Victor Lebo of Scottsdale's Rogues, Scholars & Dames on Why Faux Hawks Are Lame and Mohawks Rule

Victor Lebo isn't just going to cut your hair for the quick payday. He'll make an art form out of it.
Victor Lebo isn't just going to cut your hair for the quick payday. He'll make an art form out of it.
Josh Chesler

Victor Lebo didn't start off wanting to cut hair for a living, but after trying his hand at a number of other trades, he realized that the life of a barber was the life for him.

"I ran out of other things to do," Lebo says. "In high school, I did some auto mechanic work. I tried plumbing. I did a lot of it but none of it stuck. My grandmother recommended I try cutting hair after watching a TV program, so that's how I started cutting hair."

See also: Jimmy Gee of Tempe's No Regrets Tattoo Parlor on How Graffiti and Skateboarding Led Him to Tattooing

That was three decades ago, and Lebo hasn't looked back since. For the owner and sole operator of Rogues, Scholars & Dames located at 34522 N. Scottsdale Rd. on the northern edge of Scottsdale, cutting hair isn't just a career. It's an art form.

"I enjoy the art of cutting hair. When you do it right, there really is an art to it," Lebo says. "It's not just cutting hair, it's a lot more difficult than people realize."

If Lebo wasn't taking care of people's mops for a living, he says he'd like to be cooking in a restaurant, or maybe just focusing on one of his many other passions, which include abstract painting, photography, longboarding, and previously his motorcycles.

Don't expect to see a your standard barbershop if you take a trip to get your ears lowered by Lebo. Rogues, Scholars & Dames isn't your ordinary barbershop, just like Lebo isn't your run-of-the-mill barber.

"Most of the shops play off of the old retro feels of barbershops in the past. I took it in a whole different direction," Lebo says. "When you come in here, you feel like you're in a loft in Brooklyn or somewhere."

Another notable difference between Lebo's shop and a normal barbershop is the personnel.

For most shops, at least a few people are present at all times to make sure everything runs smoothly. For Lebo, it's a one-man show.

"I'm most comfortable to be in control of everything. I know how everything is done and I'd rather do it than teach someone how to do it," Lebo says. "It's worth the drive up here no matter what. There's so much more to it than just getting a haircut, it's worth the time."

 

Rogues, Scholars & Dames doesn't look like your stereotypical barbershop, and you can't even see the eclectic jazz music playing in the background.
Rogues, Scholars & Dames doesn't look like your stereotypical barbershop, and you can't even see the eclectic jazz music playing in the background.
Josh Chesler

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What's one haircut that everyone should try at some point? Once in their lifetime, every man and every woman should shave their head. When you shave it down to a crew cut, it's just you. Once you're comfortable like that, you'll be so much more comfortable the rest of the time.

What's your least favorite hair trend that you've seen? I'd say the faux hawk. When I was younger, it was about the Mohawk, and you didn't wear one unless you were tough. Then it turned into anyone could put their hair up in a faux hawk.

What's your advice for someone who's unsure what style of haircut he/she wants? Have confidence in whoever is going to cut your hair. Look around to see what you like. Be inspired by different things, it doesn't have to be about hair, it could be anywhere.

Where do you draw your style and inspiration from? I love the 1930s and '40s, and also the '50s to '60s. Those two time periods, the Americana and everything from then, the artists, the writers, it all inspires me.

What separates you from other barbers? I'm not rushing anyone in and out in five minutes. I'd rather take 20 minutes and make sure it's right. I make sure that every haircut that leaves here looks like it should.

What's the craziest haircut you've ever had? I've had everything. I've had dreadlocks, braids, cornrows before people did cornrows. My hair's been blonde, purple, a pink Mohawk. About 20 years ago I had a beard down to the bottom of my neck and hair down to my nipples. That was before people were doing big beards like they are now.

What's the craziest haircut you've ever given? I used to cut the hair of the guys from the metal band Anthrax. Before they went on tour one time, I gave one of their guitarists a Mohawk about a foot tall. That's probably the craziest one I've done.

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