By: Emmanuel Torres
Art is an interesting phenomenon that can change the course of your life in an instant and open doors that you never imagined even existed. It can transport you to a different place, a place where only imagination exists, and you can be yourself.
Alberto is a great example of how art can change your life, although it probably should be spelled A.R.T.
Alberto Rodríguez Tirado, 43, was born and raised in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. He has worked as a hair stylist for over two decades and has had the chance to work in and out of the island including where he currently resides Miami, Florida.
Over the course of his life, he has gained the love and respect of many people, not only for his incredible charisma but also for his way of seeing life.
“Growth in my job area has been gradual, but the goals you set yourself can be achieved even if you don’t have the resources at hand. The keys are a positive mind, and to never stop dreaming, persevering, and fighting for your goals every day.”
This way of seeing life has taken him to live in Miami, Florida, where he has owned a successful business for over three years. A.R.T. Salon after his initials and has provided its visitors just like the slogan says, “a place to be themselves.”
Moving to Miami wasn’t easy. “It’s hard not being with my family, I miss my culture and my traditions. The multicultural idiosyncrasy is so different to mine, although with time I have learned to adapt and live in this great city.” However, he “has managed to reach his dreams there in less time than it would have taken him in Puerto Rico.”
“The island’s economy isn’t as good, and even though the job opportunities are decent, the economic factor of the island limits professional and personal growth. In Miami, even though it’s more competitive, the economy is healthier.” Competition for him has turned into motivation. “Every profession is competitive, but the biggest competition should be yourself. Being better at your job is in each one of us, but the most important thing is feeling like the best in your area, without ever ceasing to be yourself.”
He has lived in Miami since 2000. In the past decades, Miami has become one of the most Latino populated cities in the United States. According to NBC News, “Miami is a majority Latino city — 70 percent of its population is Hispanic.” This has opened the doors for many people in North America looking for new opportunities, and chances in life.
According to Alberto, he has never been discriminated against in his work area for any reason and he recommends to Latin people wanting to start a business in the United States that “even though the process of getting your own business requires a lot of hard work and tedious paperwork, everything can be achieved with dedication.”
In his personal life, Alberto has also achieved his personal goals. In his free time he enjoys going to the gymnasium, traveling around the world and getting to know new places. Today he’s happy with his three blessings: “My family, my personal life with the person I love and my business.”
He is happy in a relationship with his male partner for over a decade, and he says that being homosexual has never been a burden. “It has never affected me, the people I love have always accepted me for who I am, and I have always had friends who supported, accepted and loved me this way.”
In fact, he believes it has helped him grow in his field. “Thankfully, being gay in my profession has been stigmatized as a good thing, so being a gay hair stylist is actually a big advantage!”
“Even though growing up, it wasn’t a burden, I resent a bit that there’s people who don’t respect each other’s personal lives.” While living in Puerto Rico a woman who went to the hair salon where he worked, had a gay son and always talked about how she hated homosexual people. The woman got cancer soon after and at the hair salon nobody had the courage to cut her hair upon her request. He asked her if she would let him do it, and she agreed, and asked him to forgive him for the offensive words he had heard over the time she had visited the place. She was quick to stigmatize, but when she needed a hand, he was still there for her.
Alberto moved away searching for ways to constantly improve himself, and set higher objectives for himself. He has managed to obtain a positive experience, with its ups and downs, but ultimately reaching his biggest goals both in his personal and his professional life.
“I wouldn’t change anything about my life at this moment, although this interview is a little too deep!”