Beauty in Transition, a mobile salon created by Jody Wood serving the homeless with free haircare, is coming to Philadelphia in June with help from Asian Arts Initiative. As part of the project, volunteer professional stylists offer hair washes, cuts, color, and styling inside a truck custom-outfitted as a mobile salon.
“I created the project because this service is not seen as essential to survival, yet it is essential to identity,” Wood wrote in an email. “I think it is dehumanizing to assume the poor should live on basic bare necessities alone. Every human wants to feel beautiful and cared for.”
Already she has some stylists on board in Philadelphia who are volunteering their time, including Admirations Hair It Iz, Juju Citrus Salon, and independent stylists Tracey Hayward and Michela & Francesa Mickler.
Woods added that she’s bringing the salon to Philadelphia because the city is growing, and therefore more and more of the city’s poor are becoming displaced. Woods added that she’s working with Asian Arts Initiative to bring the project to the city from June 21-28 because the organization is a community-based organization using art to cross cultural and economic divisions.
“The project’s primary goal is to break down social stigmas of touch that keep people who are homeless isolated,” Woods said. “I’ve seen how the one-on-one conversation and rapport between stylist and client can really remove the label of ‘homeless’ so that it’s just about two people having fun and sharing stories. Bringing a short-term project like this to Philly can be seen as a platform to bring light to stories that are not normally heard, a way to strengthen community bonds, and give some healing and rejuvenation to the homeless clients we get to serve. It’s not a long-term solution to homelessness; it functions more as a healing gesture.”
Image via Nicola Benizzi