August 26, 2016

By Luna Greenstein

                                     Members of the Hollywood Beauty Salon
   (L-R) Darlene, Rachel (a.k.a. Hollywood), Crystal, and Sanetta (a.k.a. Butterfly)


Community can make all the difference when someone living with a mental health condition is on the path to recovery. This idea is the central theme of the new documentary, Hollywood Beauty Salon.

The film features patients from the Northwest Human Services (NHS) Germantown Recovery Community, a non-profit mental health facility in Philadelphia that offers substance rehabilitation and mental health services. It specifically highlights a beauty salon in the area where patients and staff from the facility support each other in the process of healing.

At the Hollywood Beauty Salon, everyone shares their mental health journey. The salon is an environment for people to open up without feeling judged or stigmatized. Most importantly, it solidifies the fact that no one is alone in their struggles. “When I first started coming here… I didn’t want to mingle with people… Then once I started talking about my problems because everybody else was telling their story, I realized that everybody else had stories and I wasn’t by myself,” Darlene Holmes Malone expresses in the film.

The patrons of the Hollywood Beauty Salon have been through everything—from poverty and homelessness to substance abuse and severe mental health conditions. However, the founder of the salon, Rachel Car Timms, believes that it doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, everybody has the right to have a meaningful life. In her eyes, everyone deserves to be loved and to love themselves, so she helps her patrons find their beauty and self-worth.

“Everybody who comes across Hollywood Beauty Salon, I see them as being stars,” Timms states in the film. “I try to find one thing in them that I see that’s good, and I try to work with that one thing to help them overcome the things they feel are not good. And that’s like bringing out the Hollywood in people.”

Throughout the film, genuine kindness and compassion exudes from every member of the Hollywood Beauty Salon community. The closeness between these individuals is clear. They are all far more than people living in the same place and using the same beauty salon—they share similar lived experiences.

Having the right people to lean on when going through the turbulence of recovery is key. When you’re feeling good, they will reinforce that positivity so it lasts. When you feel as if you’re about to spiral, they will be there to support you. Having people who care truly makes the hardship of recovery worth it. And if you’re not convinced, visit the Hollywood Beauty Salon.


“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

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