Frustrated by a Fat-Shaming Beauty Industry, This Makeup Artist Launched the World’s First Plus-Size Beauty Salon
Every Body celebrates inclusivity and the representation of human beings in every shape and form.
Earlier this year, a Memphis, Tennessee nail salon caused a stir after posting a sign that targeted plus-size customers. “Sorry, but if you are overweight, pedicures will be $45 due to service fees for pedicurists,” the sign read, heralding a nearly $20 surcharge over its standard pedicure rate of $25.50. While this horrifying instance of fat-shaming may be an extreme example, it offers a window into the fat-phobia that many people silently face on a daily basis.
For many plus-size folks, taking up space in this world can be absolutely consuming: mentally, emotionally and physically. From facing fat-phobia in the workplace to being harassed in public spaces, it can be difficult for larger people to find places where they can feel safe to partake in self-care.
This reality was what prompted 31-year-old Jamie Lopez, a makeup artist and entrepreneur, to create the very first salon catered exclusively to fat folks: Babydoll Beauty Couture. Lopez launched the business in 2012 with a mandate to give women like herself access to a place where they could feel celebrated, no matter what their body shape or size. Since then, she’s relocated operations from the Los Angeles area to a roomy brick and mortar shop in Las Vegas earlier this year.
Our society’s fat-phobia reflects beauty standards that aren’t necessarily in line with the bodies we encounter in our day-to-day lives. According to a report published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, the average American woman is plus-sized, with the median dress size sitting at approximately a Misses 16-18. But for many fat women in the world, finding spaces where they feel confident and comfortable enough to exist is a serious issue.
Within the walls of Babydoll Beauty Couture, the salon offers everything from extensions, haircuts, spray tans, manicures, and waxes without fear of discrimination. In an interview with Yahoo Beauty, Lopez shares: “I was inspired by there being no place I could get my nails or hair done (in Vegas) that would accommodate my needs as a plus-size woman, and I decided it was time to make some changes for the plus-size women of the world.”
Thinking back on her own experiences, Lopez made sure to install practical size-inclusive features in the salon, such as waxing benches that could accommodate folks up to 600 pounds or pedicure chairs that could sustain up to 800 pounds. Lopez also ensured that each chair was able to accommodate women whose hips measured up to 85 inches.
Although Lopez remembers having had many upsetting experiences in other salons, she’s glad to have turned her negatives into positives and provide a safe haven for those who need it.
“We had one woman come into salon who had not been to one in 25 years,” Lopez tells us by Facebook chat. “We treated her like a queen and she left crying because we made her day. To help other women feel beautiful is so worthwhile to me.”
Have you ever been to an inclusive salon? Tell us about it @britandco!