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Barber student Danny Garcia stands behind a barber's chair with three trophies standing around him.

Barbering student Danny Garcia shows off his first-place trophies from the 2023 Carolina Barber and Beauty Hair Show. [Photo by Natasha Brown]

Danny Garcia, despite being just 22 years old, has been cutting hair for years, starting with his own.

“I started cutting my own hair back in middle school,” the St. Pauls native said.

Before long, Garcia was giving haircuts to his family members and friends. Now, as a student in FTCC’s Barbering program, Garcia gets to share his passion with clients outside his immediate circle.

Not only does the program allow him to sharpen his skills; it gives him the opportunity to do the thing he loves most as a barber — make personal connections with people.

“And I used to cut my friends’ and they liked it, so seeing them happy made me happy, too.” Garcia said. “And sometimes, people are going through stuff, so they’ll talk it out with you and that helps.”

Garcia showed off his skills last month at the Carolina Barber and Beauty Hair Show, held Aug. 18-20 at the Crown Complex.

He took first place in the freestyle design competition in both the amateur and professional divisions, and FTCC was awarded a trophy for having the most college-affiliated people attend the competition.

Along with barbers and stylists from North and South Carolina, Garcia said he saw competitors from as far away as Atlanta on the floor.

Barbering student Danny Garcia uses clippers on a client's hairline.

Garcia cuts fellow student Hector Moret’s hair in the FTCC Barbering shop. [Photo by Natasha Brown]

Before coming to FTCC, Garcia described himself as being self-taught in the trade.

“I watched Instagram videos and YouTube videos,” he said. “And in the last year or so, I’ve been trying to work on teaching other people.”

David Richardson, FTCC’s Barbering program coordinator, said Garcia is a natural talent.

“Some people just have a gift that they’re born with, and Danny’s definitely one of them,” Richardson said. “He came in with a strong skill set. He’s a good listener, and he’s confident in his ability. That’s what it really takes to be successful.”

Garcia said he currently has a team of barbers who are developing their skills and their client networks together. But ultimately, he’d like to open his own barbershop in St. Pauls.

“We’re a bunch of young guys who are trying to get our name out there across the country,” Garcia said. “And hopefully within a year or two, I’ll have my own shop.”