By Tom Midlane @goldenlatrine

MEET the make-up artist achieving flawless, creative looks - despite being legally blind

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Director / videographer: Jason Blalock

Producer: Tom Midlane, Stephanie Stijkel, Ruby Coote

 

Editor: Thom Johnson

Lucy Edwards, 24, is a UK-based make-up YouTuber, broadcaster and disability activist who navigates the world with the help of her trusty guide dog, labrador cross retriever Olga.

Lucy lost her sight aged 17 due to a rare genetic condition called incontinentia pigmenti.

Lucy said: "Going blind was massively impactful on the whole of my life, it penetrated every single thing about my life and my existence.

"It's very, very shocking and very traumatising."

Lucy knew her eyesight was degenerating after a routine eye test aged 8. At age 11 the retina detached in her right eye, and then at age 17 in the middle of her college exam period the retina detached in the other eye - leaving her blind.

Lucy is engaged to "childhood sweetheart" Ollie, and the pair have been together since 2013 - although recently had to postpone their wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ollie said: "When Lucy lost her sight it was difficult. One day all was normal and suddenly we were sitting together and she was like "Ollie you're glowing!" We thought at first it was the reflection from the lights in my room, but it was Lucy's retina peeling off."

Despite initially adjusting well to her loss of sight, Lucy admits that the trauma hit her hard once it had had time to sink in.

Lucy added: "I had a massive breakdown at the age of 18. I lost my eyesight and went "no it's fine, I can do this" and then a year later it sets in and it's like "Wow, this is me, I have to live with non-sighted Lucy for the rest of my life."

After she lost her sight Lucy had to relearn to do a number of everyday activities from scratch – including applying her make-up.

Lucy said: "I started picking up my make-up brushes and being obsessed with make-up when I was a younger girl, I would binge watch make-up tutorials, that's where the passion sparked.

"I started my own YouTube channel a year after I went blind, one of the first videos was called "Blind Girl Does Her Own Make-Up", which went completely viral."

Six years on, she now has more than 35,000 subscribers on YouTube and has penned a book, The Blind Beauty Guide, to compile her clever tips - such as applying little bumpy gel stickers to products to differentiate them from one another.

"When I'm doing my make-up I have a few tips and tricks as a blind girl to apply it successfully," Lucy said.

"I decided in 2019 that I wanted to write a book because there was nothing out there for blind women to take control of their appearance."

These days Lucy is a successful YouTuber and broadcaster, becoming BBC Radio 1's first ever blind presenter in December 2019 - although she says she still has her “low blind days”.

She said: "Seven years on I can admit to myself that every day isn't going to be a day when I can be completely on my A game.

"The one thing that I would tell someone who has just lost their eyesight is that you're going to feel incredibly upset, but let yourself be upset. Take stock, time heals, I promise you."

Lucy remains a fearless campaigner for the rights of visually impaired people and says she is on a mission to “prove that you can do anything if you are determined enough."

She added: "I think it's so important that if you are visual impaired or blind, you should be able to feel beautiful."

Follow Lucy on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/lucyedwards

Buy her book The Blind Beauty Guide at https://www.amazon.com/Blind-Beauty-Guide-Lucy-Edwards-ebook/dp/B07WCPMDLZ