The Unsung Heroes of Beauty

We made a film for Scroll and DW – Global Ideas as an entry for a contest they ran – The Parlour Boys.

And!!! We have been shortlisted for the People’s Choice Award!

Here is a background to this story:

“The Indian beauty & wellness market is expected to touch 80,370 crores in 2018”
                                                                                – KPMG Wellness Sector Report 2016

This emerging sector employs boys who are sought after by the women clientele for haircuts, pedicures and manicures.

These boys, who hail from small towns and villages, learn on the job and have to straddle their own lower middle class struggles and the needs of their rich customers.

Their job reflects the changing attitudes, aspirations and the urge to be part of a booming economy.

While beauty academies have sprouted to the rising demand, it is these unskilled and unrecognised labourers who form the backbone of this industry.

This is the story of the Parlour Boys.

As I wrote this, my sister sent me an article from The Cut – What Hairstylists Know About Domestic Violence by Caitlin Moscatello:

“New York State Assembly Woman, Linda Rosenthal, is looking to change that with a bill that, if passed, would require salon professionals to take a domestic-violence-and-sexual-assault-awareness course so if a client shares that he or she is being abused, stylists know how to react.  The thinking goes that if stylists can refer even a few clients to a hotline or program for victims, there’s potential to have an impact — even save lives. What makes this very interesting is that lawmakers are focusing on salons specifically, due to the close contact stylists have with clients. Part of this may seem like a stereotype — that people divulge their most personal secrets to their hairdressers. But the stylists interviewed for this article say that for clients they see regularly, that’s very much the case. There’s also a physical closeness that stylists have with the women who sit in their chair that’s different from, for example, a bartender lending her ear”.





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