Junior Lining Up Barber Career


Photo courtesy of Michael Juarbe

Michael Juarbe at work.

Michael Juarbe, a junior at Proviso East High School, shares his journey about becoming a 16-year-old barber and student. He shares his experiences and hardships through it and his goals. He explains his management with being a student and working towards his passion and what keeps him going through it at the end of the day.

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Juarbe let us in into how he got into the decision of fully committing to the career of becoming a barber. He shares who inspired him and the reason behind it.

M.J: Well, my great grandpa, grandpa, and father are barbers, so it runs in the family. It wasn’t something I was forced into; it was my decision to continue just like they did one after another.

He explains how long the process really was, how long it took him to start pursuing that career, including what things and people helped guide him along the way.

M.J: I would say it was right away, it didn’t take long for me to start working. I remember my dad dropped me off at the house one day from Chicago and it came to mind as to why he hadn’t taught me to start pursuing this barber life. I told him about it, and he said, “Okay, on the weekends I’ll pick you up to go the flea market to learn how to start cutting hair.” At that time, he had his own small station at the flea market where he began teaching me.

Juarbe takes us back to the first time he cut hair, how he felt and what he thought about it. Then how he started to face the big hardships with himself and people around him.

M.J: The first day I picked up the clippers, my dad told me not to be scared of doing it, to just go for it and that’s what I did. The second day I hadn’t had someone to keep teaching me when I was barely starting. Even after losing a guide, I still knew I wanted to keep pursuing it. I then needed money to buy my equipment. I started making and saving money. I would often sell some of my stuff to buy the things I needed. My mom helped me financially after some time. Because of her, I got my first clippers, trimmers, shaver, sheer, and comb. The rest of the things I would get off Amazon with my money. I eventually had some friends that would let me cut them up, which with the money I earned I paid back my mom for what she had bought me. I got a car after some time and started going to houses and cut people up even though at school people would often talk badly about my work.

After taking matters into his own hands, Juarbe tells us how he continued to work and soon got a job at a barber shop and his experience after.

M.J: I went to a barber shop and got a job there and because of it, I was able to work more and improve on my skills. Often, I would watch videos online and learn more about how to properly cut hair. I believe it didn’t fully click until four months ago.


Juarbe confessed a piece of advice that really helped him keep pushing through his hardest challenges and continue to work for more and better skills at a young age.

J.M: My Biggest hardship was not having my dad on my mind while cutting hair. I got a piece of advice that really stuck to me from a barber. He told me, “Ay, look, no matter what anyone tells you, you can do it even though we are as young as we are now; stick with your dreams.”

After his tough journey, Juarbe explains what he thought about getting this far and learning so much with people who helped him develop his persistence.

M.J: Honestly, I didn’t think I would get this far. I got into it without a vision, but I got a bigger one now. It has been hard keeping that life balanced, but I keep working for it and it’s all about dedication. That’s the message I want to give to people, to keep going.