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Celebrity athletes have an intense fascination with the 21-year-old Indianapolis hairstylist and braid expert

INDIANAPOLIS -- Davin Juerling's hair salon is tucked away in a northside office building where hundreds of workers toil, never suspecting Indianapolis Colts players Kenny Moore II, Jonathan Taylor, Nick Cross or Amari Rodgers might be in their midst.

They have no idea IU basketball's Xavier Johnson, Anthony Walker or IU-turned-Lakers player Jalen Hood-Schifino or any of the other big-name athletes on Juerling's styling roster are among them.

Yet, hour after hour, appointment after appointment, these athletes, sometimes still sweaty after practice, walk into that office building and take a right down the hallway to suite #170, where a tiny sign on the wall reads Twelve 19 Salon.

That is Juerling's salon and inside that suite is where she creates her magic.

Twelve 19 Salon is an out-of-place business inside the office building on Keystone Crossing Boulevard, which is filled with companies that make more sense -- Exact IT Consulting, Nefouse & Associates, an insurance agency, Transitions Care, home health care services and Avenue Development, a real estate company.

When Juerling picked out the space for her new salon last year, moving from Castleton in December, she didn't realize how much her "more-famous" clients would appreciate the discreet space. They like not having to be seen walking into a public salon.

"The first time I did JT's (Taylor's) hair, he walked in here and he was like, 'I've never been to a person who has their own suite, like, in this kind of place,'" said Juerling. Taylor liked that suite and he liked even more the woman braiding his hair. And so, he kept coming back.

Juerling, a 21-year-old North Central High School graduate, has found a niche in the beauty industry braiding hair and doing twists and dreadlocks. With "her magical touch," as her clients put it, she is drawing an elite list of customers.

To be frank, Indy's athletes are kind of obsessed with her.

And those athletes have been talking, recommending Juerling to teammates in the locker room, on the practice field and on the basketball court. Word of mouth is a huge part of Juerling's success.

When Colts safety Cross was a rookie last season, he asked Moore if he knew any good hairstylists. Moore just happened to know an amazing woman. "The first person he named," said Cross, "was Davin Juerling."

IU basketball's Johnson found out about Juerling from teammate Tamar Bates, now with Missouri, who had gotten her name from Anthony Walker. Last season, Juerling was Hood-Schifino's stylist.

Inside her salon last month, braiding the hair of client Kendrick Murphy, a college football star in Arizona who tried out for the Colts under Frank Reich, Juerling is tight lipped about her clientele. She doesn't usually talk publicly about the sports stars who walk into her tiny salon, she said. She wants to respect their privacy.

But Murphy knows who some of them are. He is the general manager at Genisis Sports Performance, which trains college athletes. He has heard the stories.

"She is very humble. I'm not even sure if she knows how talented she is," Murphy said, adding he knows why those athletes descend on her salon. "I just let her do what she wants, and I know it's going to look good. I'm picky with my hair and I'm not going to allow anyone else to touch my hair."

Davin Juerling works with her client Kendrick Murphy on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 at Juerling’s Twelve 19 Salon in Indianapolis. She starts by drawing a clean part down the exact center of his head.

Beyond her extraordinary braiding, IU's Johnson said he likes the vibe in Juerling's salon. She puts on old R&B music or whatever playlist a client wants, lets them chill in the chair and keeps the chatter to a minimum. This is their time to relax, their time to have some space, Juerling said.

"With some hairstylists and barbers," Johnson said, "they're talking more than they're doing your hair."

He likes, too, that Juerling is fast. She wears two sharply pointed acrylic nails on her pointer fingers as tools, weaving strands of hair together at record pace. "She is so quick," Johnson said. "I've never had someone like that."

All of it put together makes Juerling the go-to hairstylist for many Colts players, both current and former, though she won't name names. She has clients who are IU basketball and football players, Purdue and Butler athletes and guys all over the country who are now in the NFL and NBA, but she still doesn't name names.

Juerling has been flown around the country to take care of clients (Moore once flew her to Washington, D.C., all expenses paid, to braid his hair). She does house visits and makes calls to the Colts complex to accommodate players getting ready to fly out for a game.

Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II speaks with the media at the NFL team's football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Tuesday, July 25, 2023. The Colts open practice on Wednesday.

And she stays at her salon, hour after hour, sometimes as late as 12 a.m., to finish up a customer with a funky schedule. And she does that for all her clients, not just athletes.

Juerling is quick to point out that she has a diverse clientele, teachers, businessmen, nurses, people in retirement homes, kids, principals and moms, and she offers a full spectrum of services, from highlights to haircuts, to coloring to extensions.

But when asked why those elite athletes keep coming back to her, Juerling pauses.

"I haven't really thought about that, because I don't see them as that," she said. "I don't really look into all that. I just keep everything professional and treat them as a normal person, as they are.

"No matter who my client is, I just love doing what I do. It doesn't even feel like a job."

'I always called her my princess linebacker'

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There are no hairstylists in Juerling's family. Her father, John, worked for security company ATT, got tired of corporate life, and started his own contracting company. Her mom, Lori, does commercial real estate and marketing for Cushman & Wakefield.

Juerling is the youngest of three children, with two older brothers, who grew up "raised by wolves," said her mom Lori Juerling, laughing. Her brothers were protective of her, but they were tough on her.

"When she was little, I remember calling her my princess linebacker," said Lori. "She was always pretty, liked the bows, was very artistic and she was really good at sports."

Davin Juerling works with her client Kendrick Murphy on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 at Juerling’s Twelve 19 Salon in Indianapolis. In her spare time, Juerling also coaches volleyball and works with the youth group at her church.

Juerling played softball, volleyball and basketball, but as high school played out, she decided to end her sports career and focus on her everchanging career goals. At one point, Juerling wanted to be a firefighter, then a teacher, then a journalist who interviewed inmates in prison. Then, as she got older, she wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer.

In high school, Juerling was a good student who could have gone to college like her two older brothers, but she decided college wasn't going to be her thing. She went to the J. Everett Light Career Center her junior year and found cosmetology. She enrolled in the program, which meant half days in school and half days learning the trade.

At first, the whole thing was kind of boring, said Juerling. "There would be days where I really just didn't want to go and do it. I still went and it was fine. It was what it was," she said. "But I feel like I really didn't even understand the career aspect you could have in it until the end of my time at school."

As she was finishing up her second year, the program turned to a salon setting with people coming in for services. Juerling had more freedom to hone her skills and be creative. Her teacher brought in hairstylists and specialists in the industry and Juerling fell in love.

After she graduated and passed the state board test, during COVID in 2020, Juerling worked out of her house, doing clients' hair in her living room and dining room. Then she got her first suite in Castleton, in a building filled with barbers, hair stylists and manicurists.

Then in December she opened Twelve 19 Salon in that office building. "Nobody in here does this," she said. "It's kind of funny. Nobody really knows I'm here."

Except for her clients.

'It's a pretty small niche'

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When Juerling was searching for a name for her salon, she wasn't sure what numbers to pick. She settled on Twelve 19 Salon, after her birthday, Dec. 19. Now she has too many significant numbers to count, splashed on the backs of the jerseys of the athletes whose hair she does.

"When people are watching games, they don't even think about who the hairstylist is that did the athlete's hair." said Juerling. "I'm a hairstylist and I never thought about that, until now."

Inside her salon, Juerling keeps a stash of snacks, granola bars, bags of crackers and candy. She knows her clients. "Most of them come in from practice," she said. "They tear up those snacks."

Depending on the day, Juerling sees four to six clients. A typical braiding appointment takes anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours. And those appointments are her favorite.

Juerling loves braiding and twists and dreadlocks. That has become her specialty.

Davin Juerling works with her client Kendrick Murphy on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023 at Juerling’s Twelve 19 Salon in Indianapolis. In less than 2 hours, Juerling has transformed Murphy’s head and left him ready for the pre-wedding festivities.

Aside from her hair artistry, Juerling is a volleyball coach with Indy Blacktop Volleyball Club. She is also a youth leader at Living Water Fellowship Church. She is a baker who sells her confections on the side, taking requests for cake pops and chocolate covered strawberries and pineapple upside down cake.

And she is an unofficial sports scout.

"She'll watch the draft and see who's coming to Indy," said Murphy. "If they have hair that needs braided, she might DM them on Instagram."

Juerling laughs at that. It's mostly her mom, Lori, who will keep track to see what athletes are coming to Indy, write down their Instagram handles and tell Juerling to send them a direct message. Sometimes Lori does it herself. "Hey, welcome to Indy. If you need a hairstylist, my daughter does hair."

That has worked out well. "One player just sent me a bunch of new people and they've been trying to schedule appointments," said Juerling. "Once they start coming, it's kind of crazy how it spreads."

After one athlete sees Juerling, he passes her name on to a teammate who passes her name on to another teammate who passes her name on ... "It's a pretty small niche," said Lori.

"She is just good people, strong in her faith," said Cross. "I went to her once and I've been going back ever since. She knows what I like, what I don't like. Shoot, I got to back before the season starts."

Juerling is modest when she hears those pro and college athletes boast about her. She actually says the words, "Little old me?"

In her mind, she is just a 21-year-old hairstylist who loves her job. But she also happens to be a braider extraordinaire who Indy's athletes are obsessed with.

Follow IndyStar sports reporter Dana Benbow on Twitter: @DanaBenbow. Reach her via e-mail: [email protected].  


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