I arrived to meet two coworkers from my salon at a coffee shop in the middle of downtown Austin at around noon on Friday. But it wasn’t just any Friday. It was the Friday that marks the halfway point in the SXSW music festival. Said coffee shop was swarming with New York design hipsters and music fans from across the globe. I fought for a cup of coffee while my friend held my wardrobe options, my haircutting tools and a copy of my boyfriend’s vinyl record I had to deliver to a British music blogger of some kind who had agreed to meet me there that day for the exchange. The crew was already prepping, buzzing around delegating and filling out paperwork. We arrived, arms encumbered with supplies, caffeinated but totally unsure of what to expect. Needless to say, it was pure mayhem from moment one, and the task at hand had hardly begun.
We were in this downtown clearing to be in a commercial for Intuit GoPayment. We were to cut hair for $1.99 a pop for a line of happy clients while being interviewed on what it’s like to be a part of Austin’s local business culture. My coworkers and I rushed into the scene where we were looked over and told what to wear, strung up with tiny microphones, and equipped with workspaces to cut hair. The entire shoot was to take five hours, and there were already nearly 100 people in line. We had no idea what to expect. Out of a pile of colored wood scraps arose a — literally — “pop-up” barbershop, complete with three chairs, power, and a place to store our tools. The rest was up to the weather, which was by god windy.
We cut hair, we ate hair, we were waited on hand-and-foot to make sure our audio stayed put, our tummies stayed full, and the customers stayed happy. The lead photo was a moment when a young man with a camera yelled out to me in a Scottish accent, “I LOV YUR OATFIT!” It took me a minute to realize he meant he wanted to take my picture. It appeared a couple of days later on a site called GoTryItOn. I’m glad you can’t see the thin layer of hair clippings coating my entire body in this shot, and he captioned it, “The cutest barber.” So flattering!
When the shoot was over, the final count was about 60 haircuts between the three of us. That means we each did about 20 haircuts in five hours. Insane. Afterwards the sense of pride we felt in working so hard for a big project with a hectic schedule with everyone falling in to help one another was overwhelming. Getting a little taste of showbiz, if you could even call it that, was really thrilling. Looking at this picture I have more fond memories than one might think just from a street fashion shot. But it was a moment in a day that was monumentally exciting for me, and a great way to feel like a part of the staggering organized chaos that is Austin’s SXSW festival.
I’ll be sure to post the video when the commercial is released!