What a cool place to hang out: Zlata the contortionist gets herself into... A
At the age of four Zlata discovered she had an amazing talent - and she has been
bending over backwards ever since to make the most of it.
The Russian-born former gymnast, 24, is one of the world's most extreme
At 5ft 9ins and weighing just eight and a half stone, Zlata spends most of her
day working out and training for shows around the world.
Keeping chilled: Zlata, 24, holds on to her feet inside a fridge. The
contortionist has been performing her unique act for 10 years
In one of her favourite acts she bends herself backwards at a perfect 90 degree
angle - virtually cutting herself in half so the back of her hands touch her
And she thinks nothing of casually pulling her legs up behind her and hooking
them over her shoulders to land on the floor beside her hands.
She can even squeeze herself into boxes just 50cms squared.
els over head: A former gymnast, Zlata said she gave up the sport after she
was picked on by other girls at school
Zlata said: 'Doing these poses just feels very natural to me. Sometimes it can
get a bit uncomfortable if I have to hold a pose for a long time in photo
'But I think that's like anyone who sits down for a long time - their muscles
'I don't really diet but I have to train very hard to keep my muscles in shape
and to be as flexible as possible.'
Sitting pretty: Zlata has a rare condition which means her tendons are extremely
pliable, allowing her to adopt painful-looking positions for lengthy periods of
Zlata has a rare condition that makes all her tendons extremely pliable,
allowing her to adopt seemingly back-breaking positions.
But Zlata, who now lives in Germany, wasn't always applauded for her
She first started experimenting with her talent after her pre-school teacher
asked her to create a bridge - where you stand on your hands and feet with your
back arched - and she outshone her classmates.
She admits other girls her age were jealous of her and would pick on her at
'In Russia being flexible is a very good thing to be because everyone is really
into gymnastics,' she explained.
'Some of the other girls didn't like how good I was.'
Flexible: The contortionist can bend herself at a perfect 90 degree angle
Zlata turned her back on gymnastics and joined an after school circus instead
where she learnt the art of contortionism.
She added: 'As soon as I started doing it I was addicted and I knew this is what
I wanted to do for the rest of my life.'