By Miranda Ericksen
Pablo Carrera Garcia, an up-andcoming barber at Barba in Denver, recently won a scholarship through the SportClips National Battle of the Hair: Student Edition in the men’s competition. The award was presented during the annual SportClips National Huddle in Fort Worth, Texas.
He was one of six students selected out of a pool of more than 35 submissions to travel to Fort Worth for the final awards ceremony in May.
In order to be considered, Carrera had to send in four packages of photos in February, each with before-and-after images, profile photos, and back and front images.
Only students actively enrolled in cosmetology or barbering school are allowed to enter, and they must have at least an 80% average for attendance and grades. They must also have completed at least 50% of the curriculum to be eligible to enter. The judges evaluate the submitted images and select winners.
Carrera and five other finalists were invited to attend the National Huddle, where SportClips also paid for their hotel and meals.
During the final ceremony, Carrera was announced as one of six winners of a $5,000 scholarship. He also had the opportunity to network and enjoyed meeting Jean Paul Jones DeJoria, billionaire co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products.
“It was so cool meeting a billionaire. I felt really empowered to be around him,” Carrera said.
Carrera enrolled at Emily Griffith Technical College in May 2022 with the intention of earning his barber certification as quickly as possible. Due to the school schedule, he completed his education and received his certification this spring.
He funded his education entirely out of pocket and intends to use his $5,000 prize money to recoup the expenses incurred while he was in school. It was during his time at Emily Griffith Technical College that Carrera learned the techniques that allowed him to win the SportClips competition.
“I learned how water and heat can impact hair texture and elasticity,” he said. “I had to spend time experimenting with thermal tools and matching the right products to get the results the client is asking me for.”
Carrera said he got into barbering because it aligned with his independent spirit and natural ability to talk to anyone. He enjoys renting booth space at Barba and appreciates the flexibility to manage his own schedule.
“I love having the liberty to work at my own pace and take time off if I need to,” he said.
In terms of furthering his career on top of this near-immediate success, Carrera intends to stay focused on the basics. He wants to build a strong base of clients in Denver, have a fully booked and consistent schedule, and continue proving himself worthy of an already stellar reputation.
While still enrolled at Emily Griffith, Carrera began looking for barbershops in Denver that aligned with his goals of being in a centralized location with good parking and great atmosphere. He kept passing by Barba and was impressed with their social media presence and Denver Nuggets clientele.
He appreciated that “all of the barbers were really involved in the Barba social media presence and their portfolios were all really impressive.” Carrera reached out to the owner of Barba, Eddie Diaz, who was engaged by Carrera’s portfolio.
Once Carrera received his license, Diaz offered him a space at Barba, located at 3460 Park Ave. West, suite D. Carrera said he is excited about the future of his career at Barba and beyond. He also said he “really enjoys the mullet trend, they are so fun to cut and easy to maintain in between appointments.”