- Associated Press - Thursday, January 29, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - When Indianapolis hairstylist Doja Freeman created a social media plan to reach Hollywood’s A-list, she didn’t know if her strategy would work.

The 25-year-old beauty school graduate only had photos to prove her skills. She didn’t have California connections or celebrity friends to call for help. All Freeman had was an Instagram account.

But that was all the sparkle she needed.

The photo-driven social-media network allows users to share photos with friends, family and anyone else with an account. Freeman used the platform to reach out to potential celebrity clients.

“I said, ‘I’m going to do this every day until somebody responds to me,’” Freeman told The Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/1CCxDf0 ). “I made a list.”

Supermodel Heidi Klum, rap artist Sean Combs (Puff Daddy) and NBA player Chris Bosh were among the celebrities she messaged.

Her goal was to have their children as clients. But getting through to such celebrities would not be easy. Freeman would be competing against millions of other fans, distance and Los Angeles-area stylists.

“Anything can happen,” Freeman wrote in a message she sent to dozens of potential clients. “All I want to do is make little girls beautiful. It’s my duty, it’s my goal, it’s my dream, it’s my passion, it’s my daily prayer.”

Every other week for a month, 15 more A-listers received a similar message from Freeman.

Until she heard back from one.

Former Disney kid-turned-singer/actress Christian Milian responded to Freeman’s inquiry more than a year ago. It was the message Freeman was waiting for.

“Lovely,” Milian wrote in their first exchange on Instagram. “I will let you know if and when we may want to try it out.”

A few weeks later, Milian invited Freeman to come to Los Angeles to style her daughter Violet’s hair.

The occasion - Violet’s birthday - turned out to be a star-studded affair at the Los Angeles Zoo that Freeman attended after she gave the 4-year-old a hairstyle.

Since then, Freeman has stayed in touch with Milian, flying to Los Angeles every few months to style Violet’s hair.

“Thank you much for hooking up her looks,” Milian wrote Jan. 10 on Instagram. “Violet loves when you do her hair. Every single time! Thank you.”

Next month Freeman plans to move to Los Angeles. She wants to keep Violet as client while she looks for more work in the city.

“I’m not going to take no for answer,” Freeman said. “You are going to see me one day.”

K.I.M. salon owner Kim Lightfoot said she will hold a place for Freeman at the Northwestside shop even after her move.

“Everybody loves her,” Lightfoot said. “She’ll always have a booth here.”

Her last day is March 25. Clients as young as 2 come to visit Freeman when their mothers need help managing their hair.

Cornrows are her specialty. She learned the braiding technique while sitting in the back of a van on her way home from summer camp. She was 14.

Eleven years later, Freeman has turned the skill into a full-time career.

“I love kids, and kids love me,” Freeman said smiling. “I love doing their hair.”


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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