In honor of International Day of the Girl, allow me to introduce you to my little soul sister, Audrey. Named after Audrey Hepburn, she is fueled by a passion for makeup art and fashion. She is intelligent, funny, and has a huge heart. She’s also Autistic, which I believe is her superpower. I was Audrey’s 13th birthday present. She asked her Mom and Grandma to find a makeup teacher to help her break into the tv and film world. Remember – she was only turning 13!
See Audrey wanted to trade in soccer for makeup. She didn’t feel comfortable trying to fit into a world where she wasn’t happy. She knew her intuition was guiding her to something else. She listened and then spoke her truth to her family. Thankfully her family took this request seriously and Google’s search put me on their radar. After a phone call with her Grandma, Pam, I knew I was the perfect fit for Audrey.
On July 21st, 2016, it was official that Audrey and I were meant to be. It was like reconnecting with an old friend and our hearts were wide open! It was time to start our training.
During our second class, I informed Audrey that her model would be joining us in 10 minutes. Her eyes widen and she said, “I’m not sure if they told you but Autistic people don’t do well with people they don’t know”. I reassured her by saying, “I understand, but we’re Makeup Artists and it’s part of our job to make others feel comfortable and that usually means meeting people that we don’t know.” She thought about it for a second and shifted her posture and said. “That’s right, I’m a Makeup Artist now and it’s part of my job to make other feel comfortable” and started setting up her station.
She was a natural. Our first model, Savannah, a beautiful girl in her late teens who has Cystic Fibrosis, was the perfect ice breaker. What a fun time! After the makeup session, Audrey expressed her excitement in overcoming this HUGE block. We kept the random models and situations coming and Audrey continued to shine. I could see her confidence getting stronger.
Over our time together, Audrey has accompanied me on many high profile shoots and has even spent time with Paula Deen and her sons, Jamie and Bobby. She puts in the effort to get more comfortable with makeup and in social settings. Even though I’m traveling and not in Savannah as much, we still have our weekly makeup classes via video calls. No matter the distance, we learn, we talk, and we grow.
It’s awe-inspiring watching her light grow brighter despite her age or diagnosis. Whenever you find yourself scared to try something new or hard, remember Audrey’s story. If an almost 13-year-old Autistic girl can switch from what she knew into something new, thrive in hard situations, and overcome obstacles – so can YOU! Let’s all channel our inner Audrey and do hard stuff well.