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Mother-of-four Larue Drummond was 13 when she spotted a woman in the supermarket with long nails.

She said: ‘I plucked up the courage to speak to her and she told me if you look after your nails, they will look after you. From then on I let me nails grow and became obsessed with pampering them.’

And since then, Ms Drummond’s obsession shows no signs of waning, so much so that she’s spent £10,000 maintaining what she calls her ‘babies’, while she calls her longest nail ‘Miss Attitude’.

Unsurprisingly, Ms Drummond attracts attention wherever she goes from other people who are keen to nail the look. Others are simply curious about how Ms Drummond manages everyday tasks with her 14-inch talons.

She said: ‘People stop me wherever I go and ask about my nails. I’m always happy to talk about them.

‘The most frequently asked question is how do I go to the bathroom. I tell them, “the same way as you do. If you know of another way, let me know.”’

But not everyone is comfortable with her unique look.

Ms Drummond said: ‘I’ve seen people snigger at my nails. Once a woman wouldn’t even sit next to me as if I had a disease or something. It really hurt my feelings. But it’s who I am so I am not ashamed. If I broke a nail that couldn’t be fixed I’d feel bereaved. My nails are my babies.’ Ms Drummond, who has eight grandchildren, insists that her long talons don’t impact on her part-time job as a child-minder. She said: ‘The children aren’t scared by my nails – they’re fascinated. I know their parents because they’re all family friends but I’m always extra careful not to scratch them.’

Determined not to let anything set her back, Ms Drummond, from New Jersey, US, is keen to grow her nails even longer.

She said: ‘I just have to learn new ways to do things. For example when I’m using my phone I push the buttons with my knuckles. ‘But there is not a lot I can’t do myself. My daughters sometimes help me with tying my shoelaces or fastening jewellery. ‘There has been the odd breakage over the years, so they’re not all the same length, but that gives them more character.’ ‘I named the longest one on my index finger Miss Attitude because she’s the only one that twists.

‘In the future I would like to get to 21 inches and then see if I can go longer.’

Up until eight years ago Ms Drummond, kept her nails at a ‘sensible’ three inches, but then decided to grow them as long as possible. She said: ‘I’d always wanted really long nails and felt that the time was right.’Ms Drummond has her routine nailed now, spending up to 12 hours at the nail salon getting her extreme talons coated in rhinestones and varnish costing £100 each time.

She visits long nail specialist Maria Ortiz who creates colourful and eye-catching designs for women with long nails.

And her children,

Terrance, 40, Kahlilah, 34, Tashana, 32, and Venitta, 28, fully support their mum in her unique style.

Venitta said: ‘I tried to grow my nails out once but once I realised the time you have to put in I got bored.

‘I didn’t have the patience to sit in the salon for hours. My mum has such dedication.

‘Mum definitely has a nail obsession - now her babies are grown, those are her babies.’