Holy Toledo! Ok..I have to admit, I've been wanting to yell that out since I spoke with Corina (@Corina_LadyBarber) because it presented the perfect opportunity. To say I have been trying to speak with this Lady Barber for some time would be an understatement but it was well worth the wait!
Currently working at First Chair Barber Styling in Toledo, Ohio, Corina is killing the game and giving Lady Barbers a great name in her market. We all know there aren't many Lady Barbers to begin with but it should be noted that for however many I may see in New York City, there is probably an eighth of that number in Ohio. Undoubtedly a phenomenal barber, Corina joins the list of the most humble people I have met. With serious clipper skills, a desire to work 'until the door stops swinging', and some serious wit to go with her beauty, it's a no brainer that she is an obvious go-to Lady Barber.
But enough rambling on my part because Corina tells it so much better.
HCHH: What inspired you to become a Barber? Did you start there? Or in cosmetology?
Corina_LadyBarber: I started as a cosmetologist but soon found out I was allergic to perms/color and honestly, I didn’t like it anyway. This started moving me towards clippers and I loved it. When I was about 20 or 21 I moved from small town to Toledo and started apprenticing as a barber. I probably apprenticed for 3 months but I was already very familiar with clipper work since I loved it so much.
HCHH: I'm interested in how many clients you have as regulars and also how many you see approximately each day.
Corina_LadyBarber: I think it's probably anywhere from 100-150 regular clients. On any given day I see 10-20 people but it changes every day. I usually book in advance for Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays since they're my most busy days.
HCHH: Wow so you're pretty busy between regulars and walk-in's. Do you ever get a funny reaction when you tell people what you do for work?
Corina_LadyBarber: I've always been known for being a lady barber in Toledo. I moved here in 2000 and I was very big in the Hispanic community. When I started working for my boss, James, at First Chair 5 years ago it was primarily African American hair so they all thought I could only cut Spanish hair [laughs] but then word eventually got out that I could cut any hair.
HCHH: When you weren't yet known for being capable of cutting all hair, did a client ever refuse you?
Corina_LadyBarber: Oh yeah, it’s the whole David and Goliath Bible situation. A lot of men who are Muslim come in and they won’t let me cut their hair. It’s primarily religion based but sometimes we get African men from countries like Ghana who won’t let me cut their hair. It’s usually just their preference. But it's honestly rare to receive much hate on the female barber end around here.
*Editors note: I was shaking hair off my shirt that my lint-roller didn't get after a day in the shop. After mentioning this to Corina, she commiserated by mentioning how she probably has a hairball from working every day in the shop. Yum!*
HCHH: So speaking of hairballs and how much we love eating them, what's your favorite go-to snack when you're too busy to eat a real meal?
Corina_LadyBarber: Honestly, whatever I can get my hands on! Every day is like that for us. The only time we really get to eat is on Wednesdays because it's slower but if we don’t bring anything with us then we don’t eat. Oh there's also a young man who comes to the shop and sells snacks so sometimes I will buy from him. Oh! I know...anything with chocolate.
HCHH: Your shop seems really lively and tight-knit, do you have any fun stories to share?
Corina_LadyBarber: We do have an exciting shop, we keep the jokes rolling. We have a couple comedians – we all think we’re comedians at one point. A not so funny story, though, was from when we first opened the shop. On the opening day, the owner put up the Obama sign and somebody threw rocks into the window. Besides that we’ve had two guys pass out face down in the shop. We get quite a few crazy characters and definitely a lot of hood action. Cops [the show] filmed right outside once so I'd say every day is pretty exciting and an experience,
Also, we’re a very family oriented shop. Most of the neighborhood kids come in and sweep and we’ll give them a dollar. We have a cuss jar we started where we put a quarter in each time we mess up. After the month is over we send to a different Parish each month and they donate [the money] to kids overseas. Our first month had around $100 but after that we’ve definitely worked on keeping the cussing down [laughs].
HCHH: You've mentioned your clippers a few times. Are they your favorite tool to use?
Corina_LadyBarber: Absolutely, I love my clippers. My go-to is my Andis Master followed by my Oster Fast Feeder and Andis T-Liners, of course.
HCHH: I know I always see you up to something: battles, events, etc. But do you have anything coming up that you can share with us?
Corina_LadyBarber: At my shop we’re launching a product called Line Tight. It's meant for line enhancement so you will see me marketing that a lot. I also have been doing some classes for Cosmetology schools teaching clipper classes but my next move is to convince them to have a dedicated clipper class for a whole week. This is especially for the ladies because most come out of school not even knowing where to start with that kind of cut.
I'm also going to continue going into salons and teaching more advance clipper work. I taught the ladies at Playboyz Barbershop, those ladies are awesome!
HCHH: Just based off their Instagram I can't wait to sit down with all of them together [hint, hint]. Aside from teaching, I know I see you attending battles all of the time. And we all know you recently won a certain battle that was announced on the ScissorSalute™ Show.
Corina_LadyBarber: Yeah! I've competed in 5 battles and have placed in three which is exciting. In two hair shows I placed 2nd in both and they were some of the first I participated in. Recently I also competed in Connecticut and Philly but didn't place. And I'm so happy to say I won the Nasty Barbers battle that took place on Instagram and was announced on the ScissorSalute™ Show.
HCHH: We all know not a lot of ladies battle but have you met any or made any connections from these events?
Corina_LadyBarber: For sure, I've met RxBarber, Lici_LadyBarber and so many other ladies I look up to! They show much love, it's crazy. Oh and the first time I met LadyJaeKutz was in Philly, I was amazed at how sweet she was. I love it!
HCHH: I love all of those ladies and can't wait to meet Lici myself. But tell me, what is your biggest pet peeve? I'm dying to know...you're so honest, so I'm sure it'll be good!
Corina_LadyBarber: Oh that's easy! Somebody who constantly turns around and looks in the mirror while you’re trying to line them up or cut them. and keep trying to correct you. That and when my Andis T-Liner doesn’t work or sometimes it won’t cut baby hair or peach fuzz so I just yell at it and tell it to stop getting on my nerves.
A third is when customers are impatient. I feel like saying 'You know I’m booked back to back and if I’m running a few minutes late, be patient it’s okay everyone will get a cut.' I will stay late if I have to until the door stops swinging, I love it.
HCHH: Do you have any goals, hopes, or dreams that pertain to your career as a barber that you’d like to share?
Corina_LadyBarber: I would love to do platform [education] but I think right now my biggest goal is to have my own shop. I have a four year plan.
HCHH: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Corina_LadyBarber: Yes! I'd just that I love my career and what I do. I definitely rep all lady barbers out here, I have so much love for all of the ladies. It’s hard to be a lady barber. All that guys want to promote is sex, sex, sex and we just want to be recognized for our talents not just looks and bodies. I’d rather have respect for my cuts than my looks that will only last so long [laughs].
Wow, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to sit down with this wonderful woman. What we discussed after the actual interview was how she is a mother of TWO and one of them, her son, is currently going to school to become a barber as well. So we will have to keep you updated on whether or not her younger daughter decides to continue on as a wonderful Lady Barber just like her mom.
If you'd like to book Corina or check out more of her work, you can follow her on Instagram at @Corina_LadyBarber. It has been such a pleasure getting to know this woman and I can't wait to see her when she comes to New York December 1st! For what? you may ask. Well, you'll just have to wait and see. ;)
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Until Next Time,