Behind The Chair Show 2017 Artists Give Haircuts to the Homeless
It was BTC’s third year organizing the Mark Bustos-inspired initiative to bring Behind The Chair Show artists together to give haircuts at a local shelter. This year, a group of 15 amazing hairdressers volunteered their time and skills at the Salvation Army Austin downtown shelter. Two hours and 54 haircuts later, they proved, once again, that hairdressers really do touch more hearts than hair.
“It seems like such a simple thing, to get our hair cut,” says Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator Donna Clendennen. “But to [these residents] it meant the world. They all left with a smile…many left with tears in their eyes.”
As each of these hairdressers learned, perspective is everything.
“It’s absolutely incredible to see how positive people can be when times are tough,” says Paul Mitchell’s David Lowry. “We get stressed in our day-to-day lives, but we forget about the simple things, like the fact that we have air conditioning, or a bed to sleep in. I’ll never forget that.”
“All these people want is to be recognized as people,” said L’ANZA’s Leah Freeman. “They’re all people. We’re all people. That was my biggest takeaway today. It’s so easy to judge a person so quickly…But I think all of us in that room held no judgment today.”
Leah even took one of her guests—a social worker at the Salvation Army—as her plus one to the #ONESHOT Hair Awards two days later.
“I’m often asked, ‘How can I do this in my community?'” says BTC’s Janet Bardin-Gordon, who organized the event. “Research shelters and outreach programs in your community. Call the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, or ask a public school counselor to provide a list of locations. Contact the shelter, explain that you and some of your stylists would like to come in and provide free haircuts. Then, work through the planning, knowing you won’t have shampoo sinks, and in some cases, sufficient power. Keep it simple, and use a spray water bottle, dry shampoo, shears, clippers and styling products. You’ll be amazed by what you can do with very little in the way of tools. Spending time with each person and the gift of making them feel better about themselves will leave a lasting, positive impression on someone in need.”
Scroll through the slideshow above to see the transformations and the residents’ responses to their new looks.
If you’re interested in organizing your own Haircuts for the Homeless event, here’s how.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the event this year: Victory’s Mark Bustos, Matty Conrad and Kevin Luchmun, L’ANZA’s Leah Freeman, Ammon Carver and Matt Swinney, Paul Mitchell’s David Lowry and Nikki Fussell, Matrix’s Dilek Onur-Taylor, Michael Albor and Robin Pruitt, Pulp Riot’s Doug Theoharis, Joico’s Ricardo Santiago as well as Sam Wall, Erica Keelen and BTC’s Katie Gould and Janet Bardin-Gordon.