In a city where figures are slim and liposuction is routine, one Los Angeles woman is taking pride in her uniquely large backside.
Mikel Ruffinelli’s hips and bottom measure a staggering 8ft around, earning her the record for having the largest hips and in the world.
Yet despite being 5′ 4″ and weighing 420lbs, Mikel, 39, who features in TLC’s documentary World’s Biggest Hips, insists that she is completely healthy, and says she sees no reason to slim down or shape up
‘I love my shape and I see no reason to diet because I don’t have health problems,’ she says in a clip from the show. ‘I love my curves, I love my hips, I love my attributes.’
Though she won’t adjust her eating habits, Mikel adds that she does, in fact, exercise, and maintains a 40″ waist – which is proportionally smaller than her 99″ hips.
One of her children, however, tells a different story of her mom’s health. Her daughter Destynee says that Mikel’s life isn’t easy because of her oversized figure.
‘I don’t mind following her footsteps, but I don’t really want to because I see how her struggle is,’ says Destynee. ‘If she stands up for a certain amount of time, she starts to hurt. And it kind of hurts me to see her struggle.’
Mikel also admits that she experiences obstacles in everyday life. She finds it challenging to use the shower, which she has to gingerly step into over the side of the tub while turning her body to fit through the glass door’s opening. She can only close the door if she is turned the right way.
She regularly faces negative attention as well, noting that she often sees others whisper, point, and laugh when they see her. People even take photos and record video of her on their phones.
But, she insists, not all of the reactions are critical. Rather, men she encounters seem to prefer her record-breaking size.
‘Men don’t fancy skinny girls, they like an hourglass figure,’ she says. ‘I think it’s very feminine to have curves. It makes us womanly, it makes us beautiful. I rather be this size and happy, with me loving me, than to be skinny, that size, and be unhappy.’
Her husband, Reggie, agrees. He adds with a wink: ‘I tell people all the time: I have a license to work with heavy equipment.
The Los Angeles woman finds difficulty getting into her family’s shower, and can only close the door if she stands at the right angle
Mikel appears in World’s Biggest Hips – which is airing now on TLC – alongside three other women who boast supersized rear ends.
Among them is Las Vegas native Denise Souder, a 56-year-old grandmother with 74″ hips who works as a stripper named ‘Sweet Cheeks’.
‘Only in Vegas could you have a stripper like me,’ she says, explaining that she specializes in fetishes like ‘squashing’ and ‘trampling’. ‘They come here on their bachelor party, take the blindfold off and I’m standing there with Twinkies in my hand. It’s funny!’
She continues: ‘Growing up, I was the chubby girl. I was always the chubbiest girl in the class but I never let it stop me from doing whatever I wanted to do.’
She continues: ‘There are challenges – I can’t get on a rollercoaster. You learn to get around your hips, you learn to embrace your hips, you learn to shop for your hips.’
Like Mikel, Denise is happy with her large behind, and feels no motivation to lose weight for the sake of others.
‘If someone wants to make a comment about my hips or my size, I don’t care what your opinion is,’ she says.