CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - Some students at the International Barber and Beauty Institute in Central Islip are shattering stereotypes, one strand of hair at a time. More women are becoming barbers, a job traditionally held by men.
IBBI director Sam Abayev told FOX 5 NY that now more so than ever before women in this field are working hard to prove they're a cut above the rest.
"It's changing right now," he said. "We have six to 10 people in a class and four to five [are] female."
Gender aside, barbers and hairstylists both work towards the same goal.
"I'd love to help people feel better about themselves because confidence is key in life," one student told us.
But a rise in female barbers over the past five years is turning up the heat and competition.
"Some customers ask for females," Abayev said.
The majority of women going into the barbering business already have a cosmetology license, which gives them the skills to cut, color, and straighten hair. And the three-month program to get their barber license teaches them clipper cuts and razor techniques.
Yosselyn Argueta has her degree in cosmetology and is now training to become a barber.
"You have more opportunities," she said. "It's easy to learn."
While some say cutting men's hair is actually more difficult because mistakes on shorter hair are more noticeable, the students we spoke to say they're up to the challenge and hope to change the industry.