A Houston hairstylist is taking her skills directly to the client after hearing from parents who simply cannot take their children with disabilities to a barbershop.
Yelling, kicking, and screaming is not what anyone looks forward to when getting a child’s hair cut. But it doesn’t phase Angelica “Jelly” Robinson at all – styling children with disabilities is her specialty.
“Those kids are my lifeline on my darkest days,” Robinson told Fox26 Houston. “I think about the progress that I make with the kid or a family that felt like they had no options.”
Robinson officially opened Peace and Love Studios, her mobile haircutting service in March after years of working in a salon.
“There were a lot of people that came in that were turned away because of their behavior- and I’m like, ‘Wow, I cannot believe that people in my beauty industry think that this is an okay way to treat anyone. We have a license to make people feel beautiful, literally, all people,” she said.
Robinson said about 80 percent of her customers are on the autism spectrum; others just need special accommodations from an extra special barber.
“They just may be fearful or shy or having anxiety, struggle with depression or just confidence issues,” she explained.
She has a chalkboard in her cargo van that she had planned to use for children to sign their names, but the bright, colorful signatures ended up all over the walls.
“One day one of my kids said, ‘I want to draw on the wood,’ so I said, ‘go for it!”
Robinson said she talks with parents before appointments to help pinpoint any potential triggers.
“If there’s something that your child is definitely afraid of, I’m not going to have that visible when they come into my studio,” she said. “It really is all about the accommodations and making sure that I’m listening to them, even if they don’t talk more words.”
“She’s always calming, and she never gets hair on any other people’s eyes,” said eight-year-old Jayven Vega who has been getting his hair cut by “Ms. Jelly” for five years.
His parents call Robinson the “kid whisperer.”
“Regular places I would have to hold him down like literally grasp him as he was crying, kicking, and screaming,” said his father, Marcus Vega. “He’s screaming, and everybody’s looking and it’s just it was probably the worst feeling.”
Jayven’s mother, Melva Vega, said Robinson’s approach makes the entire family comfortable.
“She’s just patient, you know, she’ll take all the time she needs with him, put on his favorite movie, let him explore,” she said. “Within a year, it was amazing, we saw the difference, the transformation, with him, getting haircuts.”
Robinson wishes to teach her unique skills to others across the country, maybe even around the world.
“If I could at least have one person in every city that takes on challenge accepted haircuts with grace and pride and patience and kindness, then my job on this earth will be done.”
For more information on Robinson’s services, visit her website.