Jyoti Kisanji Amge: Shortest woman living (mobile)

The Guinness World Records family embraces a multitude of extraordinary individuals, from highly trained athletes to people who have turned their private passion into a record-breaking achievement.

Certain records are iconic, of course – such as those for the tallest and shortest people in the world.

Speaking of which: step forward one of GWR’s most distinctive and best-loved record holders – Jyoti Amge.

Born on 16 December 1993 in Nagpur, central India, Jyoti was of average stature until she reached the age of five, according to her mother, Ranjana. However, at that point it became evident that her growth was being hampered by some kind of disorder. It subsequently emerged that she has a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, and will never grow beyond a certain height. 

From the age of four, Jyoti attended school alongside regular-sized children, although she was provided with a desk and chair more appropriate for her diminutive size. She first came to the attention of the wider world back in 2009, when she appeared on Fuji TV’s Bikkuri Chojin 100 Special No.2. Measured by doctors on the show, she was found to be just 61.95 cm (2 ft) tall, confirming her as the Shortest living teenager (female). Remarkably, at just 5.4 kg (12 lb), she weighed only 4 kg (9 lb) more than her birth weight.

Jyoti was just 15 at the time, but even then her bubbly personality was clear for all to see. Like lots of teenage girls, she loved her fashion and make-up. And she harboured ambitions to become an actress. Indeed, her new-found celebrity was already helping to pave her way. Later in 2009, she appeared in a video for a song by Bhangra star Mika Singh, and was featured in the Channel 4 documentary Bodyshock, in an episode entitled ‘Two Foot Tall Teen’. 

Jyoti portait

Of course, as gentle giants Robert Wadlow and Sultan Kösen also discovered, having a remarkable size can have plenty of drawbacks. Jyoti’s clothes, jewellery and even her plates and cutlery have to be specially made. But she is determined to make her unique stature work for her. And recognition from GWR has played a modest part in allaying any self-doubts that she has experienced along the way: “Getting this record has made me feel better about myself,” Jyoti has acknowledged. “I feel popular, special and important.” 

A star is born

In fact, Jyoti’s success story was only just beginning. On 16 December 2011, she turned 18 – at which point she took the title of Shortest living woman (mobile). She was measured by orthopaedic consultant Dr Manoj Pahukar at the Wockhardt Superspeciality Hospital in her home city of Nagpur, and GWR adjudicator Rob Molloy was on hand to oversee proceedings. 

As with all record holders of extraordinary size, Jyoti’s height was taken at different times of the day, and an average reading then calculated; this is because spine compression causes the body’s height to fluctuate over the course of 24 hours. She was found to be 62.8 cm (2 ft 0.7 in) tall, making her slightly shorter than the previous record holder, 69-cm-tall (2-ft 3-in) Bridgette Jordan from the USA. 

In the first flush of fame, Jyoti had talked about wanting to visit other countries. “I would love to travel to London and to see the different world there,” she revealed. America was on her wish list too. She also confirmed, “I would love to act in films.” 

Happily, all of those aspirations have since been realised. Now a well-established member of the global GWR family, Jyoti has travelled abroad and been photographed on a number of occasions with other record holders – including (in 2012) Chandra Bahadur Dangi, the Shortest man ever. Indeed, she towered over the 54.6-cm-tall (1-ft 9.5-in) Chandra. The two were brought together to help celebrate the launch of Guinness World Records 2013, the 57th edition of our annual best-seller. The historic event marked the first time in history that the world’s shortest man and woman had met.

1. Chandra Bahadur Dangi (NPL, 1939-2015): shortest man ever and shortest person ever; 2. “Princess” Pauline Musters (NLD, 1876-95)): shortest woman ever; 3. Jyoti Amge (IND): shortest woman; 4. Edward Niño Hernández (COL): shortest man

In 2013, Jyoti flew to New York City, where GWR’s Mike Janela had the honour of being her tour guide. “She may be the shortest living woman,” Mike stated, “but Jyoti Amge is one of the biggest personalities we have in the Guinness World Records universe.” True enough: although shorter than one of New York’s fire hydrants, Joyti drew the crowds wherever she went. “Now everything is in my reach,” she told the city’s Daily News. “I put myself into challenges and I just go for it.”

“I got excited, because when people see me and recognise me, they all want to take a photograph with me.”

In the meantime, Jyoti has already taken steps to fulfil her ambitions to become a movie star. Aside from appearing as herself as a guest on TV shows, in 2012 she was a guest on Bigg Boss – India’s take on hit reality show Big Brother. And in 2014, she signed up for the part of Ma Petite in the fourth season of the hit US TV series American Horror Story. “People like me might be small in stature, but they can also act,” Jyoti told ABC News that year. “Regular people should not underestimate people who are small.”

One thing’s for certain: with her can-do attitude, sunny optimism and quiet determination, no one should doubt the scale of Jyoti Amge’s ambitions – or her ability to achieve them.

Jyoti Amge and shortest man living Khagendra Thapa Magar