Like many teenagers fresh out of high school, Brandon Byung-Ho lacked direction and a practical plan for his future.
Then one night as his mother, Heather Taylor, walked home from the market, she was hit and killed by a reckless driver. In an instant, Brandon’s world was turned upside down.
He moved into his mother’s childhood bedroom, and his grandmother, Charlene Johnson, became his only family support.
Brandon had always wanted to cut hair, and he and his mother had discussed his enrolling in hair design school. With her gone, he became determined to make his dream a reality.
Melissa Campbell, owner of the Eastern School of Hair Design in Richmond, assured Charlene that her school would be a good place for him. She was impressed by how well he had cut his grandmother's hair.
Now he is the only full-time male student in a sea of lively, talkative women. Each student must complete 300 hours of training before working on a client. To become licensed, each must learn hair design, manicure, pedicure and other cosmetology skills.
An introvert, Brandon stays quiet and focused throughout the day, working on complex hair designs. He loves music, especially metal, hard rock and punk, and his ultimate goal is to be a hair stylist for rock stars.
“I’m going to make something of myself," he says. "I'm just being me, trying to focus on being good."