Haircuts give everyone a renewed sense of self worth. Imagine what a haircut would do to a person who hasn’t felt good about themselves in years?
Nasir Sobhani was born and raised in Japan, went to college in Canada, spent time volunteering in Vanuatu, and now works in Australia perfecting his craft as a barber.
Just a few years ago, the 26-year-old was battling a drug addiction. After finishing a rehab program, his family suggested he follow his hobby and his passion — cutting hair. “It’s my new drug,” he explains in this video for Plgrm.
Now nicknamed “The Streets Barber”, Sobhani spends his days off bringing fresh cuts and fresh perspectives to the homeless of Australia.
“I remember the days of when I would just hate myself and not even look in the mirror without crying, because I would just be so disgusted with who I was,” said Sobhani. Sobhani took his new sobriety and that feeling of disgust and turned it into a positive. On his days off, the Streets Barber gives free haircuts to the homeless.
The Streets Barber Helps The Homeless With More Than Just Spare Change
He chronicles his journey on his Streets Barber Instagram account. Along with each cut, Sobhani explains each man and woman’s story as to how they ended up homeless. Each tale is as crushing as the next but there is a glimmer of possible hope in the face of each person showing off their new haircuts. The Streets Barber hopes the cuts are a step in the right direction to a positive change in their lives.
Here are some of my favorite cuts and faces from The Streets Barber Instagram account.
This is Chris. He was 21 years old when I met him and his birthday was the following day. He has no family which he can contact or be with – he has basically been entirely alone for the past 11 years. He has been on the streets and homeless since he was 10. Yeah, I know, insane but a sad reality. I asked him how that’s possible and his reason gave me chills. “I hated having to constantly wear extra layers and warm clothing at school when it was hot” he said quietly. I asked him what he meant by that and he said that it was to cover up the bruises from getting hit by his dads. “Dads?!” I said, and he replied “Ya, both by my real dad and also my step-dad”. He elaborated and told me that he was mostly with his mom and step-dad – who was very abusive and beat him. Then his mom sent him to live with his ‘real dad’ and the abuse kept coming. There was no escape and he had more than he could take, so he took sanctuary to the streets. At the age of 11 he found himself smoking ice and eventually got into heroin too. When I met him he was very timid and shy and so the few people I was with had left, allowing for a more intimate session which allowed him to open up and be more comfortable. However, I think it’s best that I keep what he said between us for some things are just better to stay at the shop – which are the streets to me. He had been wearing a beanie for ages which made his hair on the WHOLE back of his head into one deadlock. I had to cut away using scissors slowly and carefully. I couldn’t give him any style due to the fact that his hair was so dead. We shaved his head, then his face. It was difficult to shave his neck (under his chin) due to the open sores he had from the meth use but he insisted he wanted to clean up – so I did the best I could. We finished off with a thorough dry shampoo and aftershave treatment. He looked at the mirror and was the happiest I had seen him since I had met him – which warmed my heart. He never got the chance to properly experience a childhood, let alone his youth. Hopefully in his 22nd year and beyond he’ll be able to start experiencing more positivity, love and happiness in his life. Happy birthday Chris
A photo posted by Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) on
This is Mark. He’s 28 years old. He hasn’t had contact with his family for nearly a decade. I’ve known of Mark for a while now and would show him love everytime I bumped into him, and he would reciprocate with so much joy. You could tell he just wanted someone to talk to. Today when I saw him on the street, I asked if he’d be interested in a cut. His eyes lit up as he said “Ya man, I haven’t had a chance to get groomed in 8 or 9 months.” He told me he’d been homeless for 3 years. He said it wasn’t drugs which led him to the streets – that although he uses both heroin and meth occasionally, he does so more for social reasons, so he can ‘fit in’ and feel like he has friends. He got kicked out of his accommodation 3 years ago and hasn’t been able to land a proper job or home since. He suffers from mental illness too – “I’m really depressed and hear voices in my head, Nas” – he told me, and that’s another reason why he’s on the streets. He has no support system and doesn’t really have friends. He is lonely and just wants people to show him love and accept him. He said he often thinks about reconnecting with his family, especially during Christmas and New Years when he’s alone. Listening to his story I just felt sick to my stomach at how neglected he felt. He has no support system, no friends and no family to support him. He actually didn’t even have proper clothes on! His jeans were ripped and falling off his waist. He had no underwear on, and his shirt was also ripped and dirty. I had to go the full 9 yards on the brother! I went and bought him a new outfit and really took my time grooming him – with a cut, beard trim, dry shampoo, aftershave, and style. Looking at him afterwards I was quite taken aback myself and told him “Mark, you look so good bro” and he responded with “I know, and I feel GREAT!”. That response made me so happy and I just took his hand and said “I hope you realize you’ve made a friend for life now.. see you around soon.” I love this guy – his sincerity and open heart. Thanks for opening my eyes, Mark. Bless. #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber #thestreetsbarberproject
A photo posted by Nasir Sobhani (@thestreetsbarber) on
This is Dre. A 27 year old father of three. Dre is a Maori from New Zealand and left New Zealand 2 years ago with his mom – mostly due to gang violence and affiliation. He had a major problem with drinking back in New Zealand and because of that it led to the divorce between him and his ex wife (who is now in custody of his three children). He told me he misses his children so much and doesn’t go a day without thinking of them – with such sadness it broke my heart to hear. I asked him what led him to the streets, and Dre told me it was because his mother (whom he lived with here in Melbourne) had died from heart complications. He also got into Crystal meth while living here and the combination of both things led him to be a resident of the streets. When I met him and offered my services he asked me to give him the “south Auckland cut” – which is a pushed back hairline and sharp line up. I also gave him a undercut, shaved his face and a thinned out goatee – as per request. I insisted that I do something for the longer hair on his head by combing out his knots (almost dreadlocked hair) cut his split ends (practicly his whole head) and gave him a dry shampoo treatment. I tried my best to revive his almost dead hair. I finished off by wiping his face abd neck down with baby powder and a sweet smelling aftershave lotion. After our experience together, he saw a photo and was like “Nas bro, I dont feel homeless anymore, can we take a photo and send it to my kids?” #cleancutcleanstart #thestreetsbarber
Check out more amazing photos at the Streets Barber Instagram account.