Jason Schneidman, who battled addiction and experienced homelessness, knows what it takes to help others in similar situations.
Jason Schneidman wants to change people's lives for the better and he's doing it one haircut at a time. Schneidman is cutting hair for homeless people in the hope it can transform their lives and help them pick themselves up. “The first time I [cut hair] I thought the whole transformation was amazing,” said Schneidman, who cut hair for the first time at the age of 14. “I’ve always been into the reward of making people change.” Schneidman battled addiction throughout his adult life and knows how hard it can be to pick oneself up when you are down. He went to rehab four times before getting sober 16 years ago, reported Good Morning America. During his battle with addiction, he was also homeless for a while.
Having survived that battle and made it out, he wants to help other homeless people. “I was homeless for two years,” said Schneidman. “When I was in the streets and addicted to drugs I was very alone and felt very disconnected.” He is also helping addicts recover while having a career as a hairstylist, and a popular one at that. James Corden and Rob Lowe feature regularly on his Instagram account. “I was taught I had to be of service [to other addicts] to keep my sobriety,” said Schneidman. “I was working a lot and wasn’t feeling good about the work I was doing to give back.”
It all started when he was hired to give a homeless man a haircut as part of an extreme makeover show. “That one really stuck with me,” Schneidman said. “One day it came to me like, ‘Oh my God, that’s what I’m supposed to do.’” He then took a pair of cordless clippers and went out on the streets of Hollywood Boulevard giving makeovers to the homeless. That was just the start. He would go on to start a movement and a nonprofit organization called THEMENSGROOMER to help give the homeless haircuts, food and socks that are donated from people all over the world. “I cut celebrities' hair and I cut homeless people’s hair,” said Schneidman. “When they leave, they’re walking different, with confidence. From celebrities to homeless – it’s the same feeling.” Having experienced homelessness himself, he knows it's not easy to pick oneself up. “Nurses and doctors and psychologists can’t help addicts like an addict can help an addict,” said Schneidman. “I go right up to disease. I take it head-on.” Here are some of the makeovers he has given homeless people, addicts, strangers, and more:
"I met Muhammad in Venice beach. He was loving the fact that I made him look younger we had a good time he took me on a wild ride with his life stories. He is originally from Morocco. At one point, he owned a successful Moroccan restaurant together but now He’s broke and living in a tent."
"This is big Richie, used to work in Florida in 2013. He was a project manager at ATL. His current situation is he’s living on the streets of Hollywood. After talking he agreed that alcohol has led him to where he’s at now he promised to hit up 4 meetings of recovery this month between his next haircut visit with me!"
"Marty was looking in the dumpster for recycling when I met him. So I approached Marty and asked him if he wanted to make some money helping me clean up, He didn’t hesitate, so we all continued to clean up together for about two hours. I I asked him how long he's been on the street he said he’s been out there for 40 years."