VIDEO: Hair hanging weight lift earns Wimbledon woman Joanna Sawicka place in record books
A former bio chemistry student who ran away with the circus has been entered into the Guinness book of records after lifting a woman off the ground with her hair.
Joanna Sawicka, from Clarence Road in Wimbledon, was studying bio chemistry at Westminster University when she went to watch a performance of the Circus of Horrors seven years ago.
She "fell in love" with the show and quickly signed up to perform daredevil acts along with her husband who is a sword swallower.
She said: "When I first started I was mainly doing smaller side show stuff like walking up a ladder of swords or lying on a bed of nails, but I always wanted to do something that was bigger.
"I got interested in hair hanging. Chinese men used to do it and a bit like sword swallowing it is a dying art.
"It’s quite unpleasant as it does hurt. It takes about 45 minutes and two guys to plait my hair into a rope so its woven around a metal ring which is then attached to the rig."
Miss Sawicka started by hanging from her hair for a minute at a time and gradually extending the period of suspension.
She said: "It is definitely quite difficult.
"There’s no way to prepare yourself, you just have to grin and bear it.
"The first couple of times it wasn’t too bad and the feeling is amazing because unlike any other aerial act your hands are free.
"You are the closest you can get to flying.
"The third time I was in so much pain I thought I would have to stop.
"But it’s a case of getting back on the horse."
Mrs Sawicka rehearsing for her record attempt
Mrs Sawicka has this year been entered into the Guinness World Record book for setting the record for the greatest weight lifted with the hair by hanging upside down and suspending a 53.4 kg trapeze artist from her hair.
She said: "The trapeze artist is doing their act off my hair as well so if they were to slip it would rip my hair.
"But it’s a calculated risk and we know what we are doing.
"I’m hoping that maybe I get to do two people or maybe I can hand myself and lift somebody else up so I have for the weight of two people so there’s definitely plans for thing in the future.
"I would also like to progress to do vehicles pulls with hair but the moment the record is a double decker bus so I have a way to go."
On a possible return to her scientific roots the 26-year-old hair hanger hasn't ruled it out.
She said: "I wouldn’t write it off completely.
"The Circus of Horrors is my full time job but is also a lifestyle choice.
"My sister was a bit sceptical when I said I was going to run away with the circus but it was the right thing to do.
"I think there would be more risk of instability if I had a normal job, especially in the economic climate. "Because what I do is so specialist there isn’t anyone else waiting to take my place."
The circus of horrors is performing at the New Wimbledon Theatre on January 14, 2014.
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