Born with a talent for braiding, Melissa Lesilale’s journey as a hairstylist began at 12 when she would plait grass in school and get punished after students would fall walking in the field.
The mother of two now runs a successful Salon business and has established herself as s make-up artist, a model and an actress on ‘Zora’ as Mrs Madiba.
As a hairstylist, do you ever feel the pressure to always have perfect hair?
Yes, I always feel like my hair needs to look good, especially because you market your work. You are like a walking billboard, so yes I try to make it look presentable.
Do you ever have bad hair days considering you are a skilled hairstylist who can DIY practically any hairstyle?
I do have bad hair days, but fewer than more. Sometimes you are in the middle of fixing your hair then clients walk-in or I am called on the set, so at that moment I will have to save myself with a wig or something.
Tell us about your signature hairstyle.
I like wearing my hair in extensions. I slick my hair and add an extension because it is an easy, elegant, simple, but cute look, which is exactly how I like to feel.
How did you secure the finances to open your salon and barbershop?
I started out as a commercial model. I landed a good commercial job that paid me well and decided to open a salon. The barbershop was born through the salon.
How has business been since you started?
I have been in business for the last seven years and I must say it has been profitable. When you see where we started and where the business is and what it has been able to do, you see growth.
What are some of those hurdles you have to jump to reach where you are now?
The salon is a demanding business. When I started out, clients were used to me being at the salon throughout.
Then I had to move to production, doing hair and make-up outside the salon. Most clients were not amused since I was less available. But with time we were able to sort it out.
Now that you have established your name in the market as a hairstylist and make-up artiste, how do you market your business?
Pushing content and having online platforms like Instagram has helped me display what I can offer. Brands have also been able to trust I can deliver what they want to sell or put across.