Meet Dr Nyla Raja, the cosmetic doctor who celebrities, footballers and VIPs rely on to combat the signs of ageing and sculpt their figures – without going under the knife.
The glamorous former GP has built a multi-million pound empire as Cheshire’s reigning queen of botox at her Wilmslow Medispa clinic.
And it has been such a success she has now launched a second clinic on London’s legendary Harley Street, with plans for a third in Hale this year.
Mum-of-three Dr Nyla, aged 40, believes she is so successful because she understands exactly how so many of her patients feel when they walk through the door wanting to improve their appearance, and works with an all-female workforce.
She smiles: “Why am I so successful compared to other people? Probably because it’s predominantly women I’m treating and I was that pretty 20-year-old girl who had loads of confidence, but as I’ve aged, as I’ve had children, as I’ve put weight on, I understand, I really understand what it feels like to age, so I can relate to women much more than a man looking at a woman’s face.
“I know how they’re feeling, I’ve walked in their footsteps. I went through that journey, I had to find out who I am again, and I think that’s why I’m successful because I understand that journey.”
But Dr Nyla is also a woman on a mission – to get the non-surgical cosmetic treatment industry better regulated to protect men and women against “backstreet botch jobs”.
She says: “The reason I’m expanding is that there’s loads of beauticians doing this now and that’s really bad, there’s no regulation in this country, it’s so important to me that we make it common practice that people are going to doctors for medical treatments, NOT beauticians.
“I’m on a big campaign at the moment to try to regulate this industry because I’m seeing so much harm coming to young women because when you’re 21 you can’t afford £300 but you think OK I can afford £100 to go to someone on a side-street.
“It’s important to me that I keep my prices reasonable so that the average person can come to me and aren’t forced into back street clinics with unqualified people.”
Dr Nyla launched her Wilmslow Medispa clinic four years ago, specialising in non-surgical face and body treatments that patients could have in their lunch hour and head straight back to work – the likes of botox to smooth wrinkles, fillers to plump lips and fat-freezing contouring programmes.
At the time she had a successful career as a partner in a large GP practice in Poynton, but had so many female patients asking how she managed to look so good that she decided to diversify into cosmetic medicine.
She says: “All the women who were in their 30s and 40s who had just had babies, they all started veering towards me and saying ‘oh god you look fabulous what do you do’?
“I’d been having botox and a bit of filler, and so that’s how it all started really.”
Nyla also used cool sculpting when she went up to 13 stone after the birth of her third child – and was so impressed when she dropped from a size 14 to a size 10 after the treatment that she invested all her savings to buy her own machine and set up her own clinic on Hawthorn Lane in Wilmslow.
She never looked back.
She said: “I started having botox sparsely when I was about 29, I’d had my first baby and noticed a few wrinkles coming.
“Then I started having more when I was in my late 30s, and it wasn’t as easy to lose weight when you’ve had three babies. I started having fat freezing on Harley Street and I thought god this is amazing. So I bought the machine, opened my own clinic and was the first to bring it to the north.”
Although her stunning looks aren’t always a blessing – as she says a major TV show turned her down as their resident doctor because she is “too perfect”.
She says: “I was so upset I went to an interview at this particular show to be their resident doctor but my agent was told ‘she looks too perfect to be on telly’.
“I was just born this way. I’ve not had plastic surgery, yes I’ve had botox and filler and skin-tightening but I’ve not been born with a silver spoon in my mouth.
“I do three school runs before I even get to work, but you have to take responsibility for your own life.
“If I’ve got a problem I’ve fixed it in my life. To develop a multi-million pound business you have to work night and day.
“I should be applauded for that, not to be told that I’m too perfect.”
There is not the merest hint of a line or wrinkle on Dr Nyla’s face, but she warns against going to extremes with botox.
She says the reason she is so successful is that her work is so natural, no one would ever know that patients had had anything done, saying: “I do everything that’s understated because it’s got to look like yourself. The point of cosmetic medicine is not to look like a different person but to retain your individuality.”
Nyla was born one of seven sisters in a very “beauty conscious environment”, and she laughs as she recalls how her dad would be “constantly building bathrooms for these girls”.
But it was a family tragedy that first set her on the path to become a doctor.
When she was just 12 years old she watched in horror as a drink driver ploughed into her four-year-old sister Neelam as they were walking to school in Prestwich.
She sighs: “It was Neelam’s first day at school and we were all crossing the road when a drunk driver ploughed into us.
“I had to try and resuscitate my little baby sister but unfortunately I wasn’t successful and she died in my arms.
“I was only 12, it was the worst feeling in the world, that feeling of being so helpless. I ran home and went upstairs and prayed to say: ‘dear God I will save so many people I will be a doctor I will bring people back.’
“And that’s why I became a doctor, because I care, because I don’t want to feel helpless.”
Nyla firmly believes that what she now does is simply another branch of medicine – because making people feel better on the outside can make them feel better on the inside.
But wouldn’t it be better for people to learn to accept the ageing process and not be so caught up with their physical appearance?
She said: “I absolutely agree with that, but I am a doctor, so my raison d’etre in life is to heal and help people.
“So when people come to me and say I don’t like this on my face, it’s making me feel insecure, then we need to fix it.
“I am making people feel better on the inside by improving their looks on the outside.
“I am telling you the truth.
“I have women crying in here, I get it, I get people. When you feel overweight, you don’t feel the best on the inside. You can fix it and you can feel better. This is a branch of medicine, which is why beauticians shouldn’t be doing it.”
Medispa is now the largest cosmetic clinic outside of London for non-surgical facial contouring and body rejuvenation programmes.
Doctors and nurses administer the injectable procedures, and the clinic sees around 100 people a day.
She says: “I think surgery is too extreme, there’s no going back from that. The treatments we do are all non-surgical, you can do them in your lunch hour, there’s no down time, there’s no bad effects and you feel better and look better.
“We make you look better on your face, we can lift, tighten, stretch, botox, fillers and we can get rid of fat, cellulite everything.”
Nyla lives in Prestbury with her children, two boys and a girl aged 13, 8, and 5.
Clients range from famous faces like 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.
Dr Nyla says: “Honestly, this is the nicest job in the world. People come in and they’re so emotional, like a 50-year-old woman saying they’re about to give her job to a 25-year-old woman because she looks better, and I feel like it’s a personal challenge.
“I take each woman and say no, you’re not going to let people treat you like this, I feel like I’m empowering women.
“When do you ever meet somebody and tell them your deepest insecurity? I feel my job is a complete privilege. I feel like I’m talking to my sisters most of the time.”