Gift David is rising from the ashes of adversity and inspiring others to do so through her story. Her dream is to be one of the most celebrated female barbers in Nigeria. The 24-year-old part-time mass communication student is on a journey to make her life better and prove that women can thrive and succeed in male-dominated fields. From balancing school with her job to having to convince male customers she is good at her job, Gift’s story is what determination is all about. The Akwa-Ibom state-born female barber shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this interview.
Growing up was fun for me… It was always a full house with different kinds of drama every day, as a child acting would have been an option for me (trouble-making character lol). Never thought and wouldn’t have believed, if I was told, that I’ll be a barber.
Being a Barber
I can’t say because it was not planned.. as at the time, I usually pass time in a barbershop, so I thought, it won’t be nice just sitting here without helping out. So I started helping out by washing a customer’s hair and applying aftershave. I started finding it interesting and wanted to do more, that was how it began.
The reception has been positive. I feel very proud of myself for not holding back and following my dream. I have been inspired through my work and talking to different people while I barb their hair. I will say the reception is 90 percent welcoming and encouraging.
Balancing school and work
Combining school and work is not easy, it can be extremely stressful and tiring but it’s worth it.. when I’m at work, it’s all about work but whenever it’s time for school and studying, it’s a very important time that I try to make sure every minute counts.. still pushing it.
The satisfying expression I get from clients and these words “nice one” “good job” “thank you” and “am sorry for looking down on you, thinking you will spoil my hair”.. inspired me and keeps me going against all odds.
Young ladies out there reaching out to me, saying they would love to be like me, they want to learn how to cut hair and be a barber is the greatest reward for me.. so I am now someone others want to emulate??? WOW!!! It’s truly a good feeling to be looked up to and admired for doing what you enjoy.
It will be my joy to empower and support young women like myself who are interested in learning barbing skills. I look forward to also speaking at events to encourage more women and let them know If I can do it, they can too.
The harsh reality of Being a female barber
The harsh reality is that, no matter how good you are, there are people who will not take you seriously because of your gender. I have had customers who won’t allow me to touch their hair because I’m a woman and have had others
On giving up
There hasn’t been a time I felt like giving up. Sometimes it gets to me when people feel I don’t have the qualification to be a barber but the next minute, I am up and good, making sure I prove them wrong.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I am a woman of Rubies because I am a lady who is thriving hard to succeed in a male-dominated profession and is doing very well at it. For your platform to even recognize me?? Am on the right track.
Advice to women who want to go into the “Barbing” business
It’s fun.. every business or profession has its ups and down, but if you can survive through the discouragement and gender discrimination, together we all will earn our place in this barbering profession.