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Rachel “Hollywood” Carr

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“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.

Members of the Hollywood Beauty Salon (L to R): Darlene, Rachel, Crystal, Butterfly

Members of the Hollywood Beauty Salon (L to R): Darlene, Rachel, Crystal, Butterfly

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.

Rachel poses for a photo with her son, Caleb, and her daughter, Cadence

Rachel poses for a photo with her son, Caleb, and her daughter, Cadence

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.

Rachel and Anthony

Rachel and Anthony

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.

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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.

Rachel with Irene

Rachel with Irene

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Glenn Holsten

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.

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  • Jana Spalding, Setup4Success

    You go, Rachel! What a shining example of Recovery, using your gifts and talents to motivate and impact others. Peer support through the pursuit of beauty. I love it.

    My gifts and talents are in healing, and when I was first diagnosed I thought my career in health care was dead. I was wrong! Rachel, you inspire me to keep moving forward. Thank you OC87 recovery diaries, for sharing all these great stories.

  • Saundra McCain

    RACHEL. I AM. VERY. PROUD. OF. YOU. YOU. EVEN THOUGH YOU DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE. KEEP IN MIND. ALL WHO MADE. OR HELPED ♡♡ LOVE YOU….

  • Pingback: Rachel “Hollywood” Carr’s Recovery Story | Hollywood Beauty Salon()

  • Nora Fitzgerald

    Rachel I knew you MANY years ago and I never forgot you or your beautiful bright light. I am SO thrilled to see the amazing work you are doing and cannot wait to see the film. Best of luck to you!

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