21-Year-Old Black Woman with Autism Makes History in Beauty Industry

by Xara Aziz

Aaliyah Alicia Thompson made history last month when she became the first autistic Black woman in US history to open up a beauty bar.

Aaliyah’s Beauty Bar in Stockbridge, located about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, is a full-service salon providing hair and beauty services to a wide array of clients.

The 21-year-old was five when she was diagnosed with autism. Autism spectrum disorder (or autism for short) is a “developmental disability caused by differences in the brain and may also have different ways of learning, moving, or paying attention,” according to the CDC.

People who suffer from the disability usually have social communication and interaction problems and have restricted and repetitive behaviors. They are also known to avoid eye contact, have a hard time expressing facial expressions, get upset by minor changes, have obsessive interests and must follow certain routines, the CDC further states.

But that only propelled Thompson to overachieve in school where she would consistently place at the top of her class. In high school, she was one of a few who graduated with honors.

Her love for beauty began when she started working at a local beauty salon in Jonesboro, GA. She soon realized that she had what it took to open one on her own.

Encouraged by her mother, Patricia Terry, Thompson opened the salon using her own designs and concepts. Clients can book appointments to experience top-notch services, including makeup, hair and beauty needs. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Thompson says she hopes her courage to open a salon will encourage others dealing with autism to pursue their goals and “achieve anything they dream of.”

We love to see it and congratulations on this historic feat, Aaliyah!

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Aaliyah’s Beauty Bar, visit them here

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