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Meet the mullet queen of Lansing, Michigan

Ashley Medina at Bliss Salon Spa & Boutique in Lansing, Mich.
Heather Kanillopoolos Photography
Ashley Medina at Bliss Salon Spa & Boutique in Lansing, Mich.

After a bad hair day years ago, Ashley Medina decided she needed a hairstyle that would look cool no matter what.

The hairstylist said the only thing that came to mind was a mullet. So she shaved the sides of her head, cut the hair on the top of her head finger length and left 10 inches of long curly black hair flowing down her back.

As she talked, she gave Aaron Vest a mullet makeover. "So this one is what I call a soft mullet...You gotta have your ears exposed, otherwise, it's considered more of like a shag haircut, " she said.

Vest made the two hour drive from Toledo, Ohio to Bliss Salon and Spa, after seeing Medina on Tik Tok. "I've always liked the appeal of the mullet and I just I figured why not? It's a little bit longer right now. Why not?,"

Medina says "mulletification" always begins with a client consultation on Tik Tok. Al Durham liked his experience so much he used his new hairstyle to name his business: Guy With A Mullet Landscaping.

"I'm working in a yard all day so I like to have the back of my neck covered from the sun. I've said it before that melanoma is a silent killer," he explained. "So the convenience of the front where it's not my face, but protecting the back of my neck is really nice. Not to mention they're sweet."

Durham and Vest are of over a half million people tuning in day after day to Medina's mullet cuts on Tik Tok.

The infamous haircut may have risen to mainstream fame in the 80s, but the hair style has been around for centuries. The roots of the modern day mullet can be traced back to Native American people from the far northeastern corner of Oregon. Chief Joseph, a leader of the Nez Perce Indians of that area, kept a mulleted look of spiky bangs in the front, braids on the side and long hair in the back according to Dan Sharfstein, a legal historian at Vanderbilt University.

"He wore it like this despite the pressure from white settlers to cut it," he said. "For him it was not just about dissent and defiance but it was also a collective expression of nationhood," Sharfstein said.

Today, Medina says mullets are popular for men, women and nonbinary people.

"That is something that I really love about the mullet is that there is no gender to it," she said. "I think that there can be a more masculine masculine look or a more feminine look. But overall the hairstyle in general can definitely suit all genders."

Mullets are so popular Ashley Medina says she may have to give up doing any other kind of haircuts.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.