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Michael Kelley’s social media personality is relaxed and loose, while his men’s cuts are tight and defined. He caught our attention with some of his freestyle work, and we keep watching.

Michael Kelley

@M.R.K.thebarber

MRK the barber, El Paso, Texas

Specialty: Men’s hair styles

Top-performing post: A design I did called the “Leap of Faith” was one of them. It was probably the cleanest and most creative freestyle, and it included a small cross on the bottom.

Favorite apps: PicsArt (Flyer and Ad Creator), Lightroom (to fix lighting issues such as exposure, saturation, etc.) and Facetune (to clean blemishes and skin on hair models).

I follow: @Andrewdoeshair, @Notoriousbarber, @Z_Ramsey @o_g_walker, @iamtyrikjackson

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Pro tip: It takes a combination of learning photography, understanding what grabs people’s attention, proper hashtags and also being connected to a great support network. There are a ton of factors!

Hidden talent: I love trimming and shaping beards even though I can barely grow facial hair myself!

Fun fact: I used to be pretty good at drawing and basketball.

My audience follows me because: I think my followers look to me for new trends and hair ideas, but I also think sometimes it’s my insight and perspective. I love receiving DMs from people thanking me for some encouraging words I may have posted.

How social media changed my life: Social media has allowed me to travel and make money in ways I wouldn’t have been able to. It’s the real-life experiences and the doors that have been open.

My first @modernsalon feature: I did the story takeover, and it was the first time I had ever done a takeover. I was a little nervous, but I kind of liked the idea that I was doing something new for a big Instagram account. It’s all about new experiences.