A salon in Sevierville offers members of the LGBTQ community a place where they can safely wax, get their hair done, and be their most authentic selves.
SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — For many members of the LGBTQ community, walking into a salon and asking for a haircut can be terrifying. Some members of the LGBTQ community say they have been denied services because of their identity or have been directly insulted for who they are.
So a business owner from Sevierville starts offering a special kind of service at the Wanderlust Salon and Spa.
“We do intimate waxing here, so there’s always that weird question, ‘What kind of wax do you need?'” said Jessie Sexton, owner of Wanderlust. “So we created the Rainbow Package. It’s just kind of a code for us to know that you’re safe, and you’re going to be here with Nathan or Maddie or myself, and we’re going to take very good care of you. .”
There will be two types of Rainbox waxing available at Wunderlust. The first is a full body hair removal and can take around 3 hours depending on the person’s hair growth. They also offer a less expensive intimate waxing service.
The company was a winner of Salon Today’s Top 200 Salons in North America in 2021 and 2022, according to the company’s website.
Sexton said she learned how much the LGBTQ community needs a safe space to get beauty services and relax by reading social media posts.
“We encourage everyone to be their most authentic self,” said Nathan Vaughn, stylist and shoe shiner at the salon. “It’s a very inclusive environment. And for me, that’s one of the most important things ever.”
Sexton said about 20% of Wanderlust’s clientele are members of the LGBTQ community. A prominent member is Jason DeShavo, a drag performer whose character is designed to be family friendly. The character is named Momma Ashley Rose and has performed to raise money for non-profit organizations in the past.
“Going somewhere comfortable and safe for anyone, whether they’re LGBTQ+ or straight, having that safe environment is incredibly important, especially these days,” DeShavo said.
Vaughn said she started working at the salon because it gave her the chance to do something meaningful. She said working at Wanderlust gives her the chance to help people feel like they belong in their own bodies, affirming their identity while giving them a sense of community and connection.
“We really want to help people be who they are, without any judgment,” Sexton said.
The Rainbox package will be 50% off starting next week, according to the store owner. The salon also participates in “Strands for Trans”, a movement to make hair salons and salons more inclusive. Participating salons can display a barber pole sticker in transgender pride colors.
Anyone wishing to make an appointment at Wanderlust can do so online.