A transgender woman has opened a hair and beauty salon in Britain to support other people who are transitioning.
Ria Cooper underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman when she was just 14.
Having initially struggled with the change, the now 24-year-old wants to help others going through the same experience to feel comfortable in their skin - by opening a safe space salon.
In addition to hair styling, Hair and Beauty Lounge by RC will also offer makeovers and beauty treatments such as waxing.
According to Cooper, from Hull, East Yorks, she wanted to open the store because she used to feel “judged” when she would go to a “normal” salon.
“When I first changed I found it really scary and very confusing,” she said. “I had no one to lean on for support it was such a massive change.”
“I found it really intimidating as a trans woman going into normal salons. I felt judged and got really bad anxiety just walking in,” she recalled. “It was awful and really knocked my confidence and everyone deserves to be pampered.”
Now that Cooper, a qualified beauty therapist, is confident in her identity and appearance, she wants to help others do the same.
“I saw a huge gap in the market for something like this and I wanted to help others feel comfortable and guide them through the process,” she said of her motivation to open the salon.
Although the salon is open for everyone, it will specifically focus on teaching transgender people how to apply makeup and style their hair.
“It’s a whole new world when you transition and most people don’t have a clue how to apply makeup or style their hair or work with a wig,” she explained.
And the salon will spend time teaching the process, according to Cooper - as well as adding little details like false nails.
She said: “We offer slots from two hours right through six hours where people can learn.
“We want everyone to leave feeling like a million dollars and ready to face the world as their authentic self.”
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