ONE Rathfriland beauty salon is showing the world it doesn’t fit the bill of a stereotypical workplace.
Fabulous Beauty Studio on Caddell’s Lane has a glamorous assistant who is quickly becoming a social media star!
Cheryl Greer (25) has Down’s Syndrome and nothing stands in her way of making sure local ladies are left feeling a million dollars after her five-star treatments.
Cheryl is loving her glamorous new role. Photograph: https://mrnicklewis.com/
The Magheralin woman spends every Wednesday in the local salon with owner, Kilcoo woman Noelle Lyons.
Cheryl, the youngest of five, was one of the first customers through the doors of Fabulous when it opened earlier last year.
She is single-handedly shaking up the industry to prove to everyone that beauty is much more than skin deep.
Noelle told The Outlook: “Cheryl has been coming to me now for nearly a year. I am friends with Cheryl’s sister, Jo-Ann (Welby) from Newcastle.
“I first met Cheryl about 10 years ago when she was in the hairdressers with her sister and we have been friends ever since.
“Cheryl was the third customer through the doors of Fabulous and she basically just hasn’t left!
“She came in with her sister Jo-Ann and then Cheryl’s other sister, Claire asked if I would be interested in taking Cheryl on one day a week, it just spiralled from there. Initially it was just supposed to be a few weeks of a placement.”
Cheryl, who admits to being “a little bit shy” when she first started at Fabulous, has grown in confidence over the year.
She has learnt how to give clients facials, hand massages, arm massages and apply some make up too.
“Cheryl meets and greets all the customers with a big smile when they come through the door.
“I have regulars that come in to see her such as Roberta the postwoman and Geraldine Fitzpatrick from the estate agents.
“I also have a client from Castlewellan called Danielle who comes in. Cheryl has nicknamed her Faith Hill after the country music star!” Noelle said.
Cheryl, who has a love of glitter and gold, has also attracted the attention of online bloggers who have visited Rathfriland to meet her.
Noelle added: “We have had the popular blogger, NI Gossip Guy here and Ingrid from ‘Sugar Coating Nails’ and most recently Lisa Colhoun from the Instagram account ‘One Small Step’.
“Lisa, who is from just outside Cookstown, lost her husband Christopher in January of last year.
“He passed away just 24 hours after being admitted to hospital with flu and Lisa blogs about beauty and fashion and her journey with loss.”
Cheryl treated mum-of-two Lisa to a facial and a hand and arm massage and applied her make-up.
And last year the salon raised over £3,000 for three-year-old Ellen Treanor from Bessbrook who is battling cancer.
Noelle says after battling cancer herself she opened her salon to make women feel good about themselves.
“I had cancer eight years ago and put on a lot of weight at the time which was very hard to deal with, as I’m a former dance teacher.
“I was always very much into tan and glam and I was doing it from home. I always thought Rathfriland was a lovely town and a hidden gem of the Mournes.
“I personally decided that I wanted the salon to seem homely. I wanted people to come in and feel at home, regardless of what they were going through. I know what it feels like to not feel well or glamorous and I want women to feel at ease.
“We started off just doing make-up and now we offer so much more. Mums with children on the autism spectrum can bring their girls to get their make-up done. We cater for everyone,” she said.
Noelle says she is often asked why she decided to take Cheryl on as her glamorous apprentice.
“I have just adored Cheryl from when I first met her. When people say to me why did I do it, my response is always why not? She’s brilliant!
“I just thought it would be great if I could bring her on, in any way at all, then that is my mission accomplished.”
Every Wednesday, Cheryl shares one of her beauty tips online and has gained a large following.
Noelle said: “People tune in for that and also to see videos of her catwalk, treatments too and what she is wearing.
“Cheryl has followers from Cork, England and all over the north too - she has her own fan club!
“Even when we walk through The Milestone, people are shouting out ‘hello’ to Cheryl and she always has the biggest smile for them.”
Cheryl recently took part in a photo shoot with Nick Lewis Photography who saw her infectious personality on Instagram.
When asked about her experience at Fabulous, Cheryl is typically positive: “Noelle is just beautiful and a really good friend of mine. My favourite thing to do is make-up and the catwalk.
“I love Beyonce and Girls Aloud and a bit of Spice Girls and Celine Dion. Rose gold is my favourite colour and I love leopard print too.
“Wednesday is my favourite day when I come to Fabulous and I love meeting all my friends here,” Cheryl added.
Cheryl gives Outlook reporter Barbara a hand massage under the watchful eye of Noelle. 15108im