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The Social Ladder: Marissa Marino


We’re back with an all-new, media-centric chat with one of the world’s most respected, talented, social-savvy hairdressers. Goal: They spill the secrets of their success, online and off…and you learn from the best of the best. Instagram hair star, Marissa Marino, is our VIP today. Listen to her. Learn from her. Love her. We sure do…

In the beginning…
I started as an assistant for Ken Paves. I worked in his salon and also traveled with him for photo shoots and such. That’s when I realized all of the possibilities I could have as a hairstylist.

Here’s what NOT to do online
Bad lighting will never make hair look beautiful. It won’t capture the essence of what you are trying to achieve. Here’s another lighting mistake: filtering too much. It backfires because you won’t be able to recreate that on someone else, since it’s not a real color!

Pimp out your clients!
I started doing hair for clients with a large following and they would tag me. I would even trade services for a mention! Now that I no longer need to trade my services, it’s about paying attention to which of my pics get the most likes and comments, and incorporating them into my future posts.

Quick engagement
It’s important for your followers to feel special and acknowledged. We live in a world now that wants instant gratification…being able to connect with those who you look up to and follow. They want to know you’re a real person and your life is achievable. So I like to ask questions and have them answer in the comments; every now and then, I will even answer their comment or go one step further and DM them.

How’d you break into Hollywood?
I started assisting Ken Paves and he had me color all of his hairpieces for his celebrity clients. Eva Longoria wasn’t thrilled with her own color, but really liked the color of her extensions and eventually asked, “Can’t whomever is coloring these pieces color my hair, too?” Boom!

Hands-down favorite celeb moment. Go.
It was the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in 2014. I was styling Selena Gomez for arguably one of the biggest events of the year (and of my career). I arrived at her house and went to set up my kit, and realized I had left the bag with all of my brushes, combs bobby pins, and rubber bands back at the salon. I panicked. I dug to the bottom of my purse and found 5 bobby pins, a loose pack of clear rubber bands in my kit, and one rat-tail comb. I asked to use the bathroom and found a large metal round brush in there. That was all I had to work with. But I remembered my training as an assistant: You make it work! Use your creativity and find a solution. I did the whole look with those four things. They would have never been my go-to tools, but neither Selena nor anyone else would have ever known that. I still don’t think she knows that story to this day! (Well, maybe now she will.)

Got any celebrity “rules?”
YES! Don’t ask them personal questions… let them lead that convo. Don’t be so eager to be their friend; keep it professional. Also, remember it’s not about you, it’s about them — but that goes for all clients in general. DON’T ask for pictures. I know in our world today all anyone wants is a picture for their social media. They might oblige…but they will never trust you. I would rather have the trust than a picture.

I’m about to post a pic. Now what?
Make sure you have a clear picture with good lighting. And I like to keep captions short and sweet.

Before social media…after social media. What’s the diff?
It’s given us a reference book. Now clients can see your work before trying you out. It used to be that you’d be referred to a stylist by a friend, but that only gave you one look to judge. Now a client can see your full portfolio.

Sure, celebs are great, BUT…
The only advantage to having a celebrity client is that it gives you instant credibility and gains more trust from your other clientele. Other than that, you don’t need a celebrity for your success. Nowadays, your work and eye for beauty are displayed every day on social media for the public to see. There are numerous successful hair stylists in areas where celebrities do not run rampant, but they know how to market themselves.

What’s been your ultimate Joi-ful experience?
I think the Met Gala. For me, that event was always something I worked towards. It was so surreal and I was honored to be a part of it.

I’m having a moment
I still don’t know that I’ve “made it,” but a big moment for me was when I found out I was chosen to go on the Stars Dance World Tour with Selena. I didn’t sleep for a week and called my Mom first!

Alternate career?
I literally have nothing else that I would want to do!

The tool I’ll never shed…
A 1 ¼ curling iron because everyone looks better with a beach wave.

You’re the subject of a book. Quick: What’s the title?
Views At 4’11

What are you eating when no one’s looking?
Chocolate!

I just can’t unsee this hair moment
When I was 14, I asked for a trim and ended up with a chin-length bob. That’s probably why I’m so conservative with my haircuts now.

Who gives you serious hair envy?
I love anyone with thick blonde hair because it’s the total opposite of mine. You always want what you can’t have.

You’re the president of a fan club. Whose is it?
I love Jennifer Yepez. Her signature wave and the variety of styles she can do — and do well! — always inspires me.

And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate…
I like to keep my environment filled with positivity because at the end of the day, I am a sensitive person and other peoples’ moods and attitudes can greatly affect me. If someone is leaving me nasty, hateful comments, I delete the comments and block the person. No one needs that in their life?

What gets your artistic juices flowing?
I tend to get the most creative after a vacation where I’ve relaxed and let my brain quiet down. It leaves room for creativity to flow. I also get so excited when a client is willing to let me bring my vision to life without trying to control it.

ROTFL
More like WHO! Anthony Holguin and Florido Basallo…start following them!

Hey, any advice for us folks in small towns?
Do your own photo shoots! Pick out cute outfits or find a friend who loves to do that; then style their hair, find a makeup artist, go to a beautiful location, and just shoot. You have to be your own advocate.

Do NOT ask me to do this
Laundry!

When the Do Not Disturb sign is on…
I’m driving to the beach and spending time with friends and family

Time to post!
I only spend about five minutes a day on social media. I don’t think anyone should spend hours on self-promotion. For me, it’s Instagram — hands down. It’s visual and what we do is visual.

It’s 2028. What are you doing?
To be honest, I’m not much of a planner. The only plan I’ve ever had was to be the best I can be everyday, be proud of my work, continue to grow, and take the opportunities that are thrown my way.

Speak to a young Marissa…
Always say, Yes! That’s how you will build your career the fastest. Take the jobs that everyone else passes on.

Big mistake. Huge!
Not charging clients my true worth.

Best move I ever made
Taking a chance on a new, young, female-owned salon that ended up blowing up beyond anyone’s imagination (Nine Zero One Salon).

Hashtags. Good, bad, overused?
You have to use hashtags. It’s the way more people can find you; although I like to use them in a comment and not in my caption. But be careful of “Shadow Banning.” You need to regularly change up the order of your hashtags, otherwise they can become hidden from people.

How to be yourself on social media…
I just post what feels natural; I think it comes across as more genuine and organic, and my followers really appreciate that. Also, I post hair that I LIKE to do. If I do a bleach and tone, I’m not going to post it even if I killed it because I don’t like to do it. I want to post my favorite things so that I attract more of those clients.

Letting it all hang out — not.
The more followers I’ve gotten, the less I share about my personal life. I think that it’s good to share some parts of your life so that people can relate to you. But I also don’t want thousands of people to know where I am and what I’m doing at all times.

My all-time favorite app…
Spotify.