Meet Jessica Ruiz, a talented makeup artist with a unique way of applying makeup to her clients’ eyes and lips. She uses her mouth.
Finding her passion
Jessica was born with arthrogryposis, a disease which limits hand and arm movements. While breaking into a career as a makeup artist has been extremely challenging for Jessica, her perseverance has definitely paid off.
Jessica was bullied relentlessly in middle school because of her disability. So she turned to makeup as a way to boost her confidence. She used her left hand to apply the makeup while tilting her head down to make the application easier given her mobility limits. And while the makeup didn’t necessarily stop the bullies, it did make them look at Jessica differently, even prompting one to tell Jessica she looked beautiful. And that change, even though it was small, began to stir something in Jessica.
Then in high school, Jessica was approached by a friend to do her makeup for graduation. “I said yes, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” shares Jessica. “I didn’t have to do foundation, just eyes and lips. So I just put the brushes in my mouth and dipped them in and applied.”
And that was the start of something big. Jessica began to realize that she could turn applying makeup with her mouth into a career.
But there were still obstacles in her path. Jessica was met with a slew of rejections after applying to several makeup schools. Some schools told her it was unsanitary to apply makeup with her mouth, and that models would be uncomfortable with Jessica getting so close to their faces (as close as 3 inches at times) during makeup application. One even shredded her paper application in front of her. “To have a dream and a passion and have someone crush it like that was really heart-wrenching,” shares Jessica.
So Jessica turned to YouTube makeup tutorials and honed her skills with her younger sister as her model. Jessica learned makeup techniques ranging from special effects to wedding looks, and she worked her way from gigs without pay to eventually earning enough funds to quit her retail job and pursue her makeup artist dream full time.
While Jessica has seen more than her fair share of criticism and negativity on her journey, she’s also witnessed a lot of compassion and acceptance as well.
“There are … people who really truly see this as equal and equivalent. The only difference is in the way that I apply makeup.”
Way to go, Jessica!
Share this article with someone to show how perseverance and creativity can help make dreams a reality