Scroll through makeup artist Jessica Ruiz’s Instagram profile and you’ll see photo after photo of beautiful women with faces full of beautiful makeup.
The even more amazing part is that Ruiz does all of that by using only her mouth.
The Philadelphia-based makeup artist has arthrogryposis, a condition that keeps her using her arms and hands. The disease let to cruel bullying in middle school, and she used makeup as an outlet, angling her face down to her left hand in order to apply eyeshadow, lipstick and more.
And her bullies took notice.
“The girls that were calling me names, their view of me actually changed. They said, ‘Wow, you look really beautiful,” she told Yahoo Beauty. “The bullies would not stop, but their view of me changed. My view of myself changed as well, to be able to take that little bit of eyeliner and mascara and boost my confidence.”
Soon after, others asked her to start doing their makeup for graduations.
“I said yes, but I didn’t know how I was going to do it. 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,” Ruiz said. People loved her work, but makeup school after makeup school rejected her. Eventually, she learned her method using YouTube tutorials and eventually booked jobs at fashion shows.
“I was working with so many people who had degrees and there was little ol’ me taught on YouTube working alongside them,” Ruiz said, but not everyone was so welcoming with her approach, though that was the minority.
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“I have some people that are booking me just because of the way that I do makeup now,” Ruiz said. “There are other people who really truly see this as equal and equivalent. The only difference is in the way that I apply makeup.”