By Carol Stiffler

In the early months of the COVID pandemic, Lucy Seitz packed for college and headed to Northern Michigan University (NMU) to study cosmetology. She’d graduated from Newberry High School in 2020 in that unfortunate class that had to wait months for an outdoor, pandemic-approved graduation ceremony.

The dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty quickly landed in quarantine after being in close contact with two friends who tested positive for COVID. In a way, she has COVID to thank for what came next.
“I had a feeling: I wanted to film this,” she said. “I literally filmed it right away as soon as I turned myself in.”

Seitz kept up with her course assignments, submitting photos of hairstyles she’d been working on to her instructor. She never did test positive for COVID, but she did post videos on TikTok of her work on mannequin heads.

TikTok, of course, is the ubiquitous social media app where users create and share videos of all kinds – dance trends, health tips, craft projects, makeup tutorials, cat videos. Seitz had dabbled with TikTok before, posting what she called “random TikToks”, but when she started creating videos detailing a day in the life of a cosmetology student, she went viral.

Her TikTok account,, currently has 1.1 million followers and her videos have received more than 106 million likes. Some of her videos have surpassed 15, 19, and 22 million views apiece.

That’s not what she was after, but it’s worked out well for Seitz. She has now created her own niche within the TikTok platform, and she’s still filming while working at a salon and earning hours as a paraprofessional on her way to teaching cosmetology.

“No one was posting on TikTok cosmetology related videos like I did,” she said. “I was able to show what I was doing. Everybody got to see what cosmetology school is like, even if they didn’t want to do hair.”

She had permission from her instructors to share her school-related content, though NMU didn’t pay her to make them or supply materials. Seitz shot and edited her videos on her phone, getting better and better as she continued.

She completed cosmetology school in 2022, then received scholarships from NMU to complete esthetician school and natural hair school while continuing to film videos. The university even sent Seitz out to film a promotional video for its trucking school.

It’s turned into a business of sorts – though she says it doesn’t bring in enough money to cover all of life’s expenses. She has an LLC now, and her mother, Kristen Salter, is her “momager” – a mom and manager hybrid.

Salter said her daughter, a middle child in a large family, has been interested in hair since kindergarten, and she’s always been driven.

“She’s a very nice girl,” Salter said. “Very driven. She’s got goals; she wants to achieve them. And she wants to help people out, and that’s what she does.”

“She knows it can end any time, just as fast as it started,” Salter said. “She takes it one day at a time, and tries to make good choices and uses it for educating.”

She’s recognized in public sometimes, and has been asked for her autograph. Some brands have signed her to represent them or flown her out to hair and beauty events.

“We don’t think she’s famous,” Salter said. “We giggle at it.”

Seitz receives mountains of beauty products and tools – they’re all shipped to her mother’s home in Newberry and are routinely delivered to Seitz in batches. She keeps some things, but gives most of them to current students in the NMU cosmetology department. Those students feature in many of her recent TikTok videos.

Denise Hudson is the cosmetology program director at NMU, and gave the original go-ahead to Seitz to make “a day in the life of a cosmetology student” videos years ago.

“Our numbers have increased because of Lucy’s presence on TikTok and her content,” Hudson said. “This year we have in excess of 410 students interested in our program. It’s unbelievable. We don’t have the space. I wish we had double the space, and the faculty, to fill the need.”

The interested students are from all over the country, and some are even international.

Hudson describes Seitz as a humble leader and says she has a “soft spirit”.

“She has a gift,” Hudson said. “We are so glad to have her.”