Long before the first television season of Emmy-Award winning Schitt’s Creek in 2015 where David Rose explained his pansexuality to his friend Stevie by saying, “I like the wine, not the label,” Cookie Zamarripa was already liking wine, and not the label. Cookie is a barber at Platinum Fade Men’s Lounge in Austin, TX—she identifies as bold, passionate, and one badass barber. Many in the LGBTQIA+ community have not had such an easy time as Cookie with their personal identity and acceptance.
Cookie grew up in Uvalde, Texas,* (See Addendum) in a blended Mexican-American family of 8 siblings. Not one for dresses, Cookie did what felt natural to her and unapologetically lived by her own rules. She said, “I was really fortunate, my family always showed me love no matter who I brought home. I’ve had both boyfriends and girlfriends. I’m attracted to someone’s vibe.”
By the time she was 21, Cookie was visiting a barbershop weekly to get her hair lined up. She started dating a woman with 3 boys and soon realized that she couldn’t afford 4 weekly haircuts. She bought a pair of clippers and learned how to cut their hair. Also during this time, her boldness got her in trouble with the law and for the next few years, she was in and out of prison. By 2017, she was done with parole and she decided to go to barber school. “My parents always said ‘You never finish anything,’ and they were right,” says Cookie. “I’m dsylexic with numbers and things were difficult, so I always quit before. But I was determined to go and finish barbering school.”
In 2018 she graduated from Bevelle Barber School, in Austin, TX, but she took a year off because she wasn’t confident in her skills. To get more practice, she volunteered at a women’s shelter and offered haircuts there as well as to the homeless in Austin. As her confidence grew as a barber, so did her influence on others.
“People have sent me messages that I’m an inspiration for them as they are in transition,” says Cookie, who personally is not transitioning. “That’s great if I can be that for them, I appreciate it and I’m not going to burst their bubble. People can give me any label they want if it helps them feel good. You do you and I support that. My hairiness and deep voice are all natural.”
She does use the ambiguity to her advantage when she’s in the shop and the walkins walk past her co-barbers and sit in her chair. As she’s cutting his hair, he’ll be adamant that women don’t know how to fade, and she lets him know how wrong he is when she’s done.
While she’s been solidly cutting hair for two years Cookie is getting big props for her skills as she’s been requested to teach classes at her local barber schools. She says, “I’m a little surprised, but I’m not going to tell the students ‘no’ if they’re requesting me.” Cookie is also judging hair competitions and next will be at Barber Fest June 26, 2022 in Harlingen, Texas.
During the pandemic in 2020, Cookie married Brittany Zamarripa in a civil ceremony. “We didn’t have a big ceremony because we didn’t want to look back at photos years from now and see everyone wearing masks,” says Cookie. “Plus our goal is a house, barbershop, then a big ceremony.”
Cookie credits Brittany @lapatrona_barber, a licensed cosmetologist and a Bevelle Barber School 2022 graduate, as her grounding force and voice of reason. She says, “I’m so fortunate to be married to my best friend.” Love always prevails.
Just as this barber profile was nearly complete, tragedy struck Cookie's hometown of Uvalde, Texas. On May 24, an 18-year old gunman entered Robb Elementary School and killed 19 children aged between 7 and 10 years old and two teachers. Cookie spearheaded a Uvalde Strong free hair cutting event on May 30 for her hometown. Barbers and stylists across Texas traveled to Uvalde to participate to give back to the mourning community. She was also asked to cut the hair of some of the victims before they are laid to rest. She will be attending the funerals.
Originally posted on Modern Salon