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The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

Brandon Yee: Cutting hair, not class

Brandon+Yee%3A+Cutting+hair%2C+not+class
Ava Rosoff

Excitement forms in senior Brandon Yee as he prepares to cut his friend’s hair. Yee has never given a haircut outside of his family before, and this is the first chance he’s had to put his skill into practice. Although the haircut isn’t perfect, his client is satisfied, and Yee has taken his first steps toward becoming a barber. 

Now, Yee has cut the hair of over 20 different people.

Photo Courtesy of Brandon Yee

Yee has been an active student barber at 鶹ý for almost a year. Since his debut during the pandemic, Yee has built a reputation for himself, with his clientele growing through word of mouth. Although not every haircut is perfect, Yee has learned from his mistakes to become more confident as both a barber and a person.

Yee began his haircutting journey during distance learning when many students couldn’t access barbers. At this point, he had only cut the hair of himself and his dad. His hobby was kickstarted by a haircut he gave to a friend. “One of my friends was in need of a haircut, and I kind of had experience, but not really,” Yee said. “I told my friend, ‘Hey, come over, and I’ll cut your hair,’ and he really liked it.” More of Yee’s friends turned to him for haircuts from there; however, he was initially left with varying results. “I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty inconsistent,” he said. “I was messing people up left and right. But, you know, it was quarantine, and people didn’t really care that much because they weren’t gonna go out to see anyone.” 

Yee took a break from cutting hair when in-person learning resumed but returned to the hobby in his junior year. When his first client returned to ask for a haircut before prom, Yee was hesitant, unsure if he could still cut hair well after over a year of inactivity. His friend was satisfied with the haircut, encouraging Yee to offer his services again to others. “[My first client] recommended my other friends to me, and I started cutting their hair, too,” he said. “From those recommendations, I gained more and more confidence to cut different peoples’ hair.” Since then, Yee has been cutting hair more frequently — in his garage and on 鶹ý’s campus.

I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty inconsistent. I was messing people up left and right.

— Yee

Yee’s on-campus haircuts take place in the boys’ locker room. As PE students only use the locker room to change at the start and end of class, Yee makes use of the locker room for almost all of a given block. According to Yee, PE teachers are accommodating and take no issue with his use of the room. However, when PE students do return to the locker room at the end of a block, they can be disruptive to Yee.  “A lot of freshmen start taking pictures of me, and I’m not gonna lie, it’s quite distracting,” he said. Once, he was so distracted that it impacted the quality of the haircut he was giving. “I kind of felt bad. I just gave it to him for free,” he said. 

Because of occasional mistakes like these, Yee has developed important skills beyond cutting hair. “Being a barber, you’re not just giving a haircut; you’re boosting their confidence, too,” he said. “You’re responsible for how they look, so in a way, there’s pressure to perform well. It helped me perform better under pressure in other areas of my life, knowing that I have to do well to make this guy look [good].” Although Yee may be hesitant to complete a hairstyle he isn’t familiar with, he has learned to adapt to situations quickly and confidently. “There are times that I’ve minorly screwed up on peoples’ hair, which is a big scare, but it taught me how to work around things, too,” Yee said. “There’s some spots that don’t look good, but then I learn how to fix them.”

It helped develop my confidence as a person…I’ve come to learn that people don’t really care that much.

— Yee

Being a student barber has led to lasting realizations in his personal life. “It helped develop my confidence as a person,” Yee said. “I’ve screwed my own hair up several times as well, and I’ve come to learn that people don’t really care that much. I can have a trashy haircut, and people might judge for a minute, but at the end of the day they don’t really care.”

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鶹ý the Contributors
Thomas Harrison
Thomas Harrison, Reporter
He/Him Thomas Harrison is a junior at 鶹ý. Outside of school, he loves to listen to music, go to concerts, and ignore his homework. His favorite artists include Underscores, Jane Remover, and Car Seat Headrest.
Ava Rosoff
Ava Rosoff, Multimedia Editor
She/Her Ava is a senior at 鶹ý. When not taking photos, she can be found reading, writing, or listening to her carefully curated playlists when she should probably be doing her homework. Ava also likes thrifting, drinking green tea, and watching Greta Gerwig movies.

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