Redken artist and owner of Chicago’s Logan Parlor salon, Jamie DiGrazia (@jamiedigrazia) specializes in very short and highly textured, natural hair. She has been nominated for multiple NAHA awards and won in 2018. She is also nominated this year for barber of the Year with the T.H.E. Awards by Texture Hair Elevated and the Global Artistry Council. Jamie travels internationally to independent salons and hair shows to facilitate programs that help fellow licensed cosmetologists grow their skill set.
SC: True or false: You’ve had to work twice as hard to be perceived half as good as your male counterparts. If so, in what ways?
Jamie DiGrazia: I do not see the truth in this statement. I've worked as hard as I felt necessary to get my skill set and business to where I wanted it to be.
SC: In what ways are you trying to eliminate gender stereotypes within the barbering industry?
JD: The salon and barber Industry have always been segregated by two things, length and gender. I opened Logan Parlor with that in mind. We want to fuse the two industries, in skillset, and in community. We encourage everybody to have any hair they wish. We offer gender-free pricing and do not separate our environment. Someone will be getting a beard groom in the first chair and a hot pink balayage in the second. The third chair could be a trans child getting a gender-affirming haircut. We want to meet every guest wherever they are on the gender spectrum and celebrate them and their hair.
I know we have a lot of work to do to open people's eyes to the way things can be since sometimes we see things as they have always been. Through advocacy, social media and news outlets, magazine articles etc., we can start to see and be the change we want to see in the industry. Our collaborative hashtag is #hairhasnogender to join the movement!
I see salons and barber shops every day on social media going gender-free and I speak to it in the classes I facilitate. I offer consulting services on how to implement gender-free pricing. I can help support structuring menus and pricing services based on time and product instead of gender, and how to make it work for your team and business.
SC: When doing research for this article, I came across a lot of “Can I trust a female barber?” What is your immediate response to reading that?
JD: Honestly, my immediate response to this is that this is a ridiculous question and the person asking probably wouldn't be a great fit for me as a client or guest inside of our space. We have a few simple rules inside our space and being kind and inclusive is number one. We foster an environment where hate speech is not allowed or welcomed. We do not tolerate sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia and are a body-positive safe space.
SC: Hopefully in the future when you get interviewed, you will not be asked any questions relating to gender within your field. What can other barbers, salon/barbershop owners, and stylists do now to be allies, help break down gender barriers and create a more level playing field in barbering today?
JM: I would first move away from a gendered service menu and take a look at the physical space and see if any changes could be made to create a more inclusive environment. Creating a space that feels inviting to all. We really are one of the only industries that don't do this. Think about restaurants, they cater to all. I would hire a diverse team of staff with varying skill sets to offer a wider range of services, celebrate the team's uniqueness. Then, take a look at your social media, does the page showcase the same look over and over on the same hair type, race and gender expression? There may be room to grow there.
SC: How are you going to change the industry for up-and-coming female barbers?
JD: I hope to inspire through art, business practices, advocacy, and education in our industry.
I am a PBA member and try to stay relevant and involved with our industry through associations and education. The more big companies like Redken and SalonCentric support our ideas and equality, the more momentum this movement will have and we’ll see less pink tax, hate, and discrimination. It's time to level the playing field in this industry. Everyone needs a good haircut and anyone can give one.
SC: Are there any up-and-coming/next generation female barbers that are on your radar that we should know about?
JD: Check out @by.taylorleven owner and barber stylist at @headspacebarbershop.She's talented, inclusive and a shop owner that has education and professional development at the top of her list.
SC: What has been your proudest moment as a barber?
JD: I think it's important to note that everyone thinks I am a barber, but technically I am a licensed cosmetologist. [That said,] winning a NAHA! Not just winning and being recognized for my art but being able to advocate for our industry. Being recognized as Men's Hairstylist of the Year and sharing with the associations that I am more than just a “men's hairstylist” and I don't identify as such. I was able to use my voice to help sow change, and the NAHA is now titled “Barber of the Year” in 2022!
SC: What are you most proud of about yourself outside of your profession?
JD: My connection to spirit. I am many things and staying and being connected to my inner knowing, intuition and self-awareness are of great importance to me. I thrive to be balanced and in alignment with my soul's purpose and highest good.
SC: What’s your signature barbering technique?
JD: Mixing different elements like short and long, shaved and wavy, dark and light always keep it visually interesting.