Clélia Rodrigues has realized her lifelong dream of being a make-up artist despite her disability. (PHOTO: instagram/@cleliarodriguesmakeup)

Clelia Rodrigues suffers from a congenital condition that prevents her from using her hands and arms, but the 27-year-old hasn’t let her disability stop her from becoming a professional makeup artist.

Born with congenital arthrogryposis multiplex (CMA), which causes severe joint stiffness, Clelia, from Minas Gerais in Brazil, uses her mouth to hold her makeup brushes.

On her popular TikTok account, which has over 820,000 followers, Clelia can be seen transforming women, one brushstroke at a time.

Her mother, Rita, is also a makeup artist and growing up, Clelia was inspired by watching her at work.

She noticed the positive effect it had on her clients.

“I thought it was beautiful for them to leave happy because they were more beautiful and to see how important it was for their self-esteem,” Clelia says.

Clélia started practicing applying make-up on her friends and when her technique was perfect, she turned professional at age 24.

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After one of her first clients posted a video of her doing her makeup, other professional artists contacted Clelia and paid her to attend various makeup classes and workshops.

She adapted the tools she works with for her disorder. For example, her blending sponge is attached to the end of a stick so she doesn’t have to hold it directly in her mouth, allowing her to maintain sufficient hygienic distance from her customers.

The lipstick is extracted from a traditional container and applied with a brush. When it comes to things that need to be done by hand, like applying cream or tugging on the eye to apply the pencil, she asks customers for help.

“I adapt however I can and I don’t think, ‘Oh, I can’t,'” Clelia says.

Born with congenital arthrogryposis multiplex, Clélia cannot use her arms or hands.  (PHOTO: instagram/@cleliarodriguesmakeup)

Born with congenital arthrogryposis multiplex, Clélia cannot use her arms or hands. (PHOTO: instagram/@cleliarodriguesmakeup)

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Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, she has had to reduce the number of clients she sees each day.

Instead, she focuses on growing her social media accounts and uses her mouth and nose to edit the videos she posts on TikTok and YouTube.

When the pandemic passes, she hopes to reap the rewards of her sudden fame.

“My dream is to give lectures on make-up. I don’t just want to tell people about techniques, I want to tell my story, to inspire everyone that they can be whatever they want,” says Clelia.



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