UK makeup artist and YouTube personality Lucy Edwards refuses to let her disability keep her from living her best life.
When she was only 17, Lucy Edwards’ world went dark, but her story was just beginning. Diagnosed as a child with the rare genetic condition incontinentia pigmenti, Edwards lost sight in her right eye at age 11 and became totally blind six years later. Devastated and confused, the British beauty faced an uncertain future, but ultimately realized she had an opportunity to make a difference by sharing her journey.
Learning to cope
Dealing with eventual blindness wasn’t easy for Edwards. Realizing what lay ahead, Edwards did as much research on the topic as possible.
“All of the questions that I’m now answering I used to Google, because I knew nothing about disability until I became a disabled woman myself. So, at age 16, when I was losing my remaining eye, I was searching ‘what is blindness?’ and ‘what do I do?’ because no one would tell me.”
Finding fame online
When Edwards first decided to upload her experiences on YouTube, she realized she was on to something. She became a hit on social media and continues to gain new followers.
“With TikTok, it was such a crazy new platform. I remember sitting down with my fiancé. I was like, ‘Olly, this is insane. People are really inspired by my story.’ It wasn’t just me putting on my makeup. People go ‘Huh? A blind girl on a video? Blind girls can make videos?
“I think it was the journey that resonated with people. No matter what they’re going through, no matter what they’re doing, I was doing something that seemed impossible to me as a sighted girl. I was doing my makeup better as a blind person than I could ever do as a sighted girl.”
Embracing new opportunities
Through her blogging, motivational talks, broadcast appearances, and modeling, Edwards, now 26, has shaken up the beauty industry, even serving as an ambassador for Pantene shampoo. Whether she’s sharing tips on how to apply mascara or offering advice on how to effectively blend foundation, Edwards is touching lives.
“We’re starting to see a shift. I think the pandemic really brought it home for people that only one thing has to happen, and it can limit us. When I was a young girl, I grew up so quickly, and I learned to live in a completely different way. We have to look beyond our limitations, and think of different ways we can do things. I don’t have to think of myself as broken, and I think that’s what people are starting to understand.”
Edwards has faced her share of challenges since going blind, including being stranded with her guide dog on a passenger assistance train. Her advice for those who are struggling: it’s okay to cry and let it all out.
“Take everything day by day. You are going to feel so crummy, like your world has completely broken apart in two, because you don’t recognize who you are anymore. I think for a long time I didn’t like blind Lucy, because I was comparing myself to sighted Lucy, and I would beat up blind Lucy for so many things that weren’t my fault.”
Currently planning her wedding, Edwards doesn’t let anyone bring her down. She believes that when expectations are low, it’s more important than ever to stand tall.
“It’s about busting through those myths and misconceptions, and saying, ‘Hey, I’m here, and I am not what you think. And this is cool.’”