CHRIS AQUILA

Photographer | Drew Castaneda

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First and foremost, how did your journey into becoming a barber start?

CA: I never actually sat down and planned on cutting hair, it kind of just happened. Ten years ago I ended up living in a halfway house after some drug charges and jail time. During my stay in the halfway house, I needed to find a way to adapt  to my new living circumstances. Part of that adaption was cutting hair in the garage for cigarette and food money — it was how I got by. When you stay at a halfway house you are required to get a job and the thought of working a regular job made me want to kill myself or relapse. Hesitant if I wanted to attend or not, I enrolled in hair school. At first I didn’t want to go, but once I did a walkthrough of the school and realized it was all girls (versus the halfway house full of drug addicted dudes) I was sold.



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Why’d you decide to leave the shop you were originally working for?

CA: Everything is energy and I had to listen to that energy and make a move. I had a vision of what I wanted for my clients and I couldn’t maintain that there any longer. It was a risk and I was nervous to do it, but it was hands down the best decision I made all year.



What would you say is the most fulfilling aspect of your craft?

CA: There really are two answers to this question for me. The first would be the relationships I’ve built with my clients over the years and the second is the fact that it never really feels like work. I get to listen to music, talk shit and make people feel good about themselves while getting paid for it. What else could I ask for?


What’s the end goal for you as a barber?

CA: I really don’t know at the moment. I think I need to set some new goals because I have already accomplished more than I ever planned to. At the moment I’m just trying to be better than I was yesterday. The second that becomes an issue I will probably hang it up.  



January is a time of reflection and reinvention, what type of values/lessons did you learn from 2018 that you want to carry with you into 2019?

CA: I learned that some people will grow with you and others won’t. Also, some people will support your growth and others will hate you for it. But most importantly I learned the value in sacrifice and putting in a lot of hard work.  



Raylene PereyraComment