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Instagram motivates budding disabled make-up artist

Ruby Van Leuven

Ruby Van Leuven’s use of Instagram puts to shame all the users who use the social media site for uploading what that had for dinner.

The 23-year-old from Adelaide led a sheltered life believing her disability was holding her back. To Ruby her wheelchair was far from a thing of beauty…It was more of an eye sore.

As with most teenagers she started experiencing with make up through her adolescent years. Reading books and blogs Ruby familiarised herself with the tricks of the trade and soon her friends were lining up so she could give them make overs.

During a semester from University Ruby used the time off to build on her skills, but it wasn’t easy. A succession of setbacks arrived through the post from companies turning down her job applications due to her lack of experience.

She told Daily Mail Australia: 'It’s very frustrating because, with a lot of these companies, the attitude seems to be: "Well, we'll have to make changes to our environment to accommodate you, and that's just something we're not willing to do.”

Growing up Ruby faced confidence was continually knocked by people patronising her just because she had a disability.

'It led to me growing up and believing that was how I was meant to approach my own disability, with negative opinions and sadness, and that the goal was I should try and be as able-bodied as I can be,' she said.

Things started to change when Ruby began building a reputation on Instagram.

'Suddenly I was in this online space where I had access to a lot of other parts of the world, and a lot of individuals who had experienced the same kind of isolation.’ Van Leuven told the publication.

Gaining self-esteem Ruby realised she could help other people in the same situation as hers by using her creative skills.

'As I started to share, I received really positive feedback from both younger people with disabilities and people without disabilities who had learned a lot about themselves and the way they viewed disabilities from reading my posts,' she said.

Ruby – who identifies herself as queer - is also proudly waving the rainbow flag for the LGBTQ community.

'I'm not only representing people with disabilities, but queer people and gender-diverse people, and that allows other people to see my work and think, "That's something I'm allowed to be a part of, that's something I'm allowed to access'".

Another aim for the make-up artist is to change negative perceptions from non-disabled people.

‘For my perspective, it's very important that people understand that I don't see the word disabled or the association of being disabled as being a negative thing,' Ruby said.

'I just don't think we have reached that point yet where we are celebrating and acknowledging the experiences and the lives and the work of people of colour and queer people, and that's something that's very important to me,' she said.

'I really want to try and work towards a society where there is a celebration for and acceptance of diverse bodies and experiences.'

You can follow Ruby Van Leuven on Instagram by clicking here.

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