When her four-year-old sister Neelam died in her arms, Dr Nyla Raja, the owner of the biggest cosmetic beauty surgery in Cheshire, decided to become a doctor.
‘My baby sister was knocked over by a drunk driver when I was 12,’ she reveals.
‘She was actually in my arms and I tried to resuscitate her when she died. That is why I became a doctor. I never again wanted to feel that helpless again.’
Helpless is how Dr Nyla describes some of the women who turn up at the door of her Medispa clinics in Wilmslow, Harley Street and Hale, and she has made it her mission to help them gain empowerment, through the means of cosmetic procedures.
‘This is why women come to me, because they are helpless. They know their husband is having an affair, they know they are ageing and it is affecting their work,’ she explains.
‘A TV presenter came to me the other week and at 52 said “They’re going to give my job to this 28 year old and my experience counts for nothing, because I look 52”. I’m thinking that’s just wrong. How can you be judged on your age?’
Dr Nyla’s highly regarded status means she’s a very busy women. On the day we meet the BBC are in shooting for a documentary about UK cosmetic clinics, meanwhile the doors of her Wilmslow spa are constantly opening and closing as clients of all ages enter the inner sanctum in search of the holy grail – youth.
It was when she was a GP working in a practice in Poynton she began to notice an increasing number of women were asking her advice – ‘like it was a medical problem’.
‘They’d make a GP appointment with me and say “I look tired”, or “I don’t look myself”, and I realised this was a branch of medicine. Women didn’t feel good about themselves and they were coming to their GP to make themselves feel better.’
‘I really thought that if I could help them look better, I’d help them feel better.’
Dr Nyla herself is testament to the power of non surgical cosmetic treatments. Now in her 40s, her skin is flawless but not in an expressionless way. It also helps that she has a passion for fashion and looks amazing in an Isabel Marant cream coat.
‘My face shape has changed my body changed, so this is why I started Medispa. I started off having a treatment called Coolsculpting. I went to Harley Street and had it done and it was fantastic. So then I bought the machine mainly to treat myself. It really worked and so this set off this non-surgical path and I have gone from strength to strength. I’ve opened up in Harley Street and I’ll be opening up in Hale. I’m the biggest cosmetic clinic outside London and the largest Coolsculpting clinic.’
For the uninitiated, Coolsculpting is a fat freezing machine that kills off fat cells and can treat everything from a double chin to love handles. It’s now famously used by the Kardashians who have ensured its rise in popularity.
‘When people look better they feel better. It’s about empowering women,’ continues Dr Nyla.
‘Once you have a few children you age but you also lose your identity because you become a mummy. It’s about regaining what you used to have.’
Dr Nyla’s Medispa clinic is only four years old and yet she has a client list that includes model Abbey Clancy, singer Natasha Hamilton, Real Housewives of Cheshire star Tanya Bardsley and a host of Premier League footballers and their wives, to business people and busy mums.
‘Before there were either injectables or surgery. Now we’ve kind of revolutionised this industry by the introduction of these non-surgical treatments that can make dramatic differences. They really are quite significant. So there’s now a happy medium.
‘There are a lot of people not happy going under the knife. Plastic surgery rates have gone down by 16 per cent this year. I think it’s because there are these super technologies. The treatments I provide are only available through medical clinics because they are so effective. They have become so popular thanks to shows like the Kardashians as they’ve had these exact same treatments. They’ve had Coolsculpting and Ultherapy (a non-surgical ultrasound treatment that counteracts the effects of gravity on your skin) so there’s a lot more publicity around them as well.’
Dr Nyla’s success, and that of the clinics which have sprung up after her, has created a bubble effect in the county she says.
‘Cheshire has become the centre of clinical cosmetic treatments. There are so many clinics popping up everywhere. It’s becoming the Harley Street of the north and I think I am the pioneering doctor.
‘I was the first doctor to bring Coolsculpting and Ultherapy to the North West, the first person who has brought M22 laser to the region and I’m the only Diamond premiere Coolsculpting clinic.
‘I do all the consultations. I don’t do all the treatments myself. I do the injectables but it’s my opinon people are paying for because I think I have developed a reputation for understated work. People shouldn’t be able to tell.’