By Martha Hewett @martha_hewett
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Videographer / director: Colin Bell
Producer: Martha Hewett, James Thorne
Editor: Marcus Cooper
Jess Soares, known on social media as ‘Rotting Doll’, has been dressing as an alternative doll for over a year and a half.
The 24-year-old from Rhode Island usually spends an hour and half getting ready each morning to fulfil her doll aesthetic. The routine consists of wearing coloured contacts, wigs and contouring her face with streaks of blue makeup.
Jess told Barcroft TV: “This is an extension of my personality and who I am on the inside. I’m a walking canvas for my art.”
Jess has now shaved her eyebrows to give her more room for eye shadow in order to create more looks. She also has numerous piercings such as a stretched septum ring and lip and cheek piercings.
“It’s just fun to know that you are able to change the way your face looks with makeup, I do different colours – it depends on what I’m feeling that day or what I am inspired by at the time.”
“Doing this is very relaxing, it’s like I’m taking time out of my day for myself.”
Jess draws inspiration from the Japanese fashion community after spending time researching online.
“I always knew I wanted to do something different and to push social boundaries.
“The more I do makeup, the more I feel I am getting closer to my purpose and who I am.”
Jess created the identity of ‘rotting doll’ after wanting to connect her cutesy-doll look with a darker side.
“The whole rotting doll thing comes from not looking like a conventional doll. I take a gory, different twist on the whole doll look.
“I stay away from calling myself a living doll. I am a human who wears makeup,” Jess explained.
Jess deals with criticism from the outside world by surrounding herself with those who are supportive. She credits her boyfriend, Tristan, for being a huge source of artistic inspiration.
“We have learned so much from each other,” Jess said when speaking about her relationship.
Tristan added: “Jess is so bubbly and full of life, we have really helped each other figure out our artistic outlets.”
Jess and Tristan have been together for 10 months, after meeting online.
“When she first contacted me, I was very taken aback because, evidently, anybody who sees Jessica for the first time is going to react, like, ‘wow!’” Tristan explained.
Jess is aware her extreme look can cause negative attention, but she doesn’t let it affect how she feels.
“I am fully aware of the consequences of dressing this way, I accept that people don’t necessarily understand.
“But it happens to be my artistic outlet.”
Tristan asserts that Jess’s appearance doesn’t faze him.
“I got to know Jess as a person, it wasn’t just the style that I was attracted to.
“As far as I’m concerned she is still a natural looking human to me and I find her beautiful that way,” Tristan added.
For Jess, the most important part of her look is empowering others to live and look how they want.
“My favourite part of being able to express myself through makeup and fashion is inspiring others.
“I like to say I’m an advocate for self-expression.
“I want people to know that there are people out there who understand and will help you, and that you’re not as crazy as you think you are for expressing yourself through art.”