Smallest Waist
Michele Koebke, 24, is attempting to break the record for the world's smallest waist. She's currently at 16 inches, but she's aiming for 15. Barcroft TV screenshot

Being thin is an aspiration for many young women, but 24-year-old Michele Koebke has taken that goal to an extreme. The Berlin native is currently preparing to beat the record for the world’s smallest waist by using corsets daily, her current waist measuring a surprisingly small 16 inches.

With one inch to go before she ties for the world record for “World’s Smallest Waist,” Koebke said she is determined to continue the three-year hobby in hopes of shrinking her current 16-inch measurement to 15 inches, a goal that doctors say could be harmful.

“In time it won’t be possible to move without the corset, or in the worst case it won’t be possible to move in general,” Dr. Rudiger Langer, a specialist in internal medicine who is treating the enthusiast, told Barcroft TV. While Koebke admits her corset use has severely stunted her ability to move naturally, comparing changing clothes to “a high-performance sport,” she said she is pleased with her unusual waist size.

“It embraces me and gives me the pretty, deformed waist. It feels nice and smooth. It’s unique,” said Koebke, who claims her lack of ability to move pleases her because it makes her appear “more feminine.”

Koebke has been posting updates for nine months on her ever-shrinking waist (which first started at 25 inches) on her YouTube channel, Kanal von HakamaFreak. The Internet celebrity, who posts videos in her native language of German, said she receives majorly positive comments from viewers.

“I’m happy about every single comment, they’re mostly positive, so I’m very proud of it… Of course, there are negative reactions and questions like: Are you still able to breath and eat? But that’s normal and mainly the reactions are positive,” she said.

Koebke, who admitted her corset use has resulted in shortness of breath, said she isn't concerned: “I am not afraid of the result; I don’t feel any pain. I guess it would be painful if there were problems,” she said.

Barcroft TV, which secured the interview with Koebke for the television special “Small Waist: I Want The World’s Smallest Waist,” interviewed passersby on the street, with one unidentified man referring to her look as “not beautiful” and claiming her waist was “too small.” Another male said he appreciated her unique look: “Awesome! I’m an old guy, but I have never seen something like this in my life. I like it!”

The current record holder for the world’s smallest waist is Manteo, Calif., resident Cathie Jung, measuring in at 15 inches. Jung, who refers to her waist as the same size as a “jar of mayonnaise,” was awarded the record-breaking title in 2011.