Earning a spot on Wahl’s Education and Artistic Team is a great achievement for any barber, so when Benny Machado saw the opportunity to win his spot by taking part in their online barber battle, he knew he had to give it a shot:
“I had been cutting hair for seventeen years and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to not only use my experience but to try and get into educating. It’s something I’ve always looked forward to in my career.”
The outcome? Benny emerged victorious from the contest – third time lucky, as he’d managed to scoop second place in two previous battles before this one. So how did it all work?
Well, Benny actually spotted the competition on Instagram, where Wahl were calling for barbers to show off their skills by submitting three videos: one fade, one pompadour and one creative cut. Benny explains how he managed to create the shots – from choosing the model to getting the design just right:
“Fades and pompadours are very common but there weren’t too many willing models for the creative cut I wanted to achieve. I noticed a lady while I was eating at a restaurant and managed to convince her to model for me. I really wanted to do something different. I looked to Google for inspiration and noticed some flowers, hibiscus, in fact. I incorporated that design onto her hair and my first attempt worked out!
“We recorded the videos with such anticipation but the filming, editing and having to travel for work in the shop in between was really tough but it paid off. I was exhausted but it paid off. Choose your canvas, create the right design on the right model. Preparation is key and let your personality shine through. The clippers do the work, the metal is always stronger than hair. Let the tools do their job.”
The one part of the process that Benny couldn’t prepare for was actually finding out that he had won! The Wahl Education and Artistic Team sent Rick Morin (Flawless Barbershop) along to Benny’s shop – Executive Barber – under the pretence of wanting an out-of-hours haircut. When he arrived, though, he had a full camera team by his side. “I had no idea, I really just thought I was working late to cut a client for $100!”
So how has life changed for Benny since winning this prestigious award? Life has certainly got busier, and now he’s rushed off his feet responding to all of the emails and social media messages from people who want to benefit from a little of his expertise. Alongside this, there’s the new educational side to his career, and he has plans to keep growing into his new role. After all, as he tells us, it’s challenging yourself that keeps your work fresh:
“I chose to take part in order to challenge myself. I was completely out of my comfort zone and that is what makes you grow. That pushes you to be better. It was very challenging. I was nervous making my stage debut but if we don’t face our fears, we can’t grow. Ultimately that’s what I’m doing here, pushing myself. It’s scary but exciting and without that feeling people get complacent.”
The other big change is the introduction of exclusively Wahl tools into his shop. ““I had other brands in the shop before I won the contest but now we are solely Wahl. I don’t think I’ll ever buy another set of clippers. I look for power, reliability and speed for the haircut I want to execute.” And is there one clipper that stands out above the rest? “If I want to snip a lot of hair in one shot, I go for Wahl’s Legend clipper. I mostly use that alongside the Wahl Detailer trimmer. With these two tools I can create anything.”
But Benny’s success hasn’t been all about boosting his own profile – he also wants to see other barbers challenge themselves and raise their game. One way of doing so is to join Wahl’s new Wahl Professional Ambassador Program. It gives you early access to new products, news and special deals, as well as useful industry insights. We also recommend looking for @mr_executive_barber on Instagram and Facebook if you want to follow Benny’s work and see what one Virginia barber can create with a pair of Wahl clippers.
“My dad bought me my very first pair of clippers when I was a teenager. They were Wahl and it led me to where I am now. Dad always wanted me to be a barber. Now, as a Wahl educator, I want to grow and become the best I can be.”