If there’s a type of person who you’d expect to break the Guinness World Record for longest tightrope walk in high heels, it’s Ariana Wunderle ’26. The exploratory program student quite literally grew up in a circus family. Her parents worked at Circus Smirkus, a nonprofit arts organization, based in Greensboro, Vermont, and she’s been touring with the circus since she first appeared in a ring when she was just two years old.
Since that time, she’s gone from being a clown, to a flyer at the top of the pyramids, to a talented acrobat and aerialist, before eventually specializing in tightwire.
So, in some ways, her record-breaking 639-foot, seven-inch walk, which she accomplished while wearing four-inch heels on a tightrope seven feet off the ground in the gym at Bellows Falls Union High School, wasn’t too big of a shock. But considering the previous record of 50 feet, set by Oxana Seroshtan of Russia, she even surprised herself with the distance she walked.