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Mum-of-four Mikel Ruffinelli, 39, believes she has the largest hips in the world, measuring in at a whopping 8ft in circumference.

Walking along a beach in her hometown of Los Angeles, Mikel shows off her proportions with pride.

‘I love my curves, I love my hips,’ she grins. ‘I love being unique!’

However, Mikel insists that her appearance is caused by genetics, rather than her diet. She explains that her mother also had big hips, and has her to thank for her curvaceous figure.

She says that the weight gain kicked off shortly before the birth of her son, and has continued as she had more children.

‘With every child came more hips and I’ve had four kids!’

Mikel also has to contend with a lot of attention when she goes out, and is often asked whether she’s had hip implants.

‘They’ll laugh, they’ll point, they’ll whisper,’ sighs Mikel. ‘Everywhere I go someone’s going to take out a camera phone.’

She also has several difficulties at home, as her 99in hips make fitting through doorways a struggle. Showering also presents a challenge for Mikel, as she can’t even close the shower doors unless she’s standing at a particular angle.

Her family have mixed feelings about Mikel’s size. Her daughter Destynee knows how her mum struggles in daily life, which upsets her.

On the other hand Mikel’s partner Reggie Brooks insists that he fell in love with her at first sight and adores her figure.

‘I tell people all the time that I have a licence to deal with heavy equipment,’ he winks, ‘you know what I’m saying?’