Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) graduate Samantha Weissman has been braiding hair since she was a young girl but last year she decided to enlist the help of friends to take her love of braids to the next level.
Weissman, a Woodmere resident, created an Instagram account to upload photos of the various braids she does. “It’s funny because I remember how excited I got when we had 100 followers and now I’m at 30,000,” she said. “It makes me feel like I’m not this one girl from Long Island, but that I have a global reach as well.”
Viewing different braids in magazines and online, Weissman taught herself how to do the braids for friends such as Lawrence resident Allison Wanderer, who met Weissman in kindergarten at HAFTR. “It started off as a little hobby and after we looked up how to better the braids, it slowly became so much better and our attention to detail increased,” Wanderer said. “It’s really incredible how it started from nothing and now we have fans all over the world [on the Instagram account.]”
According to Wanderer, she, Weissman and Cedarhurst resident Rebecca Alenick, get together three times a week to do braids and take pictures to upload to the Instagram account. “It’s fun for all of us,” she said. “We help take pictures and take feedback from each other.”
Alenick calls herself the creative content manager. “I go online, find cool braids and show them to [Samantha],” she said. “Braiding has become so popular; everyone wants to try something cool and new.”
Seeing the number of followers on Instagram increase has been the greatest part for Alenick. “It’s amazing, especially considering we started out with zero followers,” she said. “We worked our way up there and it’s cool to see how it grew so quickly.”
The braiding trio will go their separate ways after the summer as Weissman will head off to Princeton, Wanderer to the University of Michigan and Alenick to Stern College for Women in Manhattan. But Weissman is hopeful that she’ll find new people to try her braids on in college. “I know that college will be rigorous but I hope to have some free time,” she said. “I hope to try and find people who are interested in helping me out, serve as inspiration and model for the Instagram account.”
Alenick said she would still like to be involved with the braids in college. “Hopefully I can help her and visit her on the weekends,” she said of Weissman. “I hope [her Instagram account] reaches millions.”
To see view Weissman’s Instagram account visit http://instagram.com/mybraids.