For eight weeks this summer, hundreds of barbers participated in the #AmericanSalonProjectX contest on Instagram. Reuzel teamed up with American Salon to offer the grand prize: a seven-day trip to the Netherlands and participation in the Old School Barber training program. Quentin Paulsen grabbed our attention with his burly rockabilly ’do and nabbed the grand prize.
Paulsen hails from Crestview, FL, a quaint town in the West Florida Panhandle. “I was blown away,” he said of learning he was a finalist. “Rob and Leen [Reuzel’s founders] are at the top of the list of barbers I respect,” adding that he particularly appreciates their unique style and the fact that the contest helped foster education. “I loved how it was helping guys who couldn’t afford to go to barber school,” he says.
The GI Bill allowed Paulsen, a veteran, to attend Pensacola State College’s barber school, but Reuzel’s program was his first continuing education experience. Technique refinement, clipper-over-comb and sectioning were some of his top takeaways. “Using their techniques has made my haircuts in the shop 10 times better,” he says.
It was a bit nerve-wracking for Paulsen to meet industry leaders that he looks up to, he told us. “Those guys are like rock stars to me! They’re my Guns & Roses!” But upon meeting them, he found there to be no egos and that it couldn’t have been a friendlier atmosphere.
One of his most memorable moments? “I went to the barbershop and Kani [Barber at Schorem] gave me one of the best haircuts I’ve ever had. It was great getting to sit in a barbershop that I admire to and get a haircut from a barber that I look up to so much. It was really incredible.”
“I would love to [enter the contest again],” he says. “I could learn some more new techniques—and I’d be due for another haircut by then too.”