Meet the 14-year-old with the Guinness Record for world's largest afro: 'I always have to sit in the back of the class'

"Don't care about what other people think of you," the 14-year-old says of his epic hair. "Just go for it."

At 14 years old, Amir Menedez, has achieved the Guinness World Record for the largest afro — both in the
Amir Menedez, 14, has earned the Guinness World Record for the largest afro — both in the "male" and "teenager" categories. (Guinness World Records 2024)

At 14 years old, Amir Menendez stands out from the crowd.

With an afro measuring 7.74 inches high and 9.77 inches wide, with an impressive 88-inch circumference, the teen has some epic hair. So epic, in fact, that Menendez has just been certified as the owner of the 2024 Guinness World Record for largest afro on not just a teenager, but of any male living on Earth.

"It's pretty cool to be unique, you know, being one out of billions of people in the world," he tells Yahoo Entertainment. "You don’t see something like my hair everyday. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter.”

Menendez says his journey to Guinness World Record holder began unexpectedly.

"With my hair, I always had a theory that I could break the record. It was never a surprise for me, more like an accomplishment," he explains. After realizing his potential, the high school freshman decided to let it grow, and his magnificent afro took shape over the past four years.

"My hair has always grown at a very fast rate, and I eventually got it," he says. The journey wasn't always easy though, especially when it came to his studies.

Although there are numerous reports about discrimination against natural hair, Menendez says his classmates and teachers were "always supportive." However, there was one caveat: "I always have to sit in the back of the class," he says "People behind me couldn't see the board.

"Some people will be hating on it because they're like, 'Oh, just cut it.' But for the most part, they all really thought it was cool and actively supported me," he continues.

With an afro 7.74 inches high, 14-year-old Menendez says the sky is the limit. (Guinness World Records)
With his afro already measuring 7.74 inches high, Menendez says the sky is the limit. (Guinness World Records)

As far as upkeep — that's a whole different matter.

"There were some awkward times growing it, like when it wouldn't be combed out and I'd have to go and have a hair appointment if it was hurting me, or something like that," Menendez explains.

He learned how to take care of it quickly, mostly through trial and error.

"If you want to keep it, I recommend, one, comb it out when it's wet because if you do it when it's dry it's gonna hurt so much," he says. "And two, I recommend keeping a lot of leave-in conditioner in there because it makes your hair look really healthy and, just, 'out there.'"

Menendez says his newfound fame has forced him to "be real" with others. That includes acknowledging the possibility that his might not be the biggest hairstyles around.

"I'm pretty sure there are other afros out there that are larger," he explains. "This is just the only one that's recorded, so I want to put that out there."

While there are reports of larger afros, Guinness has officially certified Menendez as the current record holder, confirming with Yahoo that the last person to hold the largest male afro title was 13-year-old Tyler Wright, measured in June 2015, whose hair reached 10 inches in height, 9 inches in width and 5-foot, 10-inches in circumference.

Beyond his hair, Menendez has a range of other interests: He's working hard to get a high GPA and to make the varsity football team. "I don't necessarily believe I'm going to the NFL, but I do want to play in college," he says.

Now that he's accomplished his hair goals, he is setting a new target.

"My dream job is to become a virologist, or someone in the medical field," Menendez says. "I want to create vaccines, create cures or help people with diseases so they won't need to be a problem anymore."

And whether it's cultivating a record-holding afro or attending medical school, the teenager has a refreshing outlook.

"My advice for others is to don't care what other people think of you," he says."No matter what you're hoping to accomplish in life, you will always have haters. Don't look at them. Just go for it."