Nasir Sobhani, also known as "The Streets Barber," is determined to live life day-by-day and to never, ever give up.
In a new documentary for PLGRM, a media network that aims to uncover empowering stories, Sobhani takes viewers through his life journey — from his personal battle with drug addiction, to his recovery, to his current work helping the homeless.
Now, sober, Sobhani says in the film that his passion for cutting people's hair is his new way of "getting high." He loves it so much, that he's started a new project: "Clean Cut, Clean Start."
"A haircut can do so much for someone," he says. "That's why I named what I do 'Clean Cut, Clean Start.' I'm hoping with a clean cut, it's as simple as this — you'll just have a clean start to life."
Six days a week, Sobhani cuts hair at a salon. But one day a week, he takes his equipment to the streets and gives free haircuts to the homeless.
"What I'm doing on the streets now is my way of giving back," he says. "It's my way of repaying my gratitude for being sober and healthy again."
Sobhani says many of his homeless clients feel ashamed of who they are, which is an emotion he himself once felt.
But when a client named Duat, 34, is offered a free haircut, Duat says he can't wait to look at himself in the mirror.
During haircuts, Sobhani opens up conversation — trying to get to the root of his clients' emotions, fears, and joys. In turn, some even give Sobhani important insight on living a positive life.
Sobhani asks Duat, "I try having these positive outlooks on everything, the way you are, but what inspires you to have these positive outlooks?"
To which Duat responds:
"When I was... 4 years old, my mom [told] me one day you're going to grow up, [and] have positive and negative [outlooks]. It's up to you to choose which one. I chose positive. That's me. That's what I chose."
In addition to being a barber for personal reasons, Sobhani recognizes how much it means to the homeless people he serves.
They "need actual human contact... to help engage them in some form of intimacy with a human being that actually cares for them," he explains in the film.