A late Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I know I have been quiet lately but I promise it is all for a good reason. Between the two shops and my personal freelance work it has been crazy and yet I still managed to grab an interview with Lisa, also known as QueenCutsNRoses on Instagram! When I say that it has been heavily anticipated on my end, I mean this woman has been on my radar for a serious amount of time. Currently working in New York City on the Lower East Side at Well Connected Barbershop, Lisa has made it extremely clear that she is, indeed, the Queen of cuts.
HCHH: What inspired you to become a Barber? Did you start there? Or in cosmetology?
QueenCutsNRoses: I have a few customers who love this story so maybe you will too! I started cutting hair almost 2 years ago after I had my daughter. Everyone else was working or busy so I couldn't go to school or work with her so I had no choice but to be home. When she was first born I used to have long mohawk like Cassie (the singer) and the only time I left the house was to go to the barbershop.
I ended up becoming best friends with my barber and eventually the owner of the barbershop offered to teach me how to cut hair there. He didn't mind if I brought my daughter there which was so helpful. After that I went to Barber school to learn the basic foundation instead of just learning only the quick way and made my own short cuts. The investment to go to barber school made it official - I was now a Barber.
HCHH: So your daughter was essentially born into the world of hair. Do you think she's showing any signs of loving it?
QueenCutsNRoses: My daughter is 2 now and I am definitely going to teach her how to cut hair. I always think if at the end of the day I can't show her anything else then I can at least teach her that. It's funny she hates the barbershop but when we're home she wants to do my hair just like she does her dolls' hair. I've never shown her anything about hair but she loves it.
HCHH: You've been doing this only a short time now, which surprises me because you're so damn good. How many clients would you say come in on average?
QueenCutsNRoses: On average I'd say about 10 or so regulars plus walk-ins. During the Summer time we get a lot of tourists but it slows down dramatically towards the winter and still we have great clients. It's cool because we get people from around the world having conversations you normally wouldn't with someone who's from here.
HCHH: I'm interested in how people react when they find out that you are a Barber.
QueenCutsNRoses: I love that you just asked me that! When I became a barber, I saw people come out of their shell as opposed to before where they acted like they had something to prove. They saw me go from the time before I had my daughter to making moves now and they respect me. It's a whole other level of appreciation and becoming a barber really did that.
HCHH: Well it seems like you have a great support system at Well Connected and that you have been embraced positively as a female Barber but I want to know if you have ever been rejected by a client. If so, why?
QueenCutsNRoses: I most definitely have been and because I'm a woman. At first I didn't get offended because I was new and I'm a girl- already two negatives right there. Then when I started to get better and more confident I used to get upset and think 'how dare they'? Especially if I'm working in a great barbershop like Well Connected working with guys who are amazing. Then one of my co-workers told me that a client has a right to get what they pay for and it made me look at it differently. They probably had a bad experience and I'm not going to hold it against them. I know the work I produce.
HCHH: Aside from working in the shop, do you have any upcoming projects or events you can talk about?
QueenCutsNRoses: Well as a lot of people know I've been a part of Barbers Inc TV almost a year now. Other than that I haven't been too involved in the barber community lately and people have even asked why but I think I've just been more focused on my career than the glorified version of what I'm supposed to be doing. I just don't dig it, sometimes it feels like a high school popularity contest. I definitely want to jump back into the community, though, just when I'm ready for it like you were ready to do this website and give your time to it.
HCHH: That's definitely fair. So since you spend a majority of your time at the shop, tell me a funny or crazy story that's happened there. It is New York City after all.
QueenCutsNRoses: I didn't actually experience this but the shop did. First of all, there are a lot of older or old-school drug addicts that hang in the area so it's a normal thing to see them. There was a man who sat down in front of the shop who just leaned over and hung out on our seats outside for a while. We just assumed he was doped up and on drugs. Apparently the man caught a heart attack and just died on the barbershop chair out front. After a while we tried getting rid of him and one of the barbers tried moving him but he wouldn't budge. As New Yorkers we just assume oh he's doing drugs and move on. Nobody knew because they just assumed he was drugged out. Now every time we see that we get extremely paranoid.
HCHH: So moving away from drugs and bums, I want to focus on something more appetizing. What's your favorite meal to eat when you're super busy?
QueenCutsNRoses: Honestly I'm lucky enough that I can get awesome dollar pizza. I make a pizza sandwich and I call it a day! We can make some together soon, I'll show you.
HCHH: You may be my new favorite person. And tell me, what's your favorite tool to use?
QueenCutsNRoses: My Andis Masters clippers for sure. They're my favorite because I like the fade I can accomplish with them and I feel I can manipulate the hair the best with them.
HCHH: Tell me, what's your biggest pet peeve!
QueenCutsNRoses: My biggest pet peeve...hmm...Everyone works in the barbershop, we all make money the exact same way. So why is it when there is a chore such as towels that it becomes an issue? Arguing about stuff that you should just do. It's so dumb to me. I find myself cleaning up and doing little things that men just don't do. They do it here at my current shop (Well Connected), thank goodness, but at my last shop it was horrible. My straight up pet peeve is lazy barbers.
HCHH: Do you have any goals, hopes, or dreams that pertain to your career as a barber that you’d like to share?
QueenCutsNRoses: Barbering was something I feel like I just stumbled into and it's the key to bigger things for me. I want to explore this industry and whether it's modeling for companies to represent or give female barbers a voice. I want my face and image to match. I want to be artistic and create things - I want to do more than just cut hair and branch off into whatever I can. I want to do everything but I'm not sure what it is just yet. I guess whatever the future holds, I'm ready to go with it. The more artistic side versus the hustle and competition to be perfect.
I also plan to change how men look at female barbers. I'm over the ass pictures, the photos that focus on our chest, it's annoying. Eventually I'd like it where there is no 'female' or 'lady' title in front of 'Barber' because that's exactly what I am, a Barber.
And there you have it ladies and gents: the truth and nothing less! It makes me so happy to be able to sit down with these women, on the phone or in person over drinks, and hear what they have to say. It is always a pleasure and an honor to share their stories and to be trusted with not manipulating them for my own gains. Look out for a special announcement later today about this Sunday, November 30th and Monday, December 1st.
Until Next Time,