“I would not want to change my life, even all the negative and bad stuff, because it actually made me who I am. I wouldn’t change anything.” —Rachel “Hollywood” Carr
A Note From Director Glenn Holsten
Rachel Carr’s nickname, “Hollywood,” evokes images of glamour and beauty. And while she is physically beautiful, it is her spirit that I find most lovely.
For over three years now, I have worked in creative collaboration with Rachel and members of a beauty salon that is part of the Germantown Recovery Community, run by NHS Human Services. Together, we are creating a full-length documentary film called Hollywood Beauty Salon that imaginatively shares the hope and power (and struggle) of recovery from mental illness.
At the center of the film is Rachel “Hollywood” Carr, the soul of the salon. Rachel conceived of and operates the Hollywood Beauty Salon. She uses her own journey with mental health challenges to connect with — and advocate for — her clients.
Rachel has been on her own since high school. She has fought to overcome depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. Her commitment to recovery began when her daughter, Cadence (now 14 years old), was born. Today, she is a Recovery Guide/Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner at the Germantown Recovery Clinic. Her story anchors the film, just as she anchors the Hollywood Beauty Salon.
Inside the salon, Rachel acts as counselor, teacher, consumer advocate and hair stylist. Her flair for hair helps others feel good about their appearances, which she insists is key for recovery. However, she realizes that the health of the mind is just as important. She runs therapy groups and serves as “a guide on the side,” helping members learn how to take public transportation, find housing, and sift through bureaucracies that can entangle people with mental illness as they try to access essential services.
As inspiring and motivational as Rachel is, her recovery — like all recovery — is a process, and it’s not easy. She faces the same struggles of any working parent — child care, financial stress and relationship worries — in addition to maintaining her mental health. Every day is a delicate balance.
By sharing her story of struggle and trauma recovery, she inspires others to be their best possible selves on any given day. She is a wonder.
Rachel’s story is just one of many stories told in Hollywood Beauty Salon. This colorful and inspiring feature-length documentary is about surviving mental illness and violence, struggling with loss, finding courage for recovery, and discovering the beauty inside each one of us. Please visit the film’s website and join the mailing list to get updates on the documentary.