Meet Jessica Ruiz, the inspiring makeup artist who isn't letting her disability stop her.
Born with anthrogryposis, a congenital birth defect affecting the joints, the 26-year-old was forced to teach herself how to apply makeup without the use of her arms or hands. Not letting her dream go to waste, she began testing innovative techniques and started applying cosmetics using her mouth.
"You gotta deal with what you're dealt with," the Philadelphia-based cosmetologist tells PEOPLE. "I taught myself and everything that I needed to know through personal experience with myself as well as watching YouTube."
Attending a school for physically and mentally disabled children, Ruiz began taking an interest to makeup at the age of 10 after being picked on.
"I really had to bring positivity to the situation," she says. "I actually started wearing makeup because I was being picked on. You know, being in a physically disabled school, not a lot of kids, not anybody that I saw, was wearing [makeup] and living a 'normal' life."
After perfecting her technique with the help of her aunt, Ruiz began applying to multiple cosmetology schools, only to be rejected for her disability.
"I moved on to the next school and the next school and one school actually shredded the application directly in front of me," the artist said. "One school told me I had to bring my own model because the models they had would not be comfortable with me being so close to their face."
Determined to make her dream a career, Ruiz opened up her own practice, Dreamy Eyes Artist. And with a growing Instagram following, Ruiz tells her followers to "never let anyone or anything stand in the way of your dreams."
I loved having a photographer shadow me on such a big milestone... He caught many of my crazzy faces I make while doing what I love... Thank you @makewonderspa & @im_possible007!!•••••••••• If anyone would like to purchase the hoodie that I'm rocking in this and many other photos I will be posting... Please contact @im_possible007 clothing to get yours!!! ( its super comfy, warm... And fleece!!! ) it comes in a variety of colors... They are all hand color washed, so no two hoodies are identical!!!
To learn more about Jessica and her incredible journey, watch the video above!
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