This celebrity barber is giving homeless people free haircuts
Being homeless is one of the toughest things you could go through. Living on the streets doesn't just involve not having a roof over your head. It also goes hand in hand with fear, rejection, and judgement on a daily basis. But what people don't realise is that sometimes all people need is for someone to give them a helping hand - and sometimes even something small like a makeover can transform a helpless situation to a hopeful one.
This is exactly what Jason Schneidman believes. Jason is a celebrity hairdresser living in Los Angeles, who rubs shoulders with the rich and famous on a regular basis. Having styled the hair of Penelope Cruz, Bruno Mars, Paris Hilton and Hugh Jackman, he is one of the most successful barbers out there and gives celebs the glamorous look they seek for world premieres, TV interviews and award shows. However, Jason spends just as much time hanging out with people who are on the streets and struggling.
Rather than only offering his hairdressing abilities to the people who can pay big bucks, the successful barber has taken to the streets to give homeless people free haircuts. Running a campaign called Street Cuts, the stylist, who works at Beverly Hills salon Chris McMillan, strongly believes that changing a homeless person’s appearance helps us to perceive him or her differently, and hits the LA streets whenever he can to help out the 58,000 people who are homeless in the city.
Jason told Beauty Launchpad back in January 2018: "There are 50,000 homeless people here in L.A. alone and it’s getting worse. The County and City are all working to figure out ways of helping, so this is my part. I’m trying to bring awareness to the issue. I talk to my celebrity clients, I reach out to other stylists through my Instagram, and a lot of people are ready to pitch in. If we all do a little we can help a lot."
The campaign is close to Jason's heart, due to the fact that he was once in an unenviable situation himself. The hairdresser is also a former drug addict who hit rock bottom, but has now been sober for 13 years. One of Jason's very own white knights was his current boss, Chris McMillian who helped him get back on his feet by offering him a job at Chris McMillan The Salon, in 2002. Chris was a former cocaine and crack addict himself who had turned around his life by opening his very first salon; he reached new heights of success when he became the man responsible for creating "The Rachel" cut, the haircut that Jennifer Aniston famously sported in Friends.
One day at AA, Chris was approached by a young hairdresser who said that he would love to assist him. Deciding to give him a chance, Chris offered him a shift on Thanksgiving, a day that no other hairdresser wanted to work. But things didn't go to plan at first. Chris told Behindthechair.com: "So, he showed up on that Friday and I looked at him and said, ‘Man, you look stoned. When was the last time you got high?’ He said about 20 minutes ago. I still needed an assistant, so he stayed and helped me and, at the end of the day, I took him to treatment. He’s been clean since that day. His name is Jason Schneidman and he still works for us.”
After Chris helped him out, Jason soared to success, getting sober, marrying his now-wife Kelsie and becoming a father to two beautiful little girls. He told Beauty Launchpad: "When I first got sober—I’m 13 years sober now—I knew that part of my recovery was being of service, so I worked with addicts one on one. Then my life and career got really full, and it ultimately hit me that I could be of service to people through my work as a stylist by focusing on the 'homeless addict' side of it; the success rate for addicts recovering is better when they’re helped by other addicts."
Jason continued: "When you’re an addict, the problem is not wanting to 'show up' and not feeling good about yourself. The drugs and alcohol get you to 'OK.' So we work on the outsides first. Everyone loves a makeover, and when I ask the people I work on if it’s all right to take their picture afterwards, most of them are into it... Eventually, we’ll start talking about where they’re from and their family and it goes into my saying 'Hey, is there something I can do to help you, maybe connect you with someone? Then what happens next is to hopefully bring in facilities and programs to help work on the insides"
His story alone shows how one small gesture can have a tremendous impact on someone's life and may even end up completely changing it for the better. It serves as a reminder that no act of kindness is ever wasted. And Jason says that's exactly the point of his Street Cuts campaign: “Hopefully, I can get just one person back and make it all worth it.”