#BeAwesometoSomebody: One Stylist’s Challenge to Change the Homeless of New York City

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Posted by Allie Winters on 4/13/2015 to Salon Ideas & Inspiration

No matter the weather, each Sunday you’ll find Mark Bustos in one place - on the streets of New York City cutting hair. During the week Bustos is a stylist at a high-end salon in Chelsea, which services famous clients like Nora Jones, Marc Jacobs and Phillip Lim. But over the weekend he works with a very different clientele, the homeless on the streets of Manhattan.


Instagram: Mark Bustos


The New York Times recently profiled Bustos and some of his new clients as he not only cut their hair but listened and learned about their lives. The profile introduces us to David Terry, a 50 year old man who is HIV positive and homeless. As Bustos puts a bib around his neck and picks up his shears, Terry tells him more about his experience being homeless. He spends his nights in Harlem at Bailey House, a non-profit that provides housing for people living with HIV. But during the day he roams. “I get very depressed because it’s like I’m on the treadmill going 80 miles an hour with the brakes on,” he said.


Bustos started offering haircuts to the homeless two years ago. “Why?” he was asked, and his response was simple, to give back. “Whether I’m giving one at work or on the street, I think we can all relate to the haircut and how it makes us feel,” Mr. Bustos said. “We all know what it feels like to get a good haircut.”


Instagram: Mark Bustos


This stylist has always had a heart for others. When he was young, he cut the neighborhood kids’ hair in his garage so they could hang on to the money their parents had given them for a professional haircut. In 2012, he visited the Philippines with his family and was so moved by the children living in poverty that he bought a barbershop in the country. He is now investing back into that local community.


On this day, the streets are his shop, and a park bench or overturned shopping cart his styling chair. Bustos cuts accompanied by Devin Masga, a photographer who takes before and after shots for his Instagram account, hashtagging each with #BeAwesometoSomebody. As you read through the comments on each of his posts, it’s easy to see how Bustos is admired for how he inspires so many to use their natural talents to touch someone else. “People ask me if I can come out with you or join your team,” he said. “My answer is just go and do it.”


Instagram: Mark Bustos


How have you helped your community? Tell us in the comments below! We’d love to hear how salon owners and stylists have given back to their community.


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