THE WOMAN behind luxury beauty clinics favoured by the rich and famous in Dubai, the Maldives and Beverly Hills started her working life as a Saturday girl in a Glasgow hair salon.

“I washed hair at the Rainbow Rooms, and I was definitely the worst hair washer on the planet,” admits Deborah Alessi, with a groan. “But I enjoyed the rewards from working and I think I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I never say no and I give 100 percent.”

Glasgow Times: Deborah AlessiDeborah Alessi (Image: Deborah Alessi)

Now based in the glamorous surroundings of Palm Jumeirah’s Five Palm Hotel in Dubai, Deborah says she “will not kiss and tell” about her clinic’s celebrity customers, who regularly pop in to take advantage of skin treatments, cosmetic aesthetics and reconstructive surgery.

“I can’t give you any names, but we have movie stars, famous influencers, royals from around the globe,” she says, smiling. “And plenty of locals and tourists too. Anyone who is wanting to look and feel better about themselves, really.”

Glasgow Times: Deborah AlessiDeborah Alessi (Image: Deborah Alessi)

Growing up in Glenmavis, near Airdrie, and then Mount Vernon in the East End of Glasgow with her mum and dad Tim and Agnes, and brother Thomas, Deborah says the death of her father changed family life “overnight”.

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“I was eight, then overnight I was 18 – I had to grow up too fast,” she recalls. “But that definitely helped me become the woman I am today. Your father is the first man to tell you that you are beautiful and smart, and when that is gone. it has a huge impact on your life.

“My parents were involved in the restaurant business and our lifestyle changed completely after my father died. I believe this is why I am afraid of failure - I never want to feel that way again.”

Glasgow Times: Deborah and her brother Thomas in GlasgowDeborah and her brother Thomas in Glasgow (Image: Deborah Alessi)

An abusive relationship prompted Deborah’s move away from Glasgow and Scotland.

“I still struggle with trust issues,” she says.

“When I was younger, I wanted to run away as far as possible from Scotland as the memories were too difficult. Now I love going home to my roots.”

After studying business management at Glasgow University, Deborah worked in the airline industry for several years, eventually managing the Bahrain Royal family’s fleet of private aircraft.

“I was eager for big changes and travel adventures,” she explains. “I loved traveling the world, meeting new people.

“I eventually got married and spent many years helping my now ex-husband expand his plastic surgery practice.

“I was always researching and learning the newest trends in health and beauty...and I have always loved trying new products to help keep my skin healthy and glowing.

“A few years ago, a doctor introduced me to vitamin injections, and I had the idea to launch my own brand.”

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The result was the Beverly Hills Wellness and Aesthetics Clinic, which started in LA, “cosmetics capital of the world,” says Deborah, then expanded into the Maldives, India and Dubai.

“I love Dubai - I started first with Caesar's Palace, then launched at the Five Palm,” she adds. “Growing any new business is not an easy journey, but now having celebrated the first full year of success, we're settling in nicely.”

Deborah’s first UK clinic will open in London this year, and she hopes Glasgow will be next.

“I think that would be amazing,” she agrees.

“I'd say to any woman considering setting up her own business - do your research, choose something you are passionate about, and build a strong support team. You can't do it all alone and my employees are a big part of my success.”

As a survivor of domestic violence, Deborah was keen to “give something back” and set up her own charity.

Face Forward now provides free emotional support and reconstructive surgery for women, children, and men who have been victims of domestic abuse or crime.

“It started as just a small local organisation, has grown into a now internationally recognised charity, and we've helped survivors from 15 different countries around the world,” she says. “We are helping rebuild their faces and bodies surgically after suffering from abuse, human trafficking, or other cruel acts of crime, and helping them heal internally as well with emotional support services.

“It is my proudest achievement.”