Welcome back to dapperQ’s ongoing queer barber and hair stylist interview series: Queer Cuts. This week we’re celebrating Brie Coons, a Quincy, Massachusetts based barber who also holds a cosmetology license. *Feature image by Craig Johnston.
dapperQ: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your shop.
Brie: Since 2008, I have lived in Boston, MA building my hair career. In 2012, I received the “Best Men’s Haircut” award by Boson Magazine! From then on, short hair has been my niche. I’ve never really had long hair myself, growing up very much a tomboy. I just could always relate better to giving the client what they needed for shorter hair.
Currently I’m working on putting the two licenses (barber and cosmetology) together, because of the laws in Massachusetts. I now work at barber shop in Quincy, MA called Crew Cutz. I also still work at a salon in the South End called Pure Hair Design in Boston. The barber shop is in a great area in Quincy Center, so I get a very diverse clientele at both establishments. It’s also family oriented so we get everybody and anybody. I’m really glad they found me on Facebook and asked me to come join their team. No one has questioned my skills based off of me being a girl or for the way I look and dress. So, that’s been amazing to feel welcomed.
Brie at work
dapperQ: Queer fashion sites like dapperQ and Qwear are often asked, “What is queer style?” Does it exist? And, if so, what sets queer style apart from other aesthetics? Along the same lines, many of our readers ask us about queer hair styles (e.g. is there such a thing and where are the best places to get one). Do you believe that “queer hair styles” are a discernible aesthetic? If so, what makes them unique?
Brie: There most definitely is a thing called “queer style” now. It is for sure a discernible aesthetic. I’m always told I have my own style. But, I realized there are others like me, which is great! People can start to tell what my style is, but it is still on the line of being a hairdresser with crazy hair and style versus being an open lesbian with queer style [laughs]. Not everyone sees that still. What I’ve noticed a lot in the gay/queer/LGBTQ community as a whole is that we are the ones who are “allowed” to have the most “fun” hair. We are defined by our hair.
I have so many queer clients, because I can relate to them and make them feel comfortable and understand how they want their hair, or help them get to the next level with coming out and maybe finally having that short, funkier haircut that they are finally comfortable in. I do think that short hair is still a bit of a stereotype, but right now it’s also a major trend with all and any women to chop it off! Look at all the celebrities who now have pixies, or bobs at least.
dapperQ: Do you see queer hair as being political? If so, in what ways?
Brie: Queer fashion is a statement. It’s a little blending of everything. We show who we are, and from my experience, the hair plays a huge role. It’s becoming political as more and more women cut their hair off and get a “traditional men’s cut.”
dapperQ: What are some trends you are seeing in queer cuts?
Brie: Some trends right now in queer cuts would most definitely be the side part. This classic “men’s: cut looks great on everyone! I have a big gay and lesbian clientele and I do the same cut for both of them: long on top and high and tight on the sides. This year has been an amazing year for hair trends. Almost anything goes. Having some part of your head shaved is a pretty popular trend for the queer community.
dapperQ: How do you understand your clientele different from the way a classic barbershop does?
Brie: I can understand my clients in a different way than a classic barber does first off because I come into it not as a barber, but as a cosmetologist, so I already have a different approach to cutting hair as a whole. But, mainly as I talked about earlier, I understand their hair and the struggle that might be going on inside their head. I went through it! I remember one of the first times I went to a salon in my small town of New Hampshire and how nervous I was. My hair was so short when I left and I wasn’t quite ready to own it. I was probably like 15. I’m more approachable; I won’t look at you crazy or judge who I might think you are, because I am You.
Photo by Craig Johnston
dapperQ: What are your rates?
Brie: I knew I always wanted to live in a city and so that’s even better for my career. At the salon I charge $55-$65. I have even chosen to step back and make less money to learn a new trade as a barber, because I’m passionate about what I do. The barbershop charges $20 for a haircut.
I can now give my clients the full service, with using the razor. Mostly, I specialize in haircuts. I don’t do much color. When I was awarded “Best Men’s Haircut,” I went back to school to learn as much as I could. I don’t want clients coming to me for just a haircut and then going across the street for a beard trim. I want to blend the two worlds together – be the full package.