Porirua-based hairdresser Jasmine Lupo becomes viral TikTok sensation

Screengrabs of Jasmine Lupo and her happy clients from TikTok
Photo credit: @jazzylupo / TikTok

From RNZ's Nights

Porirua-based Jasmine Lupo is a social media sensation, with videos of her hair transformations racking up over 35 million views on TikTok.

She specialises in colour treatments and hair transformations.

Her first piece of advice to Nights host Emile Donovan was to lose the mullet.

"That was definitely like two years ago!" 

Becoming a hairdresser has been a life-long career dream, she says.

"I have wanted to be a hairdresser pretty much my whole life. I started when I was 16, I dropped out of school when I was 16 - school wasn't for me. And then I just kind of kept doing it, and I've been doing it for 12 years."

She started posting in November when she turned freelance, she said.

"When I started my TikTok, that's when it started blowing up - I think because there's not much saturation of hairdressers on TikTok. I saw a gap there. I was like, 'Oh, I wonder what would happen?' And then it just got massive." 

One of the best parts of her job is putting her clients at ease, she said.

"I've got lots of people that come in and they are quite anxious to get their hair done. So, seeing them go from not loving what they look like, and feeling a bit anxious about being in the seat and being in the salon, to just having that joy in their face is just amazing, it's priceless."

She's gone from 400 followers to more than 30,000, she said.

"It kind of happened within one month. I think it was from about January to February was when it started to get quite big. I was pretty much just watching other hairdressers - there's lots of hairdressers over in Australia that are doing really, really well. And I just watched them and I was like, 'I'll try that'. And then I tried that - and then it worked." 

Lupo works hard to establish trust with her clients.

"I know my purpose when I'm working, and that is to make whoever is sitting in my chair feel welcome and make them feel like they can trust me with their hair."

Māori and Pasifika clients have often had poor experiences in salons, she said.

"What I have found in the last six months of working on the floor, is that there's lots of Māori and Pasifika people that have bad experiences in the salon. Quite often they have had hairdressers say, 'Wow, you have lots of hair' and then that makes them feel anxious."

And she sometimes has to be realistic about client expectations.

"I need to be really honest with every client that's in the chair, like if they want to go from blue-black to platinum in one go, I'm like, 'Sorry, we can't do that - it's a journey'."

Her move into freelancing has been a big success, she said. 

"I've been freelancing since November. And it's honestly the best thing I've ever done. And I'm like, 'Why did I not do this years ago?' Because it's given me so much freedom to pick my hours, decide what my clients get.

"It's just been absolutely amazing and I'm just like to every hairdresser that I meet, 'Bro, you need to work for yourself - it is so much better'."

 - RNZ