A real-life Rapunzel girl who cut her hair for the first time has given her family the fairytale home they always dreamed of. Natasha Moraes de Andrade, 12, wept as her 1.6m mane was sheared for the first time ever. But now she says it has given her a new life.
Natasha, who lives in a shanty town in Rio de Janeiro, was previously unable to do things enjoyed by other children such as going to the beach.
It took four hours every week to wash her hair and an hour and a half to brush every day, and made her life a misery.
Now she has had it all hacked off into a simple bob of just 40cm long, and washing her hair only takes five minutes. And while Natasha previously slept in a tiny, windowless room, she got B$9,000 (about £3,000) from selling the hair for extensions which she has put towards a new home for her family. ‘I cried at first when I was at the hairdressers to get it cut,’ she says.
‘I was afraid I wouldn’t like it, and I was also scared I might not get the money I wanted for it.
‘Getting it cut has given me a new life. I used to be afraid every time I went out that someone would grab my hair or try to cut it off, but now I can do a lot of things which I couldn’t do before.
‘Now I’m having cycling lessons, and I’ve got my freedom back. I much prefer it. I want to learn English and Spanish, and I’ve been able to go to the beach and swim without being afraid of getting my hair wet.’
It was an emotional moment for the rest of Natasha’s family too.
Her mother Catarina said: ‘I never put her under pressure to get it cut, but she was like a prisoner and wanted to do the things other girls her age do.
‘It has given me back some freedom as I used to spend so much time looking after her hair.’
The family is now able to switch the fan on in the house, something previously impossible as Natasha’s 5ft2in hair would get caught in it.
Natasha had never cut her hair since she was a baby, and others complimented her on her mane of thick, chestnut hair.
Now it is as long as it was when she was just four years old.
The family now plans to build a new house in the same shanty town, this time with a room for Natasha with windows which will be fit for a princess.
She may have short hair now but Natasha’s old fame as Rapunzel continues at school where everyone still uses the nickname.
‘I thought it would stop when I had it cut, but people still stop me in the street. If I had a daughter of my own, she would also be a princess, but she would be Snow White, not Rapunzel. That would be much more practical,’ she said
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