AN Iranian woman who moved to the UK to study computer science revised her career plan and opened her own beauty salon.

Laleh Hatami-Gallagher came to the North-East in 2014 from Ahvaz in the southwest of Iran, to do a masters degree at the University of Sunderland, which she knew was a leader in the subject.

While studying she worked part-time at a Superdrug store in the city offering beauty treatments and found she was both good at the work and enjoyed it.

So when she completed her studies but could not find a job in computing, she trained in more aspects of beauty therapy in pursuit of a different career.

She rented a space in a Sunderland salon and has now expanded by opening her own salon– Golden Star Beauty in Bishop Auckland.

"It wasn't the plan at all," she said.

"I wanted to study at the University of Sunderland because it was a top ten university for computing, and I loved it especially networking systems.

"But when I finished, I couldn't find a job related to it.

"When I was doing lashes and brow threading at Superdrug, I found it really interesting and the customers were happy so I did more training courses to get new skills.

"To now have my own salon is a surprise but wonderful.

"I did always want to be my own boss, I just didn't expect a career in beauty."

An extra reason to put down roots in the region came when, after about a year in the UK, she met future husband Adam Gallagher, from Bishop Auckland.

The couple married at Hardwick Hall Hotel, in Sedgefield, last May and though her family were unable to attend from Iran they watched the ceremony online.

Mrs Hatami-Gallagher thanked parents Ramazan Hatami and Roghiyeh Khosravan for their support, and said her husband, who works at the Gestamp Tallent factory in Newton Aycliffe is a huge help with the venture.

The salon, on Saddler Street, was opened on February 2.

The 35-year-old said: "I moved to Bishop and was looking for a great location, when I got this we had it ready in ten days.

"I'm really happy, I feel my dreams have come true.

"I do a full range of treatments including waxing– facial and body– eyebrows and lashes, HD brows, extensions, skin care, massage, nails, wedding packages and in the next two or three months I hope to get sunbeds in."