As one of the first hairstylists to cultivate an influential Instagram following, Larisa Love has built her brand—and her salon in Studio City, California—her own way.
In Real Life
“I was born in the Ukraine and my family won the Visa lottery when I was six years old, which means that we were all able to come to America despite being a family. My dad is a Pentecostal pastor, so I was raised in a very strict home in a very sheltered Russian community. I wasn’t allowed to go to the movies or wear makeup. I moved out at 17 because I couldn’t really express who I was. When people ask me about celebrities, especially from the ’90s, I don’t know anything because I was so sheltered. I know—it sounds crazy!”
Paved Her Own Way
“When I was 18 I went to beauty school and graduated by the time I was 20. My parents were very against me going to beauty school in the first place, so my father completely cut me off financially and emotionally. I really used his not believing in me to push me to prove to myself [that I could succeed] and because of that I have an amazing career. At the end of the day, I have to live my own life.”
Social Media Mayhem
“When Instagram first launched, I had just started doing hair and I had a feeling that there was something special about it. So I began putting content up before other hairstylists were doing this. Now I feel it’s oversaturated with hairstylists. Also, the algorithm makes things difficult to stand out. Before Instagram, I was walking around giving out my business cards and I probably would have been walking with my portfolio in malls. I still think my drive and how hard I work would have paid off, but I do give a lot of credit to social media [for my success].”
“I think people have a misconception that I’m rude, but when they meet me they realize that I’m just a normal girl. I’m really welcoming and I don’t think I’m above anyone. For me, it’s nice when I meet celebrities and find they are down to earth. So I like to think that when people meet me, that’s what they find: someone who is real.
People also think I’ve had help and that my parents bought me my salon, when in reality I did it on my own. There was a whole string of comments on my Instagram where people were saying that there was no way I could do it myself. I sacrificed a lot, I didn’t get loans, I saved for it and paid for it myself.”
“I still consider myself an independent artist. Joico doesn’t choose the clients I see or the techniques I use. The reason I became a brand ambassador was that I was already using the brand and we intertwined so seamlessly. They really allow me to be a full-time artist.”
A Dream Come True
“Some days I feel like I’m living in a dream and I’m going to wake up. There are times where I feel like life is too good to be true. I don’t know what I did in my past life to have had so many blessings in my career at such a young age. I’ve been a hairdresser for nine years and I feel like I’ve already won the lottery in my career.”