Lucy Edwards On Being Blind And Beautiful

Highlighting the remarkable work of Lucy Edwards in eliminating the myths around disability, helping society to challenge ablism and misogyny.
Lucy Edwards
Lucy Edwards

Lucy Edwards is a 25-year old makeup artist from Birmingham. She suffers from Incontinentia Pigmenti – a rare genetic condition that affected her eyesight as a child. It caused her to lose sight in her right eye aged 11 and then in her left eye at 17.

Lucy still has some light perception but this is expected to relinquish. For several years she has been creating makeup tutorials on youtube, helping other blind women to understand how it can be done without looking in the mirror.

Before Lucy, there was no other blind makeup advice available, as many believed that it was not possible without eyesight. This may explain why her youtube channel called yesterday’s wishes has over 35,000 subscriptions.

Her videos, which she has created for 7 years, also document the everyday challenges she faces as a blind woman as she aims to help the sighted world to understand the social model of disability.

This concept argues that disabled people are not impaired by their physical condition, rather it is the barriers created by the society that disable them. This places the emphasis on society becoming more accessible to disabled people so that they can fully participate in social life.

Not only does Lucy have a youtube channel that gives lifestyle and beauty advice and answers questions, but she is also a disabled freelance journalist and has collaborated with the BBC to promote her use of technology to viewers.

Through her work, Lucy aims to show the world how capable, confident, and inspiring blind people can be, while dispelling myths and prejudices. She demonstrates that through the use of her other senses and technology she can live independently and that blind people are valuable to society. This message has largely been communicated through her blog and videos.
Her videos are predominantly based on teaching other blind women to do their own makeup without having to look in a mirror. Lucy also makes recommendations for the best makeup products to use, so that her followers can replicate her makeup routines.

Lucy helps people to understand that blind women actually do care about their appearance, contrary to the view that they do not care about how they look. Lucy explains that learning how to do her makeup after losing her sight has been a journey, as she relies on muscle memory, mapping her face out into different sections by touch to faultlessly apply it.

She says that organising her makeup bag has been essential to doing her own makeup so that she knows where each product is without needing to see them. Lucy also explains that she can find specific products in her collection by using tactile labels for certain items.

Her sister Alice has been central to her learning how to do her makeup over several years having lost her sight, as she has described makeup tutorials to Lucy which would otherwise be inaccessible to her. Her beauty advice has also involved her promoting different fashion brands such as Misguided and Pandora, as she often does filming with businesses.

Through her partnerships with organisations like guide dogs and beauty brands, she advocates the contribution of blind women to companies to help ameliorate doubts employees may have about the capability of blind workers in their organisation.

Lucy also demonstrates the invaluable input blind people can have in the labour market by showing society that with small adaptations like computer software such as Apple voiceover, blind women are able to work at a standard that is equal to that of their sighted counterparts. 
Another key feature of Lucy’s journalism is dating as she challenges those who still question why a sighted person would commit to a relationship with a blind girl. Her fiancé called Ollie supports Lucy’s work to highlight the value of disabled people, as he explains that he never questioned staying with Lucy when she lost all of her sights.

Ollie also states that it is not difficult for him to live with a fiancé who is blind, as it only means that specific things need to be changed for example having an audio description on the TV so they can watch films together. By explaining the dynamics of his and Lucy’s relationship, Ollie helps to abolish the prejudice that it is difficult to live with someone who has no sight.

This is really positive in informing the general public about blindness, and he and Lucy help to deconstruct any negative perceptions attached to disability and relationships. It is clear to observe for Lucy’s followers that their relationship is strong and healthy, as Ollie says even when Lucy, due to her anxieties of what he may think about her losing all her eyesight, told him to leave her, Ollie refused to abandon their love for each other.

Therefore, they have shown maturity beyond their years in dealing with Lucy’s blindness, as well as proving to anyone who perceives disabled people as undatable due to their impairment. 
Lucy’s journey to being paired with a guide dog has also been pivotal in helping her to tell her story. Lucy was given her first guide dog, a black Labrador called Olga when she was 20. Since then, Olga has been instrumental in giving her independence and the confidence to pursue her career in broadcasting journalism.

The confidence, encouragement, and strength Lucy gained after she had Olga is undoubtedly a key reason why she has been so successful. Viewers of her videos and those who follow her blog posts can easily notice the benefits of having a guide dog.

For Lucy, this enabled her to reach her goals and be empowered to speak out about her blindness. Through this, she has challenged views that question whether blind people can do things sighted people can and even do better than them.

Alongside her broadcasting work, she has also promoted the phenomenal difference guide dogs make to people’s lives, helping to increase public support for the organisation. This is vital because while the work of guide dogs is essential to allow blind people to live as a sighted person would, they still do not receive any government funding. 
A related field that helps to eliminate prejudice and misconceptions about disabled people in the Paralympic Games. London 2012 was undoubtedly a significant moment in changing views about para-athletes, as society began to appreciate the performances of amputees and other disabled athletes.
In summary, Lucy Edwards is an inspiration to both blind and fully sighted people, as she demonstrates how capable blind people are, and are often more talented than their non-disabled counterparts.

Lucy’s videos and blog posts are also very helpful to other blind girls in their journey to accepting their disability, and she has inspired other blind women to follow in her footsteps such as Molly Burke who also creates makeup tutorials and speaks candidly about her challenges. In addition. The unnecessary stigma attached to disabled people is also eliminated by the Paralympics.

I am studying Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. I am a keen runner and am interested in politics and the Middle East.

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