- Faith & Family
Finding a female barber is like finding a needle in a hairstack. In many places it’s an anomaly — in others they aren’t respected. But while they may be a distinct minority in the traditionally male-dominated industry, local female barbers are showing that they are just as good as men may even be better.
LaDon Quivette, owner of LaNu’s Barbershop in Wynwood for three years and a barber for 10 years, describes barbering as an evolving and enjoyable experience.
“If you do something you love, it doesn’t seem like work,” she said. “[But] I have to go above and beyond to prove myself, sometimes. There are people who come in the barbershop and think I’m the cleaning lady. It’s their option whose chair they sit in, but the money still goes to the house.”
Frederick Britt, barber instructor at William H. Turner Tech Adult Education Center for eight years, says Quivette is his only female student that has garnered any success. The other four female students never completed the class.
“I think if they got out of the mentality that it is a male-dominated field, then they would do well,” he said.
Britt said when he was younger, a woman used to cut his hair and he believes female barbers have an advantage over many male barbers.
“They know what will make a man appealing,” he said.
He says male barbers tend to follow the customers’ request while female barbers offer suggestions for a better look. Marcus Diorot agrees. His barber Miesha “Mimi” McLendon has been cutting his hair for about 15 years.
“What is special about having a female barber is it’s like a marriage,” he said. “You wouldn’t want your spouse to go out of the house looking less than up to par.”
He says McLendon has the exact same discipline with her clients. She takes her time with cutting hair and makes sure her clients look good and she pays attention to detail.
During Diorot’s “unpleasant experiences” with male barbers, he said things just weren’t the same because the barber rushed. One time he came back with rashes and razor bumps and another time with bruises.
“Every time I cheated — for whatever reason — and went to another barber, I paid for it dearly,” he said.
McLendon has been cutting hair since she was 11-years-old. Her first client was her brother.
“It was never a dream of mine,” she said. “Just something I stumbled upon.”
But now she is passionate about barbering, she adds. She has about 30 loyal male clients that have followed her to SND Signature Cuts and Salon in Miramar, where she currently works. But she remembers the days when she had to prove herself at her first gig in a flea market.
Craig “Mr. Taper” Logan, founder and education director of Barbers Only Magazine, says women barbers have it hard because a lot of men don’t trust them. When he realized their constant dilemma, he began to showcase their talent in his magazine. When he the publication four years ago, he says he had to search to find female barbers. Now more than 200 have signed up to compete for the title of one of the nation’s top female barbers next year.
By Malika A. Wright