This story published April 2, 2015.
"The funny thing is: I didn't even have a good haircut until I was a freshman in high school," Amit Corso said. "All these years went by and I never had a good haircut."
Corso is the star of the new, unscripted show "Cutting Crew" that premiers on El Rey Network. Corso's barbershop, The Cutting Edge in Lancaster, will be the main setting of eight, hour-long episodes that will feature him and his staff as they go through the trials and tribulations of the daily grind while creating world-class styles.
"My mother used to give me haircuts," he recollected as he laughed at the irony, "finally, I went to a shop. I didn't have an appointment so I waited for hours. I was just taking it all in. I was blown away by the haircuts and styles. I used to sit in barbershops for hours. It sparked my interest and so I picked it up."
Corso gathered money for supplies and got a job in a barbershop. He opened up The Cutting Edge in 2005, aiming to stand out and make a brand. Down to the logo on the website and window, you can see Corso and his crew mean business. And their business is style. "You'd be surprised how many kids come through after seeing it. We wanted a type of cartoon to help the shop have a character," Corso said of the logo.
Since opening, Corso has rocketed to the summit of his industry, garnering praise, awards and winning competitions over the years. According to his website, www.amitcorso.com, he's won the Golden Scissors Award's "Barber of the Year" and "Colorist of the Year," and has been featured in industry magazines. Corso even created an app, The Cutting Edge App, that features instructional videos from some of the world's best barbers.
Some of the world's best barbers happen to be right along King St. in Lancaster.
"I've traveled around. I know what's out there," he said, referencing his times on the road and in competitions, "we're the elite in the U.S. We've won awards internationally. We're trying to make our stance in the industry."
For Corso, the vision isn't just about being the best barber, but also changing the reputation of Lancaster and the surrounding area.
"When people think of Lancaster, they think of the Amish. But I know the skills we have. We're trying to transform how people see Lancaster. So people know that the city is full of creative and driven people, too."
With such a vision, Corso is keen on surrounding himself with people that can handle the pressure and keep it casual. "I hire people I can tolerate. I see them more than my family."
The cast is: Dre, who has been Corso's apprentice since he was sixteen - eight and a half years ago - and is the jokester of the group. Alex, whom "has a great heart, but is lazy," according to Corso. Brian, another apprentice that is years ahead of the curve in his trade. And Gaby, who is a troublemaker, but comes in on time.