Fort Myers convict turns life around, travels world to motivate others as ‘All-Star’ barber

Ivan Suarez said, picking up a pair of clippers helped him turn around his life.

Before the Fort Myers man became a successful barbershop owner, published author and motivational speaker inspiring people, Suarez, 36 years old, said he grew up on the wrong streets and the wrong side of the law.

Ivan Suarez displays this prison identification card on his social media pages because he wants people to know about his past and believe in their future, no matter where they are. (Credit: Ivan Suarez)
Ivan Suarez displays this prison identification card on his social media pages because he wants people to know about his past and believe in their future, no matter where they are. (Credit: Ivan Suarez)

“Fort Myers has always been a great place to live,” Suarez said. “But like any other town, it has it’s dark spots. As a kid coming from a single-parent home, I come from those same streets kids tend to get lost in.”

Suarez said he was in and out of trouble as a kid and at age 23 when he was incarcerated for armed trafficking.

“I got out with a new vision on life and I vowed to never go back to that life again,” Suarez said. “About two and a half years after being released from prison, I opened up my very first barbershop, Boomz Barbershop.”

Twelve years later, Suarez is running two barber businesses in his hometown and reaching out to kids in the community, sharing his story to motivate youth.

“If I can grab that one child, if you influence them correctly, they will influence their friends correctly and so on and so forth,” Suarez said, “showing people there is more to life than what you are subject to.”

Suarez, who wrote a book, travels around his community and the world as a motivational speaker. He also visits prisons to encourage inmates to find a new perspective and passion as he did.

Ivan Suarez gives a motivational speech, inspiring people to overcome adversity. (Credit: Ivan Suarez)
Ivan Suarez gives a motivational speech, inspiring people to overcome adversity. (Credit: Ivan Suarez)

“Encouraging people to do more and be more,” Suarez said.

One of his regular customers, Renny Razor, said he chooses Suarez’s services because of his past and because of the impact he sees the Fort Myers native making on the community’s youth.

“I would describe him as an inspiration,” Razor said, “a businessman who started from nothing and now has two barbershops and also is an author, traveling the world and his mess-ups in life are his message to the youth.”

This weekend Suarez will travel to China to teach a class at the All-Star Barbering Academy and speak to children overseas. He said he has more international trips planned, including one to Colombia.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Michael Mora
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