Jessica Ruiz | Dreamy Eyes Artistry
That’s because the Philadelphia native has arthrogryposis, a condition where a child is born with joint contractures — meaning her joints don’t move as much as normal.
Twenty-six years ago, Ruiz was born an addict because her mother used crystal meth throughout her entire pregnancy. She was also born with her intestines outside her body and was sent into surgery immediately upon entering the world.
“Her drug use actually got me to the point to where I am today. It made me a better person,” Ruiz told Vivala. “My mother’s drug abuse and her self-centeredness actually gave me the real power to say, ‘Okay, how can I take this negative situation into a positive?’
Despite having very limited use of her arms and hands, Ruiz’s positive outlook has given her the strength to pursue a career as a makeup artist.
In October, the part Puerto Rican, part Irish makeup artist had the opportunity to work alongside professionals at the second-annual Philadelphia Small Business Fashion Week.
“That was the biggest break,” she recalled excitedly.
On October 16, the night before she was scheduled to work the event’s kickoff, Ruiz said she told organizers about her disability. Dawane Cromwell, founder of the fashion week, said he received a call from one of his lead makeup artists who told him Ruiz actually applies makeup with her mouth.
“I paused for 15 seconds, and then I told the lead makeup artist, ‘What time can she be there tomorrow?’” Cromwell said he watched Ruiz apply makeup the following day.“The movement and the quality was identical to any other artist, and she was actually moving a lot faster than any makeup artist,” he said. “I was so impressed.”
For Ruiz, it was an unforgettable day.
“To actually be in a room full of professional makeup artists that have a degree in cosmetology and know that I’m working side by side with them was an amazing feeling in itself,” she said.