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Category: Groomer Interviews

Why Being Your REAL Self matters

In a white, female dominated industry, men are often underrepresented and normalized as groomers. In fact, men are often faced with mistrust and resistance from prospective clients due to stereotypes that associate men with animals. As a black male in the pet industry, negative associations from the media and lack of representation of positive relationships as black pet owners, often make it hard for black men to excel. As a black, gay male in our industry, the job is harder, as one must be prepared to continuously prove themselves or risk the stigma of being labeled or stereotyped.


Our good friend Brian aka “The Dog Barber” has certainly endured his own set of challenges. While Brian can be seen in Vanderpump Dogs; a show featuring Lisa Vanderpump and her rescue as well as Haute Dog, a Grooming competition series on HBO Max, the journey to get there hasn’t been easy. We sat down with Brian to learn more about his journey navigating the Pet Industry as a black, gay male:


Hello!

Many of you may know me as TheeDogBarber on Instagram, but to most I am Brian Marshall.


How I started:

I started grooming about 9 years ago! (I know I look disgustingly young!) When I started my career, I was a bather not even knowing what I was applying for! “Groomers Assistant” like am I going to be like passing you shears and sweeping around you doing the challenging work? Absolutely sign me up! Little did I know I was going to be a full-fledged bather having to learn the ins and outs of a dog’s skin (with a lot of trial and error of course) but with my constant urge to be better than I was the day before I’ve felt like I’ve finally made it to a place to where I’m happy where I am and where I’m going!


My journey in the Pet industry:

I absolutely had to navigate my way around being not only a gay male in a female dominated industry, but I was also a black gay male! WHEW! From the awkward sayings of who their dogs might “like” (because I’m gay) to just awkward comments about how: “I know poodle hair because we have the same hair” (because I am black). I have heard it all. It was defeating at times because you never think you are going to be judged anywhere but at the place of business I was employed, no one had my back because y’all know customers are ALWAYS RIGHT. (I hope y’all felt the sarcasm).


Why being your REAL self matters:

It was a wild time but within thatof course I showed signs of defense because well, who would not?! I chose to better myself and my art and let that speak and let you judge me solely based on the reason you are here! It is so important to be completely and utterly authentic with yourself and your art! You will never enjoy what you are doing if you do not it is the best feeling! Being my authentic self-awarded me the opportunity to land a role on Vanderpump Dogs! A show based around Lisa Vanderpump and her rescue and Haute Dog, a Grooming competition series. I am fortunate to have been able to combine my love of television and looking amazing (while doing it) with what I love to do as an art form TWICE! It was an absolute dream! Never in a million years would I have thought I would receive the invite for either, but that just let me know what I have been doing works and to keep going!

 

My advice to you:

However you may identify, BE YOU! It takes such great skill and patience for what we do! Self-love and confidence in that is so important! Being you is so important! There is going to be another queer person or person who wants to simply go green with their hair and they can still be looked at as professional. By you being all those things, it is such a big nod to our community (grooming & LGBTQ+) and yourself; and you should be proud! Now that I have been out for about 12 years, I look back and it has had a rough beginning, but it is not over yet and I’m in the driver’s seat! Remember the same thing for you! Happy Pride month guys!