Full disclosure: I have been struggling to write this next interview. Why? It seems so silly when I've not only done it before but I have so much to discuss when it comes to Angela. Like many of the other ladies I have been blessed to interview, RxBarber must run on pure adrenaline. Not only does she have her own chair but also an entire shop consisting of 11 other barbers that could be considered the gravitational force of the community.
So where do I start? Usually I have an interview debut in one nice package but when it comes to Angela, I've decided to do something different. For the first time there will be two parts to this interview, one about her personal career as a Lady Barber and one about her shop, Prescription Hair Studio. Today, I decided to introduce the lady behind the barbershop first and next week you can hear about all of the crazy stories that come along with her rise as a boss, shop owner and mentor.
Without any further introduction, it is my pleasure to publish this interview with the one and only, RxBarber.
HCHH: What inspired you to do hair?
RxBarber: I have been a Barber for 18 years but before that my family has long been in this business. I'm a 3rd generation barber, my mother was a barber and my great uncle was a pioneer opening one of the first barbershops in my hometown 65 years ago. He's still in business to this day. Of my grandfather's daughters, 3 out of 4 enrolled in barber school and my grandfather opened his own barbershop where they worked for him. I was the first grandchild to work for him and now 6 others do too. I had inspired my father and my brother to go for their Barber licenses as well and my sister is a cosmetologist.
HCHH: So it's in your blood is what you're saying. Wow. Well this seems silly but what kind of reaction, if any, do you receive from people when they find out what you do for a living?
RxBarber: In my town, it's normal. When I went to barber school there was only one man in a class of 20+ students. My grandpa's shop always had barbers that were beautiful women - everyone knew his shop was THE place to be. In other areas it's uncommon for women to be barbers, that fascinates me. In 2006 a client even submitted to UrbanDictionary.com a definition of my town, Diamond Hill, it said "You need to get your wig split, I'll take you to Diamond Hill my girl Angie will cut yo' shit!" It's amazing that I'm considered to be a defining part of my neighborhood.
HCHH: Since nobody questions a Lady Barber in your area, it seems nobody would reject you when it comes to cutting their hair. Has this ever happened?
RxBarber: Nope, nah uh, never. But I have been rejected, just not inside my shop. I think I've been looked over for many things because I have all of the credentials to teach (i.e. taking classes for my instructor license) but I just haven't taken the test yet. Hair shows, barber battles, all of these events happen and I think I get passed over a lot because I'm a female. It's unfortunate, honestly.
I won Xotics Fastest Fade at 6 minutes and 48 seconds, it wasn't even my record time (which was 3 minutes 18 seconds) but when I raised my hand the first thing they said was "You're gonna let a girl beat y'all?" Never let it intimidate you though, never let it beat you down. They're missing out, not us.
HCHH: How did you become so fast? Does this help with how many clients you see in a day?
RxBarber: For the first 13 years of my career I wasn't allowed to make appointments. I'd walk up to the shop on a Friday or Saturday and have 20 regular clients waiting to be cut by me. I had to be fast to make up time. I was also given a lot of kids which all barbers know you have to be fast because they don't stay still very long.
HCHH: Biggest pet peeve, name it! This can pertain to anything involving the shop, a client or on set.
RxBarber: My biggest pet peeve is cussing in the shop. I even keep the television family friendly, usually 80's movies because they have minimal cursing and no sex scenes so I try to keep that playing. Every one in my shop gets the cold hard stare when I hear a cuss word. I also don't like when clients don't clean up after themselves like their chips or soda. My barbers know I expect the same from them in regards to cleaning up after lunch or around the shop.
HCHH: And tell me, dear cutting machine, what's your favorite tool to use?
RxBarber: Currently, my favorite is the Andis Model 10's. I used to love using the Classic 76ers but I switched. Honestly, I will use anything even if I have to use Conair. I won't bash products, but I do have my preference and I am definitely an Andis girl.
HCHH: You already seem so busy but something tells me that's not all of it. Do you have any events or projects coming up?
RxBarber: I belong to an organization called Lone Star Barber Alliance where 6 other barbershops and myself try to unite everyone while promoting each others' shops. We've decided to put on a Barber Battle in March 2015 where everyone can participate.
I also actively work with an organization called Dreaming the Cure. They donate money for pediatric brain tumor research. In April 2015 they will have an outdoor even where there's low-rider car shows and other fun things. My shop will be doing $5 minimum donation haircuts. You can find the huge following under the hashtag #DreamingTheCure
HCHH: I'm guessing with all of this going on you don't have much time to eat. As always, I have to ask, what's your favorite snack?
RxBarber: I don't eat! I know it sounds terrible but sometimes if I don't eat breakfast, my first meal could be as late as 3 or 4pm. I'll always have a Spark energy drink though.
HCHH: I hope you know the Jew in me wants to feed everyone so you're next on my list. Is there anything else you wanted to add personally?
RxBarber: I see a lot of trendy barbering going on and I love the creativity. There's so many barbers who are innovative and coming out with all different styles but I feel that traditional barbering is a lost art. I don't only mean the hairstyles or cuts but the family and community aspect is getting lost. It's so important to realize that we are a huge part of the community and some barbers fail to realize how much of an example we set for the kids who come in. It's cool to be recognized by Instagram or barbers in another state but it's cooler to be respected by your clients. I'm loved by my community and that is SO important.
I couldn't stop smiling after this interview. Angela truly defines what it means to be a pillar of a community, a skilled barber and what our industry should aspire to be. Setting the bar for the rest of lady barbers, RxBarber has definitely broken barriers and without a doubt will continue to. Please join me next week in our first ever back to back, two part interview on Thursday at 11 AM EST. As always, your support is amazing and I'm enthralled. Catch you next week!