Inside the Story: Woman's drastic haircut inspires new career as a barber

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Woman's drastic haircut inspires new career as a barber (Photo: Courtesy Kylee Howell)

(KUTV) One haircut led to a life-changing experience for Kylee Howell. And her story has gone viral.

She went from very long hair to very short hair--which led her on a totally unexpected career path.

Howell, 29, grew up in Carbon County where her mom ran a hair salon.

"It was definitely a very traditional, like girly-girl beauty parlor kind of upbringing," Howell said.

But Howell knew something was different--she didn't like "girly" things.

"I just didn't have a lot of interest in that. I played in the dirt a lot of the time," she said.

When she was about 25 years old, she knew it was time for a new look.

(KUTV) "I had long hair down to the middle of my back," she said. "It was the 90s, so there were a lot of perms and big bangs."

So she decided to cut it short--really short. The new look changed her life.

"When I cut my hair short it was more who I actually was. I wasn't just trying to pretend anymore," she said. "I felt like me."

While getting a haircut, she felt the urge to quit her job and enter the mostly man's world of barbering, even though family told her otherwise.

"There was no money in it, people didn't take it seriously," said Howell as she described what people told her.

She beat the odds and got her license, eventually opening up her very own shop.

"I love it," she said. "Every time I flip on the lights it's like, 'yes, this is mine.'"

She named her shop Friar Tuck's--after Robin Hood's sidekick.

"He was a skilled swordsman, kind of a chubby guy, and he used his authority in the church to educate poor people," Howell said.

And by coincidence, the barber shop is located in Sherwood Forest of all places.

Howell's story caught the attention of a new national Dove campaign of what true beauty is all about.

The video has gone viral with now more than two million hits.

For Howell, it's a chance to share her story in hopes of letting others know that beauty lies within.

"Most people think that because I don't fit the tradition standard of beauty that I just don't care, when really I care in a different kind of way," she said.

Since the Dove video was released on YouTube, Howell says the response from other women has been overwhelming.

For more about Friar Tuck's Barbershop, visit its Facebook page.