We had the good fortune of connecting with Teacup Miller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Teacup, what are you inspired by?
I’m mostly inspired by Anime, I’m a huge otaku/weeb! But I also find inspiration in lots of things, sometimes it’s a boba tea drink, or an LA sunset, other times it’s a photo of a bird a client brings me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I think the biggest driving force that got me to where I am now, was just being a stubborn and naive kid that didn’t know when to quit. I entered the beauty world at seventeen. I was a fresh faced, newly high school graduated idiot who’s only thought was “this will be hands on and fun! I don’t want a boring job.” At that time, I used to draw my own original anime characters every day, and I knew I wanted to do something hands on and creative. I was thinking either tattooing, hair, or creative baking. I went with hair first because I had a fascinating idea that I could take what I had drawn on paper, and make that a reality with people’s hair. Bring my characters to life, if you will. It was a fresh start, I could be whoever I wanted to be! I renamed myself T, a shortening of my name Taylor. I made friends with the other alternative kids quickly, and the spelling of my new name was changed to Tea, (short for Teacup) because I was short and loved Alice in Wonderland. We were thriving in a place where we could finally be out authentic selves as young adults. I started playing with makeup for the first time. And going to goth clubs. Slowly I started seeing people drop off, or stop attending classes. I didn’t realize at the time how many people enter beauty school, only to never graduate, or become licensed. Or they would become licensed, and then do nothing with that. I guess the song “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease should have been a hint. I think a lot of people enter the industry thinking it’ll be a fun, easy career. But the hard truth is, it’s extremely competitive, physically back breaking, emotionally soul crushing, and there’s hardly any money to be made (until you become established) which frightens most away. Ive noticed after many years in this industry, it’s the ones who are very creative and just love doing hair for the fun that stay in it the longest, that truly stick it out for the long run, quitting was never an option for us, we love this too much. We were the scene kids doing each other’s hair in our friends parents bathrooms, giggling while we stole razer blades from our parents shaving razors to slide cut our hair the way we liked while listening to MCR. We’re still here, we’re still queer, and we’re still doing hair, cuz it’s what we love to do.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first place we’re going is Little Tokyo, my home away from home! We would eat at Daikokuya Ramen, or get some sweets at Yamazaki bakery! And then we’d wash it all down with some Midori Matcha or boba from Sharp Tea. I love shopping for new anime figures at Jungle, and anime inspired street wear at Popkiller. I often go in casual cosplay as my favorite anime characters with my friends and we goof around and take photos. My favorite spots in Little Tokyo that I HAVE to stop by every single time, are Kinokuniya bookstore, Anime Station, and Marukai market to stock up on treats.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Without Ryan Hessberger (My work partner/gusband/best friend) Mermaid Cult wouldn’t exist. He’s the yin to my Yang. He’s such a positive light and balance to my naturally pessimistic self. He’s a Leo, (fire sign) and I’m a cancer (water sign). It shouldn’t work, but it just does, we balance each other out so well. And he’s obviously incredibly talented to boot. I love you Ryan!
Instagram: @Teacupmermaid & @mermaidcultsalon