By Rafaela Kuznec @RafaelaKuznec

AN ASPIRING YouTuber, born without arms, applies flawless makeup using her feet

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Videographer / director: Scott Hoon
Producer: Rafaela Kuznec, James Thorne
Editor: Ethan Edwards

Nicolette Rivera, from Croydon, Pennsylvania, was born with a rare condition, called Femur–fibula–ulna (FFU) complex.

It’s a sporadic disorder involving defects of the femur, fibula and/or ulna generally in association with each other.

But Nicolette has no trouble doing daily tasks, including her makeup.

The 21-year-old told Barcroft TV: “I learned how to do makeup from YouTube.

“I’m very particular with my makeup so it’s rare that I’ll let someone else do it, especially if I have to go somewhere, I always do it myself.

“I don’t have a whole lot of free-range with my foot so I have to move my head to compensate but that helps.”

Despite managing most of her daily routine on her own, Nicolette occasionally requires help with certain tasks, such as cooking or hair styling.

She said: “I don’t look at it as a challenge.

“I need assistance with a few things like cooking if I can’t reach the counter but I can pretty much do everything on my own and I’m just so used to it, it’s not challenging for me.”

Describing her condition, Nicolette said:“It affected the growth of my arms and the growth of my femurs and I'm also missing a fibula in my right leg, which makes it shorter than my left leg.

“Everything else developed completely normal, my torso is completely normal and my cognitive ability is completely regular.

“I didn't get it from anything, nothing caused it, it’s not a syndrome.

“It is something that sporadically happened during the embryonic stage.

“And there's no explanation for it.”

Nicolette’s mum, Nicole Rivera, speaking of the time Nicolette was born, said: “My whole pregnancy, everything was fine.

“It wasn’t until the end of my pregnancy – my doctor ordered another ultrasound just to be safe and just to check up on everything and that’s when it all started.

“We knew something was going on but we didn't know exactly what was wrong.”

At that time Nicole was told that there is a high chance of Nicolette being born as a stillborn: “I went in to deliver her thinking it was going to be the worst outcome where she wasn’t going to live once she was born. 

“It was really scary and when she was born everything was perfectly fine, she was the healthiest baby.

“It was a miracle, it was like a blessing and it wasn’t what we were expecting but we didn’t know what to expect.”

Describing her daughter, Nicole said: “She's very outgoing and when she has her mindset on something, she always finds a way, she never says I can’t.”

Nicolette said she has never experienced any bullied, quite opposite – the kids at school were curious about her condition.

The vlogger said: “It was like people wanted to be my friends, just because it was new to them and they thought it was interesting.”

Despite being very independent, Nicolette admitted that there are some challenges she faces due to her condition: “I have to rely on a lot of people to do other things for me so I’m not always on my own time or my own schedule. 

“I have to be very patient and work with them because they’re trying to help me, so that can be challenging.

“Also trying to explain how to do something without coming off rudely.”

Nicolette has recently got engaged to her partner Zach Graber.

The pair met on Tinder a couple of years ago.

They now live together and plan their wedding in the near future.

Nicolette said: “He usually is the one who is helping me with most things.

“Usually when we’re out in public, not many people come up to us but if they do they’ll be like, ‘Oh my gosh like that’s so nice, you’re with her and that’s so cool’, I think that it’s nice but at the same time I’m like, ‘What makes it so nice? I’m just a regular person like what makes any difference that if he’s with me or someone else?’

“I know that they mean well but it’s not my favourite thing.”

Nicolette’s fiancé Zach said that he became attracted to Nicolette the first time he saw her profile on Tinder.

They went on their first date a month later.

Zach said: “I was just really nervous, I saw her coming, I got all shaky and I didn’t know what to say at first, a gave her a hug and said: ‘It's really nice to see you.’

“I thought she was amazing from the start.

“I think she's incredible, she inspires me to do better for myself.”

Nicolette has her own YouTube channel – she shares her daily life and amazing makeup videos with her subscribers.

The vlogger told Barcroft TV: “I started watching YouTube religiously probably when I first went into high school in my freshman year, and when I would watch it I was like, ‘Oh my gosh this looks like so much fun I could do it too.’

“So I created a channel.”

Nicolette started her vlog in order “to show people I do everything just like you do – I’m not any different, and this is how I live my life.

“It’s not hard, you just got to try and don’t doubt yourself, and once you start doing that you’re golden.”