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Baghdad's Barbie Clinic: 'Look Good, Feel Better'


Signage at Baghdad's Barbie Clinic. (S. Behn/VOA)

Signage at Baghdad's Barbie Clinic. (S. Behn/VOA)

Bright pink neon lights light up one corner of Baghdad's busy downtown area of Karrada: the Barbie Clinic is open for business.

Two men in T-shirts lazily guard the entrance, as women in full-figure covering robes and others in jeans walk in.

Once in, the world of violence and bombings that swirls around Baghdad disappears.

Instead there are pink silhouettes of a pony-tailed woman, pink silhouettes of a woman reclining seductively, and clinic workers walking around in pink nurse-style coats.

WATCH: Video of clinic in action

The clinically-cool reception area is full of women waiting for their turn to get injected with botox, filler, liposuction, hair transplants, or any other of an array of beauty services offered here.

The signature procedure? The Hollywood Coutour' or Hollywood Smile' which guarantees a pretty smile.

Barbie clinic botox and filler table at Baghdad's Barbie Clinic. (S. Behn/VOA)

Barbie clinic botox and filler table at Baghdad's Barbie Clinic. (S. Behn/VOA)

"We do everything here, we do the filler for the cheeks, our Hollywood contour', or for the lips, we do Botox a lot, we do the American line' for facelifting, we do everything," says Dr. Saleem al Khoury.

Khoury flies in from Lebanon for three week stints to perform the procedures.

He says his clients are from Baghdad but also from other cities around the country, driving sometimes as much as six hours to reach the clinic.

Women in abayas at the counter at Baghdad's Barbie Clinic. (S. Behn/VOA)

Women in abayas at the counter at Baghdad's Barbie Clinic. (S. Behn/VOA)

"They do this from themselves, or for their husbands," Khoury said. Sometimes, he said, some women come in because they are afraid their husbands may take another wife.

Shehad Mudafar is recently married. She says she had filler and botox in order to improve her smile, insisting that beauty is important even during war time.

"So what, even if we have war, and we should live, and the soldiers who are fighting, they might need it too," said Mudafar.

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    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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