Episodes of The Sport Clips Haircuts Hall of Fame Podcast - Emtahen Abdullah

Red Banner with HOF EpisodeIn this episode, we continue our series called "Success Story" and interview Emtahen Abdullah, the "Barber from Baghdad" who manages IL208. Emtahen describes the cultural and physical obstacles she has overcome throughout her amazing career. She also details her immigration from Iraq after 9/11, how she found a home at Sport Clips and the importance of family.

Chad Jordan and Emtahen Abdullah holding a microphone

Episode Air Date Guest Name Guest Title Topic(s)
September 27, 2019 Emtahen Abdullah Manager Overcoming obstacles to achieve dreams

Each episode of the Podcast is also available on iTunes and the Google Play store. 

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Chad Jordan: Hey everybody, this is Chad Jordan with Sport Clips and this is another edition of our Hall of Fame Podcast. I have a very special guest today and those of you that are watching this on YouTube, hello, I'm sure you're admiring my haircut right now, and the haircut that I am sporting is courtesy of the guest that we have. She's a manager, a barber by trade, and she has one of the most amazing stories. One of the great things about my job is one, I get a lot of great haircuts, and two, is that I get to sit down and chat with a lot of managers and a lot of stylists around the country and kind of hear their story. And yesterday when I was with our guest, getting a little bit of her story, it dawned on me, I have to ask her to be on the podcast.

Chad Jordan: So I begged and pleaded and refused to leave her store until she agreed to come on the podcast today, and so fortunate to have her. Without further ado, young lady, would you please introduce ... why don't you tell me your name, the store you manage, and where you were born. Let's do that.

Emtahen. A: Okay. My name is Mimi Sahoon and I work in Diversey Parkway, IL 208.

Chad Jordan: And the last question was, and where were you born?

Emtahen. A: I'm born in Iraq.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So if you can't tell from the accent, if you're listening on the podcast and not seeing the YouTube video, she is Iraqi, what do you call it?

Emtahen. A: Iraqi.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, you're rocking the Iraqi.

Emtahen. A: No. Iraqi.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So my nickname for her is the Baghdad barber. So anyways, I don't know if she's already been given that nickname, but she is pretty amazing. So I wanted to, I wanted to get her here. You've been, you've been with Sport Clips. How long?

Emtahen. A: I've been with Sports Clips for three years. And then you surprise me because Baghdad barber, this is my name. My store name was before.

Chad Jordan: What?

Emtahen. A: Yes.

Chad Jordan: Are you kidding me?

Emtahen. A: Yes.

Chad Jordan: All right. So I, she didn't know what her nickname, her new nickname was going to be. So when I put this on the podcast, is that okay if I use that? Okay. She's been with Sports Clips for three years, been managing that location. How long?

Emtahen. A: A year and a half.

Chad Jordan: A year and a half. So she, you're not even been to a huddle yet, right?

Emtahen. A: No.

Chad Jordan: Okay. We have to get, so huddle, I don't know if you've heard any stories...

Emtahen. A: I've heard a lot.

Chad Jordan: Okay. We have to get you there. You're going to have the best time next year it's going to be in San Antonio, Texas. You ever been to Texas?

Emtahen. A: No.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So you're going to love it, I promise. But, so you've been managing for a few years. And the reason I came to your store yesterday, I'm touring Chicago. I went to visit some stores. They had a contest here in the Chicago region for the stylist, essentially didn't have to be manager, but the stylist that had the highest take home per client and Mimi won with an astounding number, $6 and 23 cents take home per client for the given time period that we're looking for. So when I went in her store, I didn't believe it. I thought it was a typo. And then I realized after getting my haircut, she sold me some product, I got a doubled MVP. So yeah, it made sense why her take home per client is so high. She is fantastic. So I decided I want to capture a little bit of her story. So you, you came, you're born in Iraq?

Emtahen. A: Iraq.

Chad Jordan: Yes. So grew up there until, until you're, how old, how long did you live there?

Emtahen. A: Until 17 and then I went to Jordan and I stayed few months and after that, Syria and then from Syria to here.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So Iraq to Jordan, Jordan to Syria. Why, why do you, why did you leave Iraq? What, what's going on around that time?

Emtahen. A: Because the war.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. So this is right around the 2001, 2002, 2003 timeframe, something like that.

Emtahen. A: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: So she, she comes. And you come to America kind of during a tense time. When a lot of Americans aren't looking for Arabic people to come over. I mean at that time there was a lot of bigotry and bias. So can you, can you kind of take me through what it was like coming to America during that timeframe? What do you remember?

Emtahen. A: I remember a lot of things. Like what you mean you want exactly?

Chad Jordan: Yeah. I just, I mean, so what was the process? You, left Syria. First of all, when you leave Syria, do you know for sure you're going to be allowed into the U.S. How does that trip... I mean, I don't know anything about that. How does that work?

Emtahen. A: Because my husband, he was here And then-

Chad Jordan: But were you married at the time?

Emtahen. A: Yes.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So you and your husband had gotten married, what? In Iraq?

Emtahen. A: In Syria.

Chad Jordan: In Syria. Okay, so he comes to America. How did he get... Did he get sponsored on a visa or was he...

Emtahen. A: He is refugee.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Refugee. Is he Syrian or what is he?

Emtahen. A: He's Iraqi.

Chad Jordan: He's Iraqi as well. So he was, he's a refugee. So he had refugee status essentially. So he comes first to America?

Emtahen. A: He was here and then we married in Syria. And then after that he come here and then I come to the U.S.

Chad Jordan: To Chicago or where?

Emtahen. A: Chicago.

Chad Jordan: All right. So, so you come to Chicago, do you guys have any, did you have any kids at the time?

Emtahen. A: No.

Chad Jordan: All right. So no kids. And you-

Emtahen. A: I was here when I was 20.

Chad Jordan: Okay. And you weren't a barber, right? I mean what did you do? I mean you were still a kid at 17, 18, 19 years old.

Emtahen. A: I was not. I was not barber.

Chad Jordan: Right. So you come here, you land in America. What's your first memory of America? Your first impression?

Emtahen. A: Crying.

Chad Jordan: Crying? Because you're homesick or?

Emtahen. A: I feel like I'm alone and then I miss my family and then it was really hard for me to stay here. But now I feel like this country is my real country. And then when I go back to visit my country, I feel like I'm just like...

Chad Jordan: A tourist.

Emtahen. A: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Right? So how did you get through those...what? How long did it take? You came here, you feeling like an outsider, you're alone. How long did you feel like that?

Emtahen. A: It took me almost like two year after when I get to [inaudible 00:06:31] and then I have my baby and I was busy with her and like times slow, slow. I forgot like, you know, it's not like I forgot, but like I keep connect like with them and then talking and then it was fine for me.

Chad Jordan: What about when you were here in those first couple years, was there an Arabic community that you were part of or is that what made it so hard? You just felt like it was so different than what you were used to?

Emtahen. A: No, I went to the school. I need to, I'm the person, I don't like to stay home and then I try my best and then I learn driving and then I went to school. I took my license.

Chad Jordan: So you didn't drive... You hadn't got a driver's license in Iraq or Syria?

Emtahen. A: No I was not driving.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Emtahen. A: I learn everything here. And then it just like I miss one thing when... And still, now I feel like I'm guilty because I don't went to school and then that time I will be do like by now I will, I will be amazing but it's not too late because now I just talking with my friend and then and I told her, I already registered in the Truman college and then today is my second day and I miss my school because I have to be here.

Chad Jordan: No get out of here. Why did you guys tell me that? Oh my gosh.

Emtahen. A: I was [inaudible 00:07:53] and then I don't tell you yesterday and I don't know what I miss like...

Chad Jordan: I'm on air and you're telling me this. Oh, so what do you, what, what schooling, for what?

Emtahen. A: I want to be in business or...

Chad Jordan: You want to be a team leader one day? You want to own your own store? Your own Sport Clips?

Emtahen. A: Maybe I can own Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan: Yes, of course. I mean you know everything. Yeah. Why not?

Emtahen. A: I [inaudible 00:08:16] you're going to be upset.

Chad Jordan: No, there's other sports... There's, you can buy some other ones. But there are stylists that have become team leaders, stylists. Managers that have become team leaders and bought their own. So that's, that's so, that's so amazing. Congratulations. Is it a two year program or?

Emtahen. A: Is going to yeah, it's two year.

Chad Jordan: Okay. And boy, you're going to finish before your, your oldest daughter you said is 16?

Emtahen. A: 16 yes.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So she's going to be ready for college. You're going to be finishing.

Emtahen. A: Yeah, I guess.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Well that's good timing. You have how many daughters now?

Emtahen. A: I have three girls.

Chad Jordan: Three spoiled rotten girls. Okay. Understand. And their ages are?

Emtahen. A: 17, 14 and then 10.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So at what, what, what part... When do you go to barber school? When has all that kind of happened?

Emtahen. A: Was long time ago. Was in 2003.

Chad Jordan: So when did you come here?

Emtahen. A: After September 11 2001.

Chad Jordan: Was it, is it 2001?

Emtahen. A: Yes.

Chad Jordan: Okay, so you were here pretty much right away.

Emtahen. A: Yeah. After like a week was in September I believe, 20.

Chad Jordan: Wow. So those were the two hard years and then so did going to barber school, is that kind of, did that start getting you kind of out of the missing home and it kind of had you focus and...

Emtahen. A: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: What drew you to being a barber? Why? did you want to do that?

Emtahen. A: Because this is, is my family job. My mom, she's a beautician and then my uncle and I don't know for some reason this is only-

Chad Jordan: It's in your blood.

Emtahen. A: -is in my blood and then I don't respect, I will do a man haircut because we are not allowed back home to do man.

Chad Jordan: Oh really?

Emtahen. A: And then, yeah. But I was thinking just I'm going to do just only ladies, but when I come here, my husband, he saying, no, you will not do the job. And then now he's, I'm only the one to cut his hair and he don't go nowhere.

Chad Jordan: He doesn't go to a man Barber.

Emtahen. A: No, because he try, he try and then they messed up his hair. and then he come back to me.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. You don't mess up anybody's hair [crosstalk 00:10:38]. So, wow. So, okay, so women can't cut men's hair. Could men cut women's hair?

Emtahen. A: No.

Chad Jordan: Okay. All right. Understood.

Emtahen. A: Yeah we are not allowed.

Chad Jordan: I get it. I understand.

Emtahen. A: We give this a freedom here.

Chad Jordan: Yes, I understand. So for those of you that are, that are listening that maybe haven't heard this before, I've spent some time in cutter [inaudible] and so yesterday when I greeted Mimi, I said Asalamalakum.

Emtahen. A: Wa-Alaikum-Salaam.

Chad Jordan: And so just to say kind of the, the normal greeting in Arabic. And so I've seen, not Iraq, but I've seen the middle Eastern culture have such respect for it, especially having spent time there. And so when you are describing what's allowed and what's not allowed, like were you even allowed to drive? I mean were you said you got your driver's license here. Were you allowed to drive?

Emtahen. A: We allowed to drive yes.

Chad Jordan: But you go to barber school, you pass with flying colors and then where do you go? What happens after that?

Emtahen. A: I took my license and I went to, I remember was Pakistani lady. I worked for her whole day and then whole week open to close. And she paid for me $50 end of the week.

Chad Jordan: Oh my gosh.

Emtahen. A: Oh my God, that's is was pissing me off. And then after that I went to work with the, a Syrian lady. She's from Iraq too. I was doing only lady that time. And then she-

Chad Jordan: Even though you were, were you a barber at the time or a beautician? Cosmetologist.

Emtahen. A: No I was beautician.

Chad Jordan: Okay. You hadn't got your Barber license yet?

Emtahen. A: No.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Because your husband had said, and you had thought, "Let's just stick with women here."

Emtahen. A: Yeah. And then I see her and then I love the job and I like to do it and then... Well like, she's from my country, but she don't help me. They was hide the number for me, but I really like it to do the job and then I learned and I try my best and I learned.

Chad Jordan: What stage do you decide you should and can cut men's hair? When do you, when does that all enter the picture?

Emtahen. A: This is in 2003 I start cut man haircut and then... And until now.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. But I mean-

Emtahen. A: That's [crosstalk 00:13:00].

Chad Jordan: -there had to have been a change. I mean, you had culturally, and your husband had kind of said, "Let's just focus on women's hair." So when, there's had to be a shift. What happened?

Emtahen. A: He was telling me, "I will divorce you."

Chad Jordan: Yeah, sure. I mean, that's a big, listen. It's a big deal. I get it.

Emtahen. A: He told me, "I will divorce you if you do the job." And I say, "That's okay. Well if you don't trust me, well that's [inaudible 00:13:26] you." And then I just like keep continue do it. Like I was really strong woman. And then I liked the job and I like to do it and I do it.

Chad Jordan: And when did he eventually come around?

Emtahen. A: Well like, he come after like a year. After a year when I have like experience. He just start, come to me and I'm the only the one who got his hair now.

Chad Jordan: So you defy the odds. You're this Iraqi barber, cutting men's hair. You've got to be one of the, you got to be one of the few in the world. Now that I'm sitting down thinking about this.

Emtahen. A: Thank you so much.

Chad Jordan: That's pretty, that's pretty remarkable. And no wonder you're on this podcast because statistically, and it's funny, I had told Mimi yesterday, by the way, did you say your real name when we introduced you? What's your full name? What's your full name?

Emtahen. A: My real name? Emtahen Abdullah.

Chad Jordan: Okay. And also you're... You go by angel?

Emtahen. A: Angel is my daughter name.

Chad Jordan: Okay.

Emtahen. A: I pick her, because she's really Angel and I love her a lot.

Chad Jordan: Okay. She's an angel. And then where does Mimi come from?

Emtahen. A: Mimi. This is the Syrian lady. I work with her. And then it was a problem for the client to remember my name because they want come back to me. And then they keep tell like, "The tall lady. She worked in this station, the blonde lady." But I keep confuse them with the hair. One day blonde, one day, one day is red, and then she say, "Hey, Mimi, just pick this name for you. It's Mimi." And then it's easy for them. And then from there it's [inaudible 00:15:07].

Chad Jordan: Is that what do you want to be known by or do you want to go a different route? Because we can change it right here and make it happen.

Emtahen. A: Really?

Chad Jordan: Yeah. What do you want, what do you want to be called?

Emtahen. A: I want to go back to my real name. I really miss it.

Chad Jordan: Now, pronounce it again for me.

Emtahen. A: Emtahen.

Chad Jordan: Emtahen? Am I saying that right?

Emtahen. A: Yes.

Chad Jordan: And what does it mean? Does it mean something?

Emtahen. A: It's exam.

Chad Jordan: Exam? Like you pass the test?

Emtahen. A: Yes I [crosstalk 00:15:34] with you.

Chad Jordan: What? Oh, that's awesome. Emtahen. I'm going to write it down, where is... I need a pen Emtahen. How would you spell it in English?

Emtahen. A: E-M-T-A-H.

Chad Jordan: T-A-H and?

Emtahen. A: E-N.

Chad Jordan: E-N. Emtahen. Okay. All right. Well you heard it here. First folks, Emtahen and then last name up?

Emtahen. A: Abdullah.

Chad Jordan: Abdullah. Okay, that one I got. Abdullah. So when I put this on the podcast, that's what we're going to, that's how we're going to title it. All right.

Emtahen. A: Wow you surprise me now.

Chad Jordan: So no more Mimi.

Emtahen. A: You make me so happy.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Hey, you passed the tests, you made it here. What so, so tell me a little bit about your Sport Clips career. How did you, how did you find out about Sport Clips? You're a barber, you work for a Pakistani lady, you work for a Syrian lady that was Iraqi and all this other kind of stuff. So how did you come across Sport Clips?

Emtahen. A: Well, I have three store, I was own three store and I was working very well.

Chad Jordan: You own, so you owned-

Emtahen. A: I own the stores-

Chad Jordan: -you owned three stores. Okay. And you did, were you renting out chairs to other stylists and barbers or was it just you?

Emtahen. A: No, was just only me. I own all, whole the store like. And then it was not too far away. I was working [inaudible 00:16:54] and then the another store was in Western [inaudible 00:16:58] and then the another one is not too far away. When it's busy I go and all store was like really, really doing good and I was making crazy lot of money. And then suddenly like I have the call up from...

Chad Jordan: Landlord?

Emtahen. A: Like the license [inaudible 00:17:19].

Chad Jordan: Oh, the license? Yeah, the cosmetology board?

Emtahen. A: Yeah. And then they told me like, you know, I forgot to renew my license 2012 and then I have to go to school and then for some reason I don't know what's going on. They don't, they don't want to believe me. And then I have to hop a lawyer and then just, they kept my license in hold and they told me, "You can't work in this until when you get this approval from them." And then after that I was home because I'm not allowed because the each store is going to be 10,000 ticket if I opened the store and then they told me I'm, I can't open the store. If I open, they will put like a red...

Chad Jordan: Caution tape or something.

Emtahen. A: Caution tape, yeah. And then I was really scared and I don't want to give any risk for that. And then I just sold the store, one of them, I close it and then two I sold it and then I was sitting calm.

Chad Jordan: How depressing was this?

Emtahen. A: Because here I tell you from the first I'm not the woman kind type sit in home just only cleaning and cooking. No I'm not that kind type of woman. Even when I have three kids.

Chad Jordan: I guess not, because you told your husband if he didn't want you to be a barber that he could hit the road. I guess you're not that kind of woman. Yeah I get it.

Emtahen. A: And then plus like you know I have three kids and then I don't have no one from my family here. And then I was like childcare babysitter. I try my best. Like even if I work one hour I will enjoy it. And then from there-

Chad Jordan: Did you do it because you love it?

Emtahen. A: I love it. I really love my job. And then after that I was sitting calm and one of my friend, he call me he say, "Just I want to help. Like for a few days." I said, "Okay, no problem." I help him and then for some reason is a family problem and I don't want to stay there. And then from there I stay home and I went to the Google. I will like Googling like which one is have like more like you know, [inaudible 00:19:13] and [inaudible 00:19:15] I call and then the area manager, she was answer, and then she just like she say, "When is your ready? Just come for the interview." And then she hired me the same day and then from there until now I'm working with the Sport Clips.

Chad Jordan: Was it at the same Sport Clips you're at now? Is that the one you started at?

Emtahen. A: No, the interview was an old town and then I went over to River North and then after River North I stay like six month with them and then Diversey.

Chad Jordan: Wow. And now you've been managing, so let's see, you didn't start as a manager. You started as a... The first day. Do you love it? Are you nervous? Were you thinking, "This isn't going to work for me."? Because now you're working for someone where you had worked, you'd owned your own place. So what was that transition like?

Emtahen. A: It was different for me because like, you know when you own your store you're going to like tell people like tell your team do, you do whatever they have to do. But I don't tell myself like do whatever like you know, but I do my job. But this is only the different I see in the Sport Clips, I love the way how they are. I love the clean part. I love the like team friendly, like it's really like you enjoy, you feel like your day is worth it. It is busy all the time. Like it's good.

Chad Jordan: when, when, when you let, because you had to leave the store you were working at to go manage another store. Right?

Emtahen. A: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: Help me understand. There's a lot of managers listening to this. They remember their first day managing, they remember coming from maybe a different location. So what was it like for you walking in? Had you worked at that store ever before you managed it?

Emtahen. A: Yeah, I work with the River North manager right now. She was, I was her assistant manager. She helped me a lot and I appreciate her too much. Her name [Corina 00:00:21:14]. And now she's the manager for River North. She is my best friend.

Chad Jordan: And she's also just a, those of you that are listening, she's also off camera. She's here with us. So we're giving her a shout out like on the podcast and in person. So yeah. And not only that I went, I don't think she knew I was... Corina didn't know I was coming to her store yesterday and had wanted to, we had wanted to get a chance to meet. So she actually came to Emtahen. I got it right. Came to her store. And so I missed, I thought I missed Corina because [inaudible 00:21:52]. She's not here at her store today and then turned out we found her anyways. So that was cool. So she's pretty amazing as well. So you go and you manage that store, you walk in, you, you begin to manage it. What are some of your memories of the early days of, of managing the store? Did you have... Because of your experience having owned your own location, did that help you or did you have to get past some challenges in the early days?

Emtahen. A: First I was think because is my language is like my accent and then I don't have a lot of experience to be with the manage like as a Sport Clips like because it's really big, huge client count and then is a big store, but just like I was still strong enough to do it and then I try it and I give the owner, like say here like, well I have like two months. If like if I say myself, I will do it, I will do it. If I say like I give up, I will tell you I can't do it.

Chad Jordan: Oh, so you've kind of put yourself on trial. Just going to, you're going to try it out, see if it could be a fit for you. And if not, you are going to be willing to admit, "I can't do this." But in your heart of hearts you had to know you're a strong woman, you're going to be able to do this thing.

Emtahen. A: Yeah, and I already... Like when the manager has left the store, like I was the assistant manager and I was doing the job like as a manager and assistant manager. I already did the job without like, you know. No the owner [crosstalk 00:23:29]

Chad Jordan: Without the title.

Emtahen. A: Without the title.

Chad Jordan: When did you realize that you did, you were being successful, you had kind of crossed that, that hump, that challenge that you could make it. When did that, when did it dawn on you?

Emtahen. A: Is dawn because like you know when I started working in this, in Diversey was really slow. It was really very slow and then even the owner, he told me you will not do it there because he see me how hard worker, I'm like this kind of type of person. I don't like to sit down. And then I like to be like, next, next. And when I was in River North he told me, "Well like now you choose diversity but one day you will call me." And I say, "No I can do it." And then I remember the area manager when she come and then she went to check, I don't know for some reason she want the computer. She went over and then she see that day my tip was 180 and then she was shocked. She said, "What?"

Emtahen. A: No one has hit this number. 180 in two days. And then the client they will seeing that time, I believe it was a 23, 20 and then it was really huge team or 16 members and then with the 20 client or was it like something, it was like, like crazy. And then after when I bought this store now is the client count by Saturday and Sunday is hit. Like it's not as exactly the same like you know, amount like every week. But we are between 60, 65, 50 not less than that. No way. Yeah, it's busy. Is a [inaudible 00:25:16]. That's why you make me-

Chad Jordan: I mean even when I left yesterday you were just...

Emtahen. A: I was slammed. I done 29 client after you. Within four to eight thirty.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Your cuts per hour is almost three. Yeah, that's pretty amazing. What are some of your favorite things about managing right now? What's your favorite part about being a manager right now?

Emtahen. A: I don't, I don't feel like, you know, because even when I was owner I was really friendly and then even like I treat my team like as a real friend even I invite, I invite them to my home. We go out. Like I don't feel like you know, I'm manager, or I'm owner. Just like it's too close. I don't want to be sure myself, oh no, I'm manager and you guys-

Chad Jordan: You're one of the team.

Emtahen. A: I'm on still. I'm the one of the team and I believe like the way is like there is nothing change.

Chad Jordan: Who was it? Anna? Who was that? Your student?

Emtahen. A: Anna.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. She seems sweet. It seems like you had a sweet team. Yeah, basically. You got a great group. What, one of the things I meant to ask you, you are a US citizen now, right? You went through the, when did you, when did you pass a citizenship process test, all that?

Emtahen. A: It was in 2005.

Chad Jordan: Okay, 2005. Did you have a party? I mean, what is, I don't know what it's like to become a US citizen. Describe that to me.

Emtahen. A: I was scared they're going to take the passport. The Iraqi passport. But-

Chad Jordan: You're still, you're a [inaudible 00:26:44] citizen, right?

Emtahen. A: Yeah. But they give it to me and I was so happy and then I was so like, I was so excited that day, I become like American and then we have a lot of pictures too. It was like, it was a good day that day.

Chad Jordan: I mean all your daughters are citizens. They've all been born here. So now what about your husband?

Emtahen. A: He's citizen for sure.

Chad Jordan: All right. So you guys are all citizens and do you travel back to the Middle East ever?

Emtahen. A: I went two time. I went 2014 and 2016.

Chad Jordan: And what's it like going back now when you go back? Is it like your home or?

Emtahen. A: No, it's not like I feel like I have in my mind, if I go now, I will be stay one week, two week. Not more than that. I will miss my job.

Chad Jordan: Oh yeah. And you can't cut men's hair over there.

Emtahen. A: Yeah I will miss my job. And I feel like this is my country.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. How does it, how... So Ramadan and some of the... Are you Muslim or?

Emtahen. A: I'm Muslim.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So how do you get through some of the... Do you fast during Ramadan? Is that...

Emtahen. A: I can be fast-

Chad Jordan: Okay I was going to say, because you'd have to be standing on your feet all day, not eating. And those that don't know Ramadan, you fast usually a month or 27 days.

Emtahen. A: It's a month.

Chad Jordan: And it's sun up to sun down, right?

Emtahen. A: Yeah.

Chad Jordan: So very taxing. I know athletes that are Muslim, they have to have special kind of differences, and so I was wondering. So culturally for you being in America, obviously we're a melting pot, but a lot of the culture is either Christian based or no religion or whatever. So how, how are you able to work your faith into your career, into your life here in America?

Emtahen. A: Well, like you know is like about the fasting. I try it one day and then I feel like, like I just going to be like.

Chad Jordan: You got the shakes.

Emtahen. A: Yeah, I'm shaking. And then my face color change and I don't control myself. And then I say that's it, it's done. I can't do it.

Chad Jordan: You got to [inaudible 00:28:53].

Emtahen. A: [crosstalk 00:28:54]. Even I will like stay whole month in home, like I was thinking to stay whole month and I was talk more with my manager about that and then I was thinking is way too much for them and for me. And then I just skip.

Chad Jordan: So do you... Like you guys have Christmas parties that you then also incorporate, eat.

Emtahen. A: We do have the eat after Ramadan.

Chad Jordan: But I mean, you know, for your Sport Clips team, do you guys ever do anything that's kind of just all different types?

Emtahen. A: Well, they told me eat Mubarak because they know is my like is eat is our Easter.

Chad Jordan: I just want to make sure that everyone's being sensitive, inclusive and all that kinds of stuff.

Emtahen. A: Oh yeah. And I have, they give me like a day off for-

Chad Jordan: Oh awesome. I've, I got some fun questions that I want to get to, but I just, I knew we had to capture your story. I know people that are listening to this right now can't believe some of the things that you've, that you've powered through, where you've come from, where you are now, what your real name is, and the fact that we're going to start calling you that again. But when I was sitting down yesterday, I just had the best, I said it on Facebook, but just the best experience with you, not just the haircut, [inaudible 00:30:24] to visit. You're so sweet. So amazing. So thank you first of all for carving out time to do this today. Sharing your passion for Sport Clips, your passion for cutting men's hair, period. And just for who you are. So thank you for being a Hall of Famer. And what I want to do is I like to end these interviews with 10 questions that are a little off the wall, but they're fun. They're not, shouldn't be too intense. All right?

Emtahen. A: Okay.

Chad Jordan: The first question, if you had a superpower, what would you want? What superpower would you most like to have?

Emtahen. A: Go back to my country.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So like teleport and instantly be there-

Emtahen. A: Flying.

Chad Jordan: -flying, something like that. Okay. All right. So do you have a personal, sane or motto that you live by?

Emtahen. A: I don't understand the question.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Is there some advice that you give your daughters all the time?

Emtahen. A: Mostly of the time?

Chad Jordan: Yes. What do you like to tell them about how to live life or something like that?

Emtahen. A: Now just like you guys a teenager and then like you know, just wait until when you get into college and then that time you do whatever you want to do. Now I stop them from a lot of things. Because I think it's not the right time. It's not the right age and then later they will feel guilty. But they will have the freedom soon.

Chad Jordan: They need to be patient.

Emtahen. A: Yes. They have to be patient.

Chad Jordan: Don't grow up too fast.

Emtahen. A: Is too fast. Yeah.

Chad Jordan: If you could... There's a funny question maybe for you, if you could live anywhere else in the world besides Chicago area, where would you like to live?

Emtahen. A: Turkey, Istanbul.

Chad Jordan: Turkey. Have you been there?

Emtahen. A: I been there already three time.

Chad Jordan: Did you buy any rugs? Any suit? Any dresses? They got a lot of good stuff there. What were you doing there?

Emtahen. A: I like just to go there to enjoy the weather and then to see is really cool people, nice people. Culture. I feel like, you know, I'm in like close to my where I live.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Is there a sound or I know there is. What sound or noise do you love hearing?

Emtahen. A: Bird.

Chad Jordan: You like birds chirping?

Emtahen. A: Mm hm.

Chad Jordan: Okay. What sound or noise do you hate hearing?

Emtahen. A: Cat.

Chad Jordan: Cat? Because they kill the birds.

Emtahen. A: Because I'm scared from cat.

Chad Jordan: Oh okay. I'm not a cat person either. Uh oh, I just alienated half of the audience but-

Emtahen. A: I think I think is my like is, is back home. They just like to scare us. Like here, don't touch this, is going to bite you. It's going to be hurt you. It just like a scary is like, just like a month ago I was almost dying just because the dog, I was in my friend house and then I was like, she lived in the third floor. And then I was talking with my kids from the window, by the window and then just suddenly I look in the back and I see the dog, and I will save myself, Dog and I will jump.

Chad Jordan: Go out the window third... So that the police would come, "Well how did she die?" She died jumping out of the window to get away from the cat.

Emtahen. A: Or the dog.

Chad Jordan: Okay. What is your greatest achievement in life?

Emtahen. A: Okay. Just like explain for me.

Chad Jordan: What are you most proud of that you've accomplished?

Emtahen. A: I'm proud about myself. Because I'm still here.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Here in America and here existing.

Emtahen. A: Here in America. Yeah. I'm prod because I was thinking like I'm not going to stay that much long here.

Chad Jordan: Yeah it took some toughness to stay. So that is a great achievement. All right. Now when they make the story, the movie based on the story of your life, they make a movie and it's based on you. What actress do you want to play you?

Emtahen. A: I don't want to be the, I just like, I don't want to be in the story.

Chad Jordan: Yeah, you're not going to be, but if they have to pick an actress for you, she was going to play your role. Who should it be? Who do you like?

Emtahen. A: Who I like? What do you mean? Like, who's I like? Like I like it like to be like in this story?

Chad Jordan: Yeah. So let's say they do the Baghdad barber movie one day and it's about you. And they get your name right. Emtahen Abdullah. Who do you think they should pick to play Emtahen Abdullah? Who should Hollywood cast as your actress?

Emtahen. A: I don't understand.

Chad Jordan: Well, I'm going to tell you who I think it should be. And then you can see, I think Jay... You know who J.Lo is?

Emtahen. A: No.

Chad Jordan: Okay. You got a J.Lo vibe about you. So if there was a movie based on you, I think it should be J.Lo. Do you have...

Emtahen. A: I want to watch this movie.

Chad Jordan: Yes, that's what I'm saying. Exactly the story of your life. What do you think they should call the movie? The title of the movie that was about your life?

Emtahen. A: It's a good to exam?

Chad Jordan: Yeah. It's a good exam. Yes. I like it. What kind of, what kind of music do you like?

Emtahen. A: Arabic music.

Chad Jordan: Okay. Is there a certain artist or a musician that you really like?

Emtahen. A: Is really soft.

Chad Jordan: Okay. What's it-

Emtahen. A: Is really soft music.

Chad Jordan: Yeah. Is there any certain person that plays it that you really like?

Emtahen. A: Alisa.

Chad Jordan: Okay. So that's who the, my next question is, who should do this, the music for your movie? So that's who it will be.

Emtahen. A: Oh wow that's nice.

Chad Jordan: If you got to pick them. All right, last question. Okay. So if heaven, it really exists. Okay. Which I believe you believe it does as well. And when you get to heaven, what do you hope to hear from God when you show up?

Emtahen. A: What like I hear from the God?

Chad Jordan: Mm hm.

Emtahen. A: Like a just like as a good person?

Chad Jordan: Yeah. You want to hear him say that you were a good person. Yeah. I think you, well, I'm not God, but I will say, I think you're a good person. You've been so amazing both at your store here today, obviously. What are your daughter's names?

Emtahen. A: My older one her name [Byon 00:36:57] , and then Angel, and then Amy.

Chad Jordan: What? You went from [Byon 00:37:02] to Amy? They got more American, you know, [crosstalk 00:37:06]. All right. Well, I just wanted to say that I'm sure that they are proud of you as well. They don't, you know, it's funny about? Because I have two daughters and a son. Our kids, my wife's amazing. My kids have no idea how amazing their mom is. They just don't get it yet. Especially my teenage daughters. One day when they are mothers then it'll, they'll realize, Oh my gosh, how amazing my mom is. So right now I know your daughters love you, they're proud of you, but they have no idea what really right? What kind of woman you are and how amazing you are. So I just, I want to let you know from Sport Clips what we think of you. We're so proud of you and not just because of your numbers, 41.7 online check in percentage, $6 and 23 cents take home per client. All those numbers matter. But who you are matters more and so.

Chad Jordan: We appreciate it. Thank you for carving out time and going through not understanding my American accent and language and all that kind of stuff and letting us get through some of those things. But really getting to hear your story was so inspirational. And I know our listeners are going to appreciate it as well, so-

Emtahen. A: Thank you so much.

Chad Jordan: -thank you. Great job. Thank you. All right, everybody tune in next week for another episode. Thanks for joining us.