The human giraffe! Contortionist bends and flexes and uses elaborate body paint to look like African animal

26 Feb

At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking this image shows an elegant sculpture depicting a giraffe.

But look closer and you’ll see it is a woman covered with elaborate body art.

Contortionist Beth Sykes, of Featherstone, West Yorkshire, has become an online phenomenon after the ‘double take’ picture went viral – with 100,000 hits across the world in just three days.

Look closer: Beth Sykes has been liked 100,000 times for this incredible picture of her posing as a giraffe

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Look closer: Beth Sykes has been liked 100,000 times for this incredible picture of her posing as a giraffe

 

Miss Sykes, 20, started doing gymnastics aged just four and won her first major title aged 12.

The performer, who stands 5ft 5ins tall, revealed the inspiration for the giraffe pose came when her and artist friend Emma Fay attended a festival two years ago.

 The artist painted the head of the giraffe onto one of the contortionist’s feet, and hooves on the other foot and one hand.

She ‘whited out’ other bits of Beth’s body to complete the effect.

‘It was all done in an afternoon. My legs are quite long so it made sense for them to be the neck.

‘The only bit that wasn’t my body was the giraffe’s ears which we made out of a foam yoga mat.

‘It took six hours of painting, and I was in out of the giraffe shape every minute or so, but it was worth it.

‘I’m so glad it’s got recognition. It’s been liked over 100,000 times on the Facebook page of a Dutch biologist who must have seen it somehow.’

Talent: Beth Sykes started doing gymnastics aged just four and won her first major title aged 12

A giraffe in a similar pose to contortionist Beth Sykes

Talent: Beth Sykes started doing gymnastics aged just four and won her first major title aged 12

 

Other projects have seen Miss Sykes painted as a lizard, an alien character from the film ‘Avatar’, a tiger and other wild animals.

Miss Sykes is also a circus performer, acrobat, fire-eater and stilt-walker.

She recently performed at a celebrity-packed party in the Maldives featuring the Beckhams, Gordon Ramsay, Jimmy Carr and other big names.

She added: ‘My flexibility isn’t all natural, it comes from being trained and years of practice.

‘I used to train six days a week, before school and after school. I absolutely love it.’

She currently works with Britain’s Got Talent performers Area 51.

Miss Fay, 27, who painted her friend last week, said: ‘I was watching her perform at the Zoo Project Festival and said to her “I want to paint you as a giraffe” and we finally got round to it.

‘I gathered images of giraffes and of Beth so we had images to work from and we did it all in around six hours.

‘The reaction has been lovely. Obviously, body art is done a lot but the fact she is a contortionist makes it more interesting.’

Miss Sykes is also a circus performer, acrobat, fire-eater and stilt-walker

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Miss Sykes is also a circus performer, acrobat, fire-eater and stilt-walker

She said: 'It took six hours of painting, and I was in out of the giraffe shape every minute or so, but it was worth it'

She said: ‘It took six hours of painting, and I was in out of the giraffe shape every minute or so, but it was worth it’

 

 

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