cut and immediately felt pangs of regret.
In February 1990 she went back to the salon: the last time she would trim the back of her hair. She said she has not cut it since, and it now measures 5ft 8in (172.7cm).
Unsurprisingly, it is a frequent topic of conversation with friends, family and passing acquaintances, many of whom do not even realize how long her mullet is until she turns around. As she recounted to Guinness, many people who meet Manis again after randomly encountering her years earlier find themselves recalling who she is simply because of her mullet.
“The weirdest thing I find is that people remember me from years ago,” Manis said.
Last year, Manis signed up to compete in the US mullet championships, which annually draws more than 1,000 applicants. Judges evaluating the “length, style, uniqueness and showmanship” of each mullet awarded Manis the competition’s $300 runner-up prize – the top $500 prize went to Alexa Lindsey of Holland, Michigan, who has since died, records show.
Guinness then created its own record category for longest competitive mullet. Manis felt she had a shot, so she applied to be considered for the female record, a process that involved making a video that documented the length of her hair.
She eventually learned by email that she had secured the title and still recalls the moment when she received the package containing her Guinness certificate officially recognizing her as the woman with the world’s longest mullet.
“When I opened it, I thought, ‘This is amazing,’” she said.
Manis said her set of good genes has helped her grow her hair as long and thick as it is.
She said she washes her mullet with products from the manufacturer Hask, including shampoo and conditioner with argan oil in it.
She also usually keeps it braided because her mullet is longer than she is tall.
On its website, Guinness notes that the mullet never really died out, even if its popularity faded beginning in the latter part of the 1990s. Iran’s government, for instance, had to ban the style for being too decadent.
After many hair salons closed during activity restrictions meant to slow the spread of the Covid pandemic, mullets have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence.
Manis said she never bothered tracking the ebbs and flows of mullets’ popularity.
“I have just kept the hairstyle,” Manis said.