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COR(SET) BLIMEY; SUNDAY EXTRAORDINARY REAL LIFE In a bid to get the smallest waist in the world, Michele Kobke endures pain and health issues...

Byline: WORDS: NATALIE KEEGAN PHOTO: BARCROFT MEDIA

You may be thinking, 'How on earth do you get a waist that tiny?' While the answer doesn't lie in diet or exercise, it's certainly not a cinch. Michele Kobke has worn a corset every day for the last three years, even while sleeping, in a bid to get the world's smallest waist.

The 25-year-old from Berlin, Germany, is a tight-lacing enthusiast, a craze which sees fans use corsets to drastically change their bodies.

So far she's achieved a tiny 16-inch waist with the corset on, (22 inches without). That's nine inches less than the 25 her waist measured when she began three years ago. But the corset fanatic's ambition doesn't stop there.

She hopes to lose another two inches, to beat the current record holder, and Michele's idol, Cathie Jung, from America.

LOVE INTERESTS While the retail assistant is single, she claims she's never short of admirers. 'I get lots of different reactions from men. Some find my shape really attractive, while others are shocked but still find me beautiful. There are a few who say it's too extreme,' she says.

Not that it's an issue to her if men don't like the look of her. 'Everyone's got their own opinions. I will continue because I feel much more attractive now and I've got a lot more confidence.' NOT SAFE The idea of corseting is nothing new, women have worn them for hundreds of years, but, these days, we know the dangers of wearing them long term. It can cause breathing difficulties and trigger an array of issues with the digestive system, as well as muscle atrophy.

Michele's addiction to wearing the device has already caused her problems. She now struggles to stand up without her corset, because the muscles in her back and stomach have wasted away too much to support her. Daily activities like eating are also difficult. She isn't able to eat a normal sized meal, instead she has 10 small meals a day.

But these problems haven't deterred Michele, who insists, 'The corsets have become an important part of my life. My life hasn't changed, just slowed down a little.' Despite Michele's enthusiasm, she's faced a backlash from her family, who aren't fans of her extreme measures. 'They say I spoil my body. But I would say that smoking and drinking alcohol are actually much worse for you.' Dr Rudiger Langer, a specialist in internal medicine, has warned that Michele now has weaker lungs than a normal 25 year old, and that, 'In time, it won't be possible to move without the corset, or in the worst case, she won't be able to move in general'.

While Michele thinks her mission to get a whittled down waist is worth it, it's not the easiest (or safest) way to get an hourglass figure. Suddenly, going to the gym and dieting doesn't seem like such a bad idea. |

different 'Without the corset Michele struggles to stand up'

CAPTION(S):

Michele with a 25-inch waist in 2008, before her obsession began

After wearing a corset everyday for three years, Michele now has a 16-inch waist

PHOTO: BARCROFT MEDIA PHOTO: BARCROFT MEDIA

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 3, 2014
Words:530
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