U.S. Veteran finds passion for Barbering during Military Service

Next Class Starts: Jul 9th
Next Class Starts: Jul 9th

Blog May 15 2019

Interview led by Behind the Chair:

All hairdressers can tell you the moment they discovered their passion for hair, and when we heard the story of Kristyl Rodriguez (@tacticalbarberofficial)—a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who’s currently enrolled at Bellus Academy in Poway, Calif.pursuing an education in professional beauty—we knew there was an important message to share. “It doesn’t matter where you begin or how you begin. I want to be able to spark that passion into people where we’re making this industry ten times better, we’re learning from our history and we’re carrying on that legacy,” shares Kristyl. Read her story below.

The Beginning: Inspiration Can Strike Anywhere
Kristyl joined the Marine Corps in 2014 and was enlisted at the age of 19. Her first duty station was in Okinawa, Japan, followed by a field operation in Korea. Every Sunday during Kristyl’s time in Korea, a barber would visit the site and give haircuts to the Marines. But then, this happened: “I was in a tent doing my own hair,” shares Kristyl. “I would just do shape ups and line ups for myself, nothing too crazy, when I had a Marine Sergeant come up to me and ask me for a haircut. I had never cut anybody’s hair before but I jumped right into it and he ended up loving it…and with his outreach and leadership, literally the next day, I had 13 Marines lined up for me.”

This is the first moment that Kristyl considered barbering as a future career—she settled on charging $5 a haircut and that was it. With a strong intrinsic motivation and entrepreneurial spirit, she worked overnight shifts on guard duty from 12a.m. to 8a.m., then cut hair during the days. What Kristyl learned was profound: Hairdressers touch more hearts than heads and every time you service a client, there’s impact.

The Impact of A Haircut
“As a Marine, the standards for appearance are at an all-time high. The uniform has to be squared away and ironed. Everything needs to be flush, measured properly—there’s a lot of attention to detail,” shares Kristyl. “I was looking at Marines from head to toe. It tore up my heart because we’re the finest people of this nation and we need to be walking around as such. That’s where the impact in my mind and heart came from, and I wanted to be able to transmit that through my hands to the people around me…and have them walk around feeling proud and good from head to toe, and representing this nation as such.”

Finding Creativity Within Strict Limitations
Kristyl found opportunities for creativity and personality within the strict military protocol. “You can still be free and have structure,” shares Kristyl. The universal men’s grooming standard is skin fade (100 percent automatic) and there are three options: medium fade, high fade or high and tight. “I wanted them to have personality as well, so they could still be themselves while respecting regulations,” says Kristyl. “You don’t want to lose your identity, but when you’re being so restricted you’re bound to in a sense, so you need to remind yourself of who you are and don’t forget it.” 

Similarities In Service: Military & Barbering 
After returning from service, Kristyl asked herself what the next challenge and chapter in her life would be. That’s when she decided to pursue her education as a barber at Bellus Academy. Learning from her own history and looking forward, she found many similarities in her service and serving as a barber:

  • Leadership and the ability to lead oneself, admit your own faults and weaknesses and always seek self improvement.
  • The use of measurements on uniform translates to the attention to detail on a haircut or the structure of the haircut.
  • There’s logic (go by the books) and there’s freestyle (when sometimes the books don’t work for certain heads.) There’s measurement and there’s free will where you figure it out on your own.

Beauty Changes Lives: The Power of Education
As Kristyl continues her education, she continues to challenge herself like entering (and winning!) the Sydell & Arnold Miller Family “Art of Haircutting” Student Scholarship which is administered by Beauty Changes Lives. The scholarship covers tuition for a student up to $5,000. “I think education is so important,” shares Kristyl. “I want people to know me as someone who educated themself, to see my selflessness to serve my country and now this industry—and my giving heart.”

To watch her Beauty Changes Lives entry video click here:

 

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Why Choose Bellus?

Travel the World

We offer International Certification (ITEC) which allows our graduates to work in 38 countries around the world.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Top Job Placement

Our career services team and student mobile app make finding your dream career so much easier.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Business & Marketing Training

Classes that prepare you to own a business and market yourself.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Our Reputation

Bellus is the most awarded beauty and wellness institution in the country and Intercoiffure recently ranked us the #1 beauty school in North America!

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Compete in Competitions

Our students have a history of succeeding at national student competitions including TrendVision and America’s Beauty Show.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

We're Tech Savvy

Our app gives 24/7 access to academics, attendance and job postings. Select programs offer social learning on iPads, which are included in the student kit.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Exam Prep

All of our programs include a mock state board test to prepare you for the state license exam and our kits include the state board kit and licensing fees.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Top Educators

We invest in our educators to ensure that they are trained in the latest industry techniques and trends.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Externships

Our relationships with high-end salons in Southern California allow students to network with top stylists and owners. (CA campuses only)

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

We Give Back

We have an undeniable passion for humanity. Our schools are honored to give back and participate in community events while utilizing our technical skills.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Multiple License Programs

Bellus is proud to offer combined courses that allow you to enroll in one program and graduate with multiple credentials.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »

Alumni Benefits

We give our graduates access to job postings, the opportunity to attend campus events and alumni scholarships for advanced education.

See all Top 12 Reasons to Choose Bellus »
Adrianna

Cosmetology

“The teachers were amazing! Without Bellus, I wouldn’t have the rewarding life I have today. School was something I looked forward to every single day. I can’t believe I have a job that I love going to every day.”

- Adrianna
Read more success stories »
Jonyse

Esthetics

“My life has changed so much. Within eight months of graduating, I now own a successful wax bar. I am forever grateful for the great education I received at Bellus Academy.”

- Jonyse
Read more success stories »
Clare

Massage

“For the past year I have been working on super-yachts in Spain as a massage therapist for billionaires and have loved every second of it! I don’t know what I would’ve done without Bellus’ training and expertise.”

- Clare
Read more success stories »
Kelsey

Nails

“I love how hands-on the nail program is at Bellus. I am a visual and hands-on learner and I appreciated the time and focus on my advancement throughout the program. I would definitely recommend Bellus Academy to anyone interested in beauty and wellness education, especially the nail program!”

- Kelsey
Read more success stories »
Jessica

Make-Up

“The program and educators in Make-up Artistry are exceptional. The curriculum was so well designed that each day I couldn’t wait to get to school and begin the next step in learning high-end makeup. I feel very comfortable after taking this class to apply for a job anywhere in makeup, including a Hollywood studio, theater, photography or in a high-end salon and spa.”

- Jessica
Read more success stories »
man shave

Barbering

“As a cosmo crossover, the Barbering Program was not only an excellent way to brush up on the basics, but also the best way to take my career to the next level. The staff was so helpful in every aspect and I highly recommend the program.”

- Johnny
Read more success stories »

Disclosures

View our Disclosures & Consumer Info along with the Net Price Calculator
Click here

Financial Aid

Yes! Financial Aid is available to those who qualify.
See financial aid options

Flexible Schedule

We offer day & night classes. We also have new classes starting every month.
See upcoming class starts