Good Fellaz Barber Marlene Hurtado on Being the Woman for the Job

Marlene Hurtado, a barber at Good Fellaz Barber Shop in Santa Ana, can get you looking fresh.

Photo by Mariah Tauger

What’s it like to be a barber?
It’s awesome. I love it, but it is very male dominated. I work with 14 guys and one other girl.

Why a barber and not a hairdresser?
I was actually working as a hairdresser at a salon and used to be terrified if a guy walked in. I would not know how to do his hair and would recommend a male barber.
I decided to enroll in a barber school, which was the best decision of my life.

How so?
I didn’t really feel happy at the salon anymore. The ladies tended to be a bit pickier with their hair. Here, it is more laid-back. Maybe it’s because I worked at a corporate salon, and this is family owned. We had to sell products and reach a certain quota. But I loved working with hair and wanted to stay in the same field.

Are customers surprised to have you as their barber?
It’s funny; I have a lot of guys who don’t want to sit in my chair. For example, at a different shop, there was an older gentleman who walked in. I greeted him and asked if he needed a haircut, and he said “But you are a woman. What are you doing at a barber shop?” I said “Yes. I am a woman. What would you like done?”
He just turned around and walked out.

Did that discourage you?
It comes with the territory. I just use that as a motivator. I found something that I am passionate about. Hopefully in the future,
I will be able to open my own barbershop.

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