Photos: Meet the first female barber in Dubai, Samantha Lloyd, 29, from Wales
It is a place synonymous with stunning seven-star hotels, oil-rich sheikhs, and sprawling desert landscapes that go on forever.
But for all the glitz and glamour of Dubai it’s never been possible to have a woman cut your hair – until now.
Samantha Lloyd, from Aberdare , has overcome a generations-old ban on women barbers to become the first female barber in the United Arab Emirates.
The 29-year-old has received special approval to cut men’s hair in the exclusive Dubai Design District.
“I’m overwhelmed, it still hasn’t sunk in,” said Samantha.
“When I applied for the job I didn’t think I would get it because when I googled it I saw that there were no female barbers.
“I had a short interview and they told me it would be tough because I would be the first female barber.”
Women are usually barred from working in barbershops in the United Arab Emirates under laws which affirm strict Middle Eastern traditions.
The government’s health and safety requirements for barbers says that “females are not allowed to work/be present in barbershops”.
But managers at Chaps & Co, where Samantha now works, were keen to challenge the custom and give a unique edge to their new premises.
Samantha trained in her home of Wales before moving to Australia, then Ireland and now resides in Dubai.
She applied for the job with well known barbershop Chaps & Co knowing it would be tougher for her being a woman. However, she beat off competition and with the support of Chaps & Co she is the first female barber in the UAE. They did have to secure special legal approval before Samantha was able to begin work but she has been happily working in the Dubai Design District branch for five weeks now. Samantha is already paving the way for future female barbers in the UAE with a female colleague joining her at Chaps & Co. next month.