The Interview: With Best All round Barber 2023, Josh Lamonaca

Published 14th May 2024 by Josie Jackson

We sat down for The Interview with Best All Round Barber 2023, Josh Lamonaca to discuss his big win at the Modern Barber Awards and what his plans are for 2024...

What made you enter the Modern Barber Awards?

I haven’t entered any awards for a long time. When I came into the industry, it was a huge thing to enter and compete but then as I started educating people it just didn’t feel like it fit with who I was at the time. After having kids and gaining a global reputation, I decided that I wanted to enter some competitions and show my children that you can win if you try hard enough. My intention changed. I feel Best All Round Barber specifically represents my skills. I remember coming into the industry and not shying away from any hair. For me this represents something that I’m passionate about, which is cutting curly hair, long hair, short hair, blonde hair, afro hair, women’s hair, men’s hair - all types.

Did you enjoy putting your entry together?

I’ve got loads of imagery that I don’t put on Instagram, because I’m too busy so it was great to see it together. With this particular collection I put in some Afro, some blonde hair, short hair and mid length hair, so it gave me quite an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.

Tell us a bit about becoming a barber and an educator?

I started in men’s hair, but after a year at college, I went into women’s hair. My teacher at the time said to give it a go, so I tried it and loved the short, creative input that you could have with women’s hair - I didn’t enjoy the blow-drying and styling so after about three or four years, I went back into men’s hair.

During that time I was exposed to HOB salons and that’s where I took inspiration from some of the educators there. I liked the idea of passing on my knowledge especially within the niche between men’s and women’s hair because when I was starting out that didn’t exist. If you wanted a fade, you would have to go to the Afro Caribbean barbers because normal barbers wouldn’t cut your hair that short, and if you wanted your hair styled slightly softer on top you couldn’t go to the barbers you had to go to the hairdressers. So that’s where my passion came in through this revolution in barbering.

What was the expereince of co-creating Menspire like? 

We knew where we wanted to go, and we drove it there - faster than we thought it would go. We wanted to create an environment that was more of a salon environment and transport that hairdressing salon experience into the barbering world, with a fashion focus. Just haircuts and great service. You can see that everywhere now, and I’m glad to say that we were at the very beginning of that.

When you're not educating and travelling the world where can we find you?

You can normally find me here on the coffee machine, first thing. And then I might be in the back, packing some orders, stacking some shelves, cleaning, doing some numbers, creating some mood boards. Some of it’s exciting, some of it is an absolute headache. That’s the part that people don’t see.

What do you love about your team?

The cohesion and the fact that we’re able to bounce off each other. That was one of the things that made me realise that together we’re stronger, when you have other brains beside you it makes you think more and could lead you to the next creative idea. Even if you’re independent you should be going out to network.

What do you love about barbering?

The look on someone’s face as soon as you finish that haircut - that will never get old. Someone smiling in front of you because of what your hands and your head have been able to do.

What's your advice for someone new to the industry?

If you were to ask me that question five years ago my answer would be to work hard. Now, in 2023, I would say you have to work smart. There is no other way into the industry than being guided by mentors who are world class professionals. So find the right educator, the right environment, the right system - that is the smartest thing you can do. I would say to any new barber find that mentor, find that environment that can propel you, accelerate you, direct you, project you into the best possible version of yourself.

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 14th May 2024

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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