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The Aussie Rapunzel: Hunter export amasses 1.3 million followers on TikTok

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Two years after she began offering tips for growing long, luscious hair, Newcastle export Sophie Jordan has amassed more than 1.3 million followers on TikTok in her role as The Aussie Rapunzel.

Newcastle Weekly journalist Rebecca Riddle sat down with the 23-year-old social media sensation in a rare media interview to ask her how it all began.

What is your connection with Newcastle?

I grew up near Maitland and I went to school in Newcastle, in Hamilton actually, at St Francis Xavier’s College.  After I graduated in 2017, I moved to Sydney to study economics at the University of Sydney. I do often go back to visit because it’s nice to escape Sydney for a little bit. I enjoy going back home, it’s so much more peaceful [than Sydney].

How did you become ‘The Aussie Rapunzel’?

My online name ‘The Aussie Rapunzel’ started when I started on TikTok.

Instead of using my name I wanted a brand and something that was memorable. The Aussie Rapunzel is unique to me because having long hair in Australia is not very common, or trendy, so I went with it.

It started in February 2020. Everyone was in lockdown and there wasn’t much to do. A lot of people were already asking me about my hair, in my personal life and offline. People were asking me what I do to grow my hair long and how do I keep it so long. I had all these hair tips I could give people but I just didn’t have the means to do so. When TikTok came out I thought I should just start giving hair tips on TikTok.

I started by showing people simple tips they could do, easy things they could try, and it just sort of took off from there. It’s been really exciting.

How long is your hair now?

I don’t measure it all the time but last time I did it was one metre, that was a while ago so it’s probably just past a metre, maybe 105cm or 110cm. My followers want me to grow it to one-and-a-half metres but I’m 175cm tall and that would be getting close to my height at that point. I’m not sure if I could do that.

And you’d be surprised – now that it’s a metre there’s not that many hairstyles you can do with it. If I pull my hair up into a ponytail I get a headache, and when I sleep I have to wear it in a plait or it will be everywhere, and even sitting down when it’s out I sit on my hair.

How long did it take you to grow it to this length?

I usually say it’s taken seven years of just getting a trim but for the past three years I’ve been focussing on getting my hair healthy and thick.

What’s one of your secrets to having luscious hair?

People kept coming to me asking for DIY or inexpensive ways to look after their hair, a lot of my followers are young, so I told them about rosemary water – I use it on my hair. Boil some rosemary, spray it on your hair and sleep in it overnight and it’s proven to be great for hair growth. And, for shiny hair I use apple cider vinegar.

Were you obsessed with your hair as a young child?

I wasn’t super precious about long hair when I was young, I just liked long hair. I remember as a kid I had layers and quite wavy hair, and some of the layers were short and choppy and I just wanted to grow out my layers. Then it just kept growing and as it was growing I loved having long hair.

I feel like everyone in middle school would cut their hair to shoulder length at some point and I never wanted to do that.

I grew it to about 50cm and then 70cm and then 80cm and each time I kept thinking I’d keep going. Then I wanted to get to a metre. It was shoulder length, waist length, then to the butt..

You have turned your hair into a full-time business. Could you ever have imagined this would happen just by growing your hair long? And now that you have followers – 1.3 million on TikTok and 53,800 on Instagram – do you feel a responsibility to be a role model?

It still blows my mind to be honest. I think about a stadium of people and how many people that would be and seeing 1.3 million people in front of me is just crazy to imagine. That’s really cool.

Ninety-five per cent of my followers are female. I don’t know the exact age range, but I’d say majority are young girls and young adults.

I had a lot of people contact me after they had COVID to say that their hair had been falling out and affecting their confidence. When you’re really sick, your body is under a lot of stress, and this can happen. It was good to give some tips to these people and help build their confidence again.

There’s nothing better than when you’re having a good hair day, or when you’ve just been to the salon, you feel so confident. If I can help someone feel that way then that’s great.

TikTok prides itself on being a brand that allows users and creators to thrive through their creativity.

Its hashtag LearnOnTikTok offers the apps users lifehacks and DIY advice from fellow users and has had more than 361 BILLION views.

The Aussie Rapunzel has a loyal following that tune in to her how-to videos on a regular basis.

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