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When Trae Howard (@traehowardhair) entered MODERN SALON’s Slay Belles competition in the fall of 2018, she had around 180 followers. In the age of reach, impressions, and followers, the beauty of entering industry competitions is the opportunity to be recognized for your talent, plain and simple. Howard made the top 10 for that contest, and it has been a love story between her and MODERN editors ever since. Howard proves that talent, eagerness, kindness and authenticity are the sweetest ingredients for success.

Trae Howard

@traehowardhair

Franklin, Tennessee

Trae Howard Hair, Nashville, Tennessee

Specialty: Modern, romantic, braided upstyles

Top-performing post: My most engaged post is an updo tutorial video. I think it did well because it’s simple, clear to follow and resulted in a pretty updo.

Favorite apps: Facetune 2 makes getting rid of blemishes and defocusing the background so easy. InShot for editing video.

I follow: @lalasupdos @hairandmakeupbysteph @tonyastylist @michellehair @another_braid

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Pro tip: Use the hashtag #modernsalon. Have a clean background. Use indirect natural light if possible. Keep in mind that the people who took the time to comment on your post didn’t have to do that. Be grateful and respond with gratitude!

How social media changed my life: It’s given me a supportive community and hair family that I thought was only available to the stylists I look up to, but all are welcome! I get motivation to work on my craft, education for styling techniques and business management and the ability to market my work to gain local business. And it’s slowly but surely bringing me out of my shell.

My first @modernsalon feature: I think I had around 180 followers at the time, which was huge to me. Someone messaged me congratulating me on my @modernsalon repost. I checked @modernsalon and started hyperventilating. I cried and called my husband. To see that my picture of my long braided style was on @modernsalon, and to find out that I made it into the 2018 Slay Belles competition was unbelievable. I wasn’t even going to enter because I didn’t think my work was good enough. My husband said to “just try.” I expected reality to agree with my self-doubt and when it didn’t, it was the most welcomed shock!

Click here to the see the full list of this year's MODERN SALON 100.