Professional media makeup artist Bryanna has severe lupus and is partially deaf. But taking part in this inclusive shoot for our new campaign has allowed her to embrace her role as a disabled make-up artist.
Bryanna says the "unique" shoot provided a "whole new learning curve" and has kick-started conversations around disability and inclusion.
Looking ahead, she’s optimistic about change. Particularly when it comes to working with and learning from disabled people, and how we treat them.
Discovering her talent
Bryanna's talent for makeup and hair was recognised when she studied beauty at college twenty years ago, following the birth of her son, who is also disabled. She wanted to be able to work around him, and her college studies allowed her to do this.
Her talent and creativity was soon picked up (by chance) by the BBC. She found herself training with them, working across the UK and abroad, and showcasing her makeup skills in film, TV, fashion and photography.
She went on to own her own makeup studio, be the head of makeup for London fashion week, win the BIAFF and CVFM awards, and be published internationally.
A passion for her work
Bryanna was excited to get involved and display her talent and passion for her work in our new inclusive campaign.
She loves everything about her job, and says: "it’s all I know and all I want to do." She enjoys "the creativity, the people, the challenges, the lighting, the technical side of it, and being on set. And even enjoys the long days!"
But her career has been shaped by her disability.
She’s had to be more thoughtful in the projects she’s been involved in, regularly working with other disabled people in front of the camera. This conscious decision has boosted her career and given her more work behind the camera.
Bryanna feels extremely grateful to work with brands and people who embrace what she does. This makes her feel comfortable within herself, despite her disability. A key part of Bryanna’s job is ensuring the talent also feel comfortable, so she enjoys talking to her clients while putting her artistry to work, making them look and feel great.
Leading by example
Our latest marketing campaign, ‘The Human Touch’, features real clients describing how Irwin Mitchell’s helping hand guided them through their ups and downs.
The inclusive nature of the campaign shoot brought together a production team of multiple disabled creators. This behind-the-scenes crew shows that inclusion is possible, if we simply show understanding.
For Bryanna, her fellow crew members were seen as artists, not people with disabilities. She really valued being in an environment where everyone was understanding of her needs and allowed her to embrace what she did best.
That was the human touch that mattered to her.
A whole learning curve
This inclusive shoot has kick-started an all-important conversation around inclusivity and diversity.
All Bryanna requires from a client or employer is "understanding and common courtesy."
She said: "People don’t want to accommodate people with disabilities. They see it as an unnecessary change for the sake of one person." She believes employers need to think about everyone’s needs more carefully if they’re to truly become more inclusive.
In her industry, she’s recognised a "massive difference and change in front of the camera, but a slow process behind the camera with inclusion."
But after participating in this shoot, she’s optimistic about the future.
Through our shoot, we showed that it’s possible to embrace disability - whether hidden or visible - and change perceptions of how disabled people work. People can learn from people with disabilities.
This has made Bryanna hopeful that things will change, both in front of the camera and behind the camera in the not-too-distant future.