Asian Americans Represent in the Hair Industry

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May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, a time to celebrate and recognize Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions. As a small business started and currently run by Asian Americans, JATAI holds this recognition close to our heart. What started as a small dream by Fred Wada, the founder of JATAI, it has turned into a recognized company in the beauty space primarily known for their haircutting and shaving razors. Not only do Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders start and grow businesses, but they also make waves as a hairstylist or barber. In honor of AAPI Month, we would like to recognize some beauty professionals who have influenced the space and have made positive contributions to the industry.

Sofie Pok

If you’re a barber, or heck even a stylist, you probably know who Sofie is. She broke a lot of barriers in the barber industry being both a female and of Asian descent. Being mainly Cambodian and part Chinese and Vietnamese, Sofie quickly rose to the top earning the title of Barber of the Year and Men’s Shot of the Year at Behind the Chair in 2017. Residing in the Los Angeles area, she is easily recognized with her wealth of tattoos and funky hair. She always displays swagger and looks intimidating, but she’s sweet, kind, motivated and driven. She’s a natural born artist who is both a stylist and barber. While her road to success was filled with struggle and uncertainty, she found her niche with short haircuts. While many clients and barbers wouldn’t take her seriously because she was a female, she took to Instagram where she showcased her work and little by little her following grew. Her current ambition is growing STMNT Grooming Goods with fellow barbers Julius Cvesar and Miguel Gutierrez which launched in 2022.


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A post shared by JULIUS CVESAR (@juliuscaesar)

Julius Cvesar

Also a barber, Julius grew up in the SF Bay area. He is of Filipino descent and a well-known barber in the industry. Also, covered in tattoos, Julius now resides in the Los Angeles area where he has built his platform in barbering. An artist at heart, he ventures into fashion, painting and runs a creative hub and gallery space. In barbering, his crisp design lines, color combinations and placement are creative and innovative. He takes appointments at All Hail Barbershop. Popular on Instagram he has also been on stage for Wahl and Layrite as he was a part of the Wahl Education and Artistic Team. There he specialized in clipper over comb, point cutting and heavy textures. His current project is working with fellow barbers Sofie Pok and Miguel Gutierrez on the STMNT Grooming Goods brands.


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A post shared by Emily Chen (@emchenhair)

Emily Chen

Moving over to the hairstylist world, Emily Chen takes a spotlight. She is the owner of Brooks and Harlow Salon and teaches salon education…and she teaches a lot of it. Currently, she tours within her own salon but also across the country on a variety of different topics from color to haircutting. Based out of New York, Emily also cuts hair at her salon. She has built her following on Insta to 150k and almost 20k on TikTok. She is also present on YouTube and Twitter. Needless to say, she is everywhere teaching tips and tricks. She even won Color Video of the Year through the Hairbrained Video Awards with her 7-Hour Blonding Breakdown video. Wow…that must have been a lot of work!


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A post shared by @12pell


While not an individual person, 12Pell is a lifestyle brand run by Asian Americans. Dedicated to personal care and style, they cover all things grooming. Their goal is to build a community of like-minded people who are passionate about art and entrepreneurship. However, they have a huge focus on barbering and men’s haircuts. With a whooping 285k followers on IG and 1.8M followers on TikTok, they know how to generate social media attention. Their content focuses on a lot on hair education from the consultation to hair inspiration to styling tips. They’ve been recognized by ABC7, BBC, CBS, Yahoo, Business Insider and more. It would be safe to say that 12Pell has created the community they sought to build and then some.

Angela Kim

A special mention goes out to Angela Kim, a Los Angeles hairstylist who focuses on clean beauty and eco-conscious hairstyling. A second generation Korean American, Angela has been working in the industry for over 13 years. While she might not have a huge following on social media, her work is beautiful and she’s one to watch out for. A Feather Razor user, Angela is up and coming. She can do long or short hair and color. Her dedication to eco-friendly non-toxic hair services shows she’s dedicated to health and healthy beauty, something everyone can appreciate.


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A post shared by RAZORCUT | PASADENA (@kazdoeshair)

Kaz Shimada

Last but not least, Kaz Shimada is a Japanese American hairstylist. She is a proficient razor cutter, primarily using the Feather Plier Razor. So, she is definitely talented! Based out of Pasadena, CA, she co-owns MANE+CROWN salon. She’s a true artist with a beautiful portfolio. She has done commercial and red carpet work. Her work is gorgeous and she knows how to work the razor and her various tools to get fantastic looks.


There are many more AAAPI’s that were not mentioned here, but we wanted to highlight a few that have stood out to us. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have come a long way. While they still don’t represent a huge percentage of hairstylists and barbers, the ones that have stuck around have done well for themselves and have broken barriers. Their contributions to the beauty industry are valuable and appreciated. We continue to encourage more AAPI’s to bring their creative talents to the hair world. Show us what you’ve got!


JATAI provides innovative and professional quality beauty implements with world-class customer service and educational support. To offer great products as a master distributor, we seek out and select only manufacturers who demonstrate superior workmanship, the most advanced technology, and respected business core values of reliability, honesty and integrity. Accordingly, JATAI represents three major ‘workhorse’ brands that dominate within their categories. Feather, Seki Edge and Fuji Paper. JATAI Academy brings beauty tools to creative life. It’s the ultimate professional information resource where Education, Artistry and Trends CONNECT for Stylists and Barbers.

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