” Ryley Isaac contestants on BBC Three, discuss how make-up has made them embrace their own differences.
“In Year 9, all of the girls at my school began wearing make-up. That’s why I began to have serious doubts about my looks.”Ryley will wake up at 6 a.m. every day before school and put on a full face of make-up.She was born with a birthmark on the right side of her face, which she began to hide when she was 14 because of her insecurities: “At high school, it was all about being famous, being pretty, and making people like you, and I didn’t quite fit in.”She began by copying her mother’s make-up.”I didn’t like it because it was so bright. I’d just smear it on my birthmark and splatter it across the rest of my face. It was a hot mess, and I looked like a ghost.”
Ryley claims she quickly learned how to conceal her birthmark, but it took a lot of intense make-up and waking up really early to do so.”I was doing that to fully conceal who I was, to the point that I really thought I didn’t have a birthmark because I was covering it all the time.”
“I just display my birthmark to close relatives and friends, which is really very sad.”When Ryley’s GCSE exams approached at the end of Year 11, getting up early to apply make-up became too much for her, and she went to school without any make-up for the first time in three years.She remembers that “no one said anything.”
“I was thinking to myself, “Wait, I just spent years putting in all this work, and no one cares?” That, I believe, was the turning point in my life. ‘Can you tell me what you’re doing?'”
“I guess I was just too confused – I needed something – I needed to just find out what I was going to do because I was trying to get rid of the birthmark surgically with laser,” a friend told her to share a photo of her natural face on Instagram.She eventually agreed to post a snap, and the positive feedback poured in.”That was the point at which I began to use making-up to make myself feel better rather than to hide who I was.”
“Now I use make-up to celebrate my differences, and I do that for myself – as I believe anyone can do; you can never want to change yourself or your look for someone else – that’s a huge no.”