'People don't believe I'm blind': Meet the young make-up artist breaking all the rules

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Watching Jerri Mather apply her make-up on her popular TikTok account, it’s hard not to be impressed. Whether it’s a frosty, metallic eye, a ‘natural lip’ or even an England flag painted onto her cheeks to celebrate the football, it’s clear that the 20-year-old from Rotherham is having a lot of fun.

"I’ve always loved make-up and have always been artistic," says Jerri, who has recently moved into a new house with boyfriend Nick, also 20.

"Lots of people used to tell me that they liked my make-up so last November I started a TikTok account to share hints and tips and already I’ve got nearly 4,500 followers. I really enjoy it."

Jerri loves to try out new, dramatic looks on herself. (Jerri Mather/Instagram)
Jerri loves to try out new, dramatic looks on herself. (Jerri Mather/Instagram)

It is maybe not unusual for a young woman to take to social media to share make-up tips. But what is astonishing about Jerri is that she is blind. Born with only 50 per cent of her sight after suffering brain-damage during birth, she lost more of her vision last year when she was involved in an accident.

"My boyfriend and I were in a taxi coming home when a car that was being chased by the police smashed into us," says Jerri.

"Nick’s head hit the handlebar above the door and he broke his nose and I suffered bad whiplash but within seconds of the crash, I realised that my vision had worsened too.

"It had become even more blurry and I couldn’t see Nick as clearly. We were both taken to hospital where the doctors said they suspected I had a blood clot but I now only have 20 per cent of my vision.

Playful patterns are part of the look (Supplied, Jerri Mather)
Playful patterns are part of the look (Supplied, Jerri Mather)

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"It means that I’m registered as fully blind and now I have to hold things up to my face very closely to be able to see them at all.

"I was really upset at first. I’d adapted so well to having 50 per cent of my vision and was quite independent. Now I’d have to get used to only having 20 per cent vision and be reliant on so many other people. I got quite down about it, but Nick has been brilliant.

"We’ve been together for five years, since meeting at college and he’s my carer now. He made me realise that life didn’t have to be that different."

Jerri changes her hair to showcase her different looks, too. (Supplied, Jerri Mather)
Jerri changes her hair to showcase her different looks, too. (Supplied, Jerri Mather)

Jerri uses a range of modern technology to help her with day-to-day life.

"I have devices that use larger text and a volunteer system called ‘Be My Eyes’ which is like a one-way video. I call them up and ask questions like: ‘Where is my tin of beans?’ and show them around the kitchen and they can tell me. It’s brilliant.

"I label all my individual make-up items with a special labelling machine so when you hover a pen over it, it tells you what the label says. It’s so useful."

life edit
life edit

She decided to turn her hobby into a career earlier this year when she spotted a make-up course online. "I’d never thought about doing make-up as a career but I thought the course sounded cool and at first, the tutors didn’t know how they would teach a blind person.

"There are obvious challenges such as colour-matching certain tones on skin so I rely on colour detectors to help me.

"But I passed the course and next week I have my first ever professional job. A lady wants me to do her make-up for a photoshoot. It’s only a simple job, with a smoky eye but I’m really looking forward to it."

Her TikTok account @beautyisblind is gaining followers by the week but sadly she has also been subjected to some trolling.

"People say that they don’t believe I’m blind but what would they know?" she says. "You’ve got to expect that with any kind of social media and I don’t let it get to me. You have to take the negative with the positive."

Jerri is now getting bookings and has a new career ahead (Supplied, Jerri Mather)
Jerri is now getting bookings and has a new career ahead (Supplied, Jerri Mather)

Read more: Blind woman says rowing transformed her life

Ignoring the trolls and focusing on the future, Jerri has plans to create a range of make-up for visually impaired people.

"Society doesn’t realise that blind and disabled people also wear make-up and so it doesn’t cater for them," she says.

"I’ve found one skincare range that has braille on the packaging but that’s it. I want to create an eyeshadow palette that looks and feels different and has labels on each individual colour.

"That would make it so much easier for people to know what shade they are using. One day I’d also love to open a salon for blind and disabled people to show that although we may be forgotten by society a lot of the time, we are blind but not broken."

Watch: Blind TikToker used platform to educate her audience about visually impaired people