Larisa Love, despite what you may think from the pictures on her wildly popular Instagram account, is a little slip of a thing. Pale, thin and barely up to my chin when she isn’t wearing platforms (which, by the way, wasn’t very often when we met in Berlin at the Wella International TrendVision Awards). Housed inside that tiny little body is a personality so massive, that it’s hard to see how it all fits inside. Like most successful hairdressers, Ms. Love strikes that nearly impossible balance between personable and creative.
Chatty, vivacious, outgoing and easy to talk to, she embodies what it means to be a hairdresser. She is the collision of two often conflicting personas: the life-of-the-party and the often introverted artist. She is the absolute poster child of the everyday stylist: eager to learn, constantly on the hunt for new inspiration, and just a hint of ADD tossed in for good measure. You can tell that she cares passionately about what she does, who she loves and how she lives. It was this embodiment, combined with her sheer ambition and dedication to her life goals, that made me so inclined to interview Ms. Love as our first ever Woman of Beauty. We had a chance to catch up via email after our initial meeting, and I learned a little more about what compels this incredible hairdresser tour de force.
Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What is your family like?
I’m originally from Ukraine, Kiev. My family won the visa lottery when I was six and we moved to America for a better life to accomplish any dream we’ve ever wanted to accomplish!
My family has an odd dynamic, but my mom is the rock of my family which consists of one older sister, two older brothers and my parents. My dad is a pastor and I was raised in a very strict household growing up basically in a church.
Any interesting experiences from your childhood that you feel shaped you in some way as a person?
I remember back in Ukraine when I was five years old, I sat in the living room all by myself with my Barbie and I taught myself how to French braid on that Barbie. I think that’s the moment I knew I wanted to do hair and that it came “easy” to me.
How did you come to be a hairdresser?
It wasn’t easy for me to take the risk and become a hairdresser because my parents, especially my dad, were very against me being in a “creative field” and wanted me to become a nurse or something more “stable.” My dad would always say, “Hair isn’t a career, it’s a hobby.” I think that’s what pushed me harder to become a successful hairstylist, to be able to show him that it CAN be and it IS an amazing career. (My very first blog is about that).
What are your hobbies/talents outside of hairdressing?
My hobbies consist of traveling and seeing the world with one trip at a time. It’s another passion of mine. It reignites and reINSPIREs me to live a more humble life and to enjoy every minute to the very fullest.
What’s your day-to-day like?
My day-to-day is getting my Starbucks bento latte every morning, getting to the salon, setting up for the day and creating art on my clients’ hair until nightfall. I work long hours but I can’t complain. In fact, I feel beyond blessed to be able to do what I love and live a prosperous life.
What makes you….you?
I think what makes me, ME, is standing up for my beliefs and morals. I try to stay as authentic and raw as possible.
Tell me about your salon: What’s the vibe? Signature service? How long did it take to become successful?
I work at a private studio in Encino called the Ubungalows. The vibe is very chic, urban and tasteful, but most importantly, it’s lit with candles and has great music playing, creating a zen, relaxing environment.
My signature service is color and cut to complement the color. I’m mainly known for balayage and creating a fluid blend in color.
I feel so beyond lucky and blessed to have been able to become as well known and “successful” in the industry, while only being in the industry for five years. Ever since I moved into a private studio three years ago, my clientele filled up within one year being booked two years in advance.
Tell me about your blog.
My blog is for the everyday hairdresser that goes through the same situations any hairdresser would go through, as well as talking about fashion and travel.
I started the blog because I had so many questions coming in daily about the same topics, so I decided to start a blog and answer the questions once instead of repeating myself over and over again. Haha. And mainly, I wanted to create a positive influence for that everyday hairdresser that may be going through a rocky time or questioning their path in life.
I have officially had my blog for one full year at the end of 2015. 🙂
This experience has shown me a great perspective of being behind the scenes, not only in photo shoots or behind the chair, but also behind my story for all to know.
I still feel like I’m working on my blog growth daily. For some, it can happen over night and for some (like me), I’ll keep striving for more success.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing women in the beauty industry? Any personal experiences?
I think behind the beauty industry in the corporate world it consists of mostly men. I think we need to change that and empower women to become executives and own their positions as powerful women that can run a successful business in the beauty world.
What do you think is the biggest strength that women bring to the industry?
The biggest strength us women can bring into the industry is the “super woman!” It’s a new generation filled with powerful women. We don’t just stay at home and take care of our kids, but we take care of our kids, run a successful business and have a functional, happy family. We need to stand up and show men we can do exactly what they have done for years (if not better, since we mainly use the beauty products), but also be seen as equal to be able to run an extraordinary large corporation if needed.
What’s next for you? Tomorrow? Next year? In five years?
I have so many dreams and ambitions but for the next year my goal is to open up my own salon and hopefully create my own color care shampoo line. In five years, I see multiple salons and stylists working under me as well as traveling around the world educating and giving back.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I had a venti latte caramel drizzle Starbucks coffee with a macaroon. 🙂
You can visit Larisa’s Blog HERE.
Know someone with a really fantastic story that we should hear? Tell us all about it, HERE.
*All photos courtesy of Larisa Love