TEMPLE, Texas — From not knowing he wanted to be a barber to being nominated for a prominent barber award. Temple native Fabian Ortiz has a story he hopes inspires the community.
Ortiz has been a barber for over 14 years and is the co-owner of Swagger Cuts in Downtown Temple with his wife Monica Villela.
Ortiz was born and raised in East Temple. Ortiz says he got into becoming a barber at a young age after seeing the owners of TJ Ikes cut hair when growing up.
"They were like the Scottie and Pippen of cutting hair back in the day," Ortiz explained. "When I was watching them do it, they were having fun and they loved what they did."
After growing tired of jobs that did not fulfil his purpose, Ortiz took cutting hair seriously and made it his primary focus to sustain his family.
"I had never even cut hair, so this was just a God given talent." Ortiz explained.
Ortiz's barber dreams were cut short as he spent some time in prison, but he did not let that stop him from finding his purpose and becoming the best version of himself.
Ortiz prayed to God that he would get his barber license reinstated when released. After some time, he says God answered his prayers.
"I told God that I would honor it, love it, and do what he called me to do which is be a service to the community," Ortiz said.
Ortiz rededicated his life to his family and being a help to the community. For the last year, he has given free haircuts to unhoused people at the nonprofit Feed My Sheep, organized community events and been a mentor to young men encouraging them to go down a positive path.
With all of his work and dedication, he was nominated for ‘Positive Influence of the Year’ at the 2023 Barber Grammys for the first time.
"This is for you all. This is the investment that you all put into me to allow me to do what I do for my community and for my family. Because ultimately that's what it's all it's about," Ortiz said.
The Barber Grammys are happening May 20, 2023 - May 22, 2023.
Whether he wins or not, Ortiz hopes the way he turned his life around and gives back will inspire the next person to do the same.
"If the barber seat is my pulpit, then let it be my pulpit and I'm going to use it for what it was intended to be," Ortiz said.
Ortiz is hosting a Back 2 School giveaway in June and would appreciate any school supply donations from the community.
To donate, his information can be found here.