20/20 Friday: The Guinness World Records Phenomenon

At nearly 7 feet, 9 inches tall, it comes as no surprise that Bao Xishun draws attention everywhere he goes. A sheep herder from Inner Mongolia, Bao held the Guinness World Records title of the Tallest Man in the 2006 and 2007 books. He didn't shy away from the celebrity that came with his record; in fact, he embraced it. He started getting endorsement deals, received custom-made sneakers from sneaker companies and even called his long arms into service, rescuing a dolphin at an aquarium from choking on a rubber ball.

But Bao was in for a surprise this year, and so was 36-year-old Leonid Stadnik of Podoliantski, Ukraine, who is 8 inches taller than Bao. No one had ever heard of Stadnik before he was announced as the 2008 record holder in the tallest man category. "20/20" traveled half way around the world to see Stadnik and find out what things look like from his point of view.

While Guinness World Records is full of people who are born into their records -- like the world's tallest man or the person with the stretchiest skin -- there are two record holders who have chosen to manipulate their physical appearances to comic-book proportions. Guinness World Records are about extremes, and that's certainly the case for the women who hold the records for the smallest waist and the longest fingernails.

Cathie Jung, a 70-year-old grandmother from North Carolina has a 15-inch waist -- that's narrower than a family-size mayonnaise jar. And Lee Redmond, a 66-year-old great grandmother from Utah, has 35-inch fingernails dangling off the ends of each finger. Both women have been working on their unusual body modifications for over 20 years and have been asked the same questions for nearly as long.

The spunky Redmond is shockingly agile for a woman with an extra 27 feet of stiff protein hanging from her hands. She drives a car, uses a cell phone and the daily task of getting her mail is completed with the help of a spaghetti strainer. She says, "Where there's a will there's a way." Does she ever wake up and wish she didn't have those nails? "Every day. Every day," says Redmond.

Redmon last cut her nails in 1979, and aside from some accidental breaks they have not been trimmed since. She's been flown -- first class, so her nails could fit -- to London to help launch the Guinness Book of World Records, is featured on a New York Times Square billboard for Ripley's Believe It or Not and was asked the tough questions on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show". When asked how she goes to the bathroom, Redmond's answer drew laughs: "Very carefully," she said.

Jung grew up admiring the hourglass figures women had during the Victorian era. She noticed in the film "Gone with the Wind" that this look could be accomplished by wearing a corset. After raising her three children she started to feel a little "dumpy and frumpy" and began wearing a corset day and night, only removing it for showers. She has managed to reduce her average 26-inch waist down to 15 inches. For Jung, having such a small waist means eating many small meals a day and limiting the clothes she wears.

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