High Style for Hair Style

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Why you should care

Because knowing something about the hand that holds the razor might help more than hurt.

“I didn’t even know I was shot.”

In the shifting sunlight of an easy California afternoon at one of the two salons where stylist extraordinaire Mikel “Cholo” Sessions plies his trade, being shot seems like a gross overreaction to a haircut gone wrong.

But Sessions, comfortably fashionable and tattooed, with a shock of green hair slicked back over his scalp, was doing everything but styling hair back then. Back then, his job involved trying to not get shot for doing his job: moving lots of dope. Sessions’ ride has been a wild one: growing up Latino in a predominantly white neighborhood in a suburb near San Jose, California; taking up boxing to stave off the beatings doled out to this smallish kid; time in the military in Germany.

In our newest and next “Secret Sides” one-on-one interview, Sessions walks us through the shooting, his incarceration, getting into and graduating from the prestigious Sassoon Academy, hairstyling, tattooing, piercings and, eventually, paying it forward. How? Running a program where, once a month, Sessions cuts and styles hair for the homeless.

“I feel blessed to be able to do what I’m doing now,” he says with a smile, adjusting his smock and looking happy, healthy and not shot. “It improves people’s lives and that’s, well, an improvement.”

Meet the man yourself in the video.

OZYTrue Story

Good stories from around the globe. Essays and immersion, into the harrowing, the sweet, the surprising -- the human.