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One Step Away


My name is Rashida Herring, and I go to a program at NHS. I go there because I have a

mental illness. I suffer from paranoid schizophrenia, and I want to get better. We made a

recovery movie at NHS with film director, Glenn Holsten.

When I first met Glenn, it was a little scary because I didn’t know what I was getting myself

into. I knew I was getting involved in a project, but I didn’t know what kind of project. And

then, when we started putting it together, Glenn asked us, “What do you think about doing a

movie?” My first response to Glenn was, “I have to think about it,” because I didn’t want to be

put down about being in the movie. I didn’t want people laughing at me or calling me stupid

or something. I didn’t want to be stigmatized.

So then, I talked to my friends about it. I talked to my friend Crystal, and she gave me a good

suggestion: to be in it with her, because I was more comfortable with her. Then I talked to

my recovery guide about it, and she thought it was a good idea. I was still a little leery about

it, until I gave it a chance.

I am glad that I was in the movie! It shows people who have mental challenges, and it helped

those same people to feel better about themselves.

Making a movie was a good experience. We went to a lot of places to film.

We filmed my friends Crystal and Anthony as they walked around Longwood Gardens; it

was interesting and kind of relaxing. Another one of my favorite parts was when we filmed

Darlene on a street in West Philadelphia. I also liked going to the Kimmel Center with Ed

when we got to see the Philadelphia Orchestra.

And then there was my part; that’s what I liked the best!

For my part of the movie, I chose to go apple picking, because that was a dream I was

looking forward to coming to life. I invited my friend Paris Tyree to be part of my part in

the movie. I am a kind of role model for him. He looks up to me as his big sister, in a way.

Working with Paris was wonderful. Paris and I were laughing and joking at first, and then we

had to pick the apples. We cooked the apples for Ms. Vernell, a recovery guide, and for some

of my friends. It was very delicious.

When Glenn asked me to speak about my childhood, I was kind of sad. I didn’t really want

to talk about it at all. Once I got it out, though, I felt better.

When you tell your story out in the world, you realize that someone else could have gone

through what you went through. You never know. This movie can be a good, positive thing.

The most fun part was singing the music for the closing credits; that was exciting. We got to

meet different people on the crew -- Sean, Phil, Chayne, Ann, Andy the sound guy, and Jorge.

I also liked meeting Daniel, Lexis, and Willa, other members of the crew who coached us on

the side. Everyone became comfortable with each other.

It made us feel positive and respectful because we tried to support each person when they

went to film their parts.

Opening night was very excellent! We were all nervous and weren’t expecting a lot of people.

We were happy because all of our staff members supported us. I wasn’t expecting my family

to come. I didn’t think my family was going to support me, but then they surprised me. I was

sad, though, because my partner in crime — Paris — wasn’t there.

I was really inspired that Ms. Tonya came, because she is a very special person in my life and

we had a good bond. She was my recovery guide.

The film got the audience to think about the positive and to see that mental health programs

have really changed.

Stigma is just a name. It’s not who you are, it‘s what you do about it.

My dream is to go around and help people talk about their feelings, too.

Salons and barbershops in movies and

television shows have often served as a hub

for community or family. There is laughter,

cries, and fresh hairdos.

What if a salon served as a mental health

recovery community?

“Hollywood Beauty Salon,” directed by

Glenn Holsten, features life in an intimate

beauty salon insideof theNHS (Northwestern

Human Services) Germantown Recovery

Community, a nonprofit mental health

program in Philadelphia.” The subjects in the

film portray their own lives and share their

own stories.

Story By Rashida Herring

“Hollywood Beauty Salon” screenings include: November 1 at the Lutheran Settlement

House in Philadelphia, PA; November 10 at the Ambler Theater in Ambler, PA; and

December 4 at the ACME Screening Room in Lambertville, NJ

Rashida looks out for Paris who is her best friend in the film "Hollywood Beauty Salon."


Photo courtesy of "Hollywood Beauty Salon"

Darlene hugs a young version of herself, portrayed by an actress.


Photo courtesy of "Hollywood Beauty Salon"

Sanetta (a.k.a. Butterflu braids Sheryl's hair inside the Hollywood Beauty Salon.


Photo courtesy of "Hollywood Beauty Salon"

“The film fuses documentary, drama, animation and music — lively and engaging ways to

enter people’s lives,” Holsten said. “It was very important to me as a filmmaker that diagnoses

do not become the way that a particular person is identified. I didn’t want viewers to walk

away talking about ‘the person with bipolar disorder’ or ‘that person with schizophrenia.’

Rather it was important for me to stress the things that we all have in common.”

One of the film’s stars, Rashida Herring shared her experience with the inspiring project


One Step Away