Makeup Artist Ruby Allegra Is Changing How People With Disabilities Are Represented
Growing up in Adelaide, Australia, Ruby Allegra never really saw someone who looked like them — that is, someone who has a disability that prohibits them from walking, and therefore they use a powered wheelchair — represented in film or TV or any other sort of media. "Generally, if those characters did have disabilities, they weren't portrayed ... by actors that actually have disabilities, and they certainly weren't portrayed in a positive or strong way," Allegra tells Bustle. "I never really heard news stories about disabled people achieving things. It always had a quite a negative spin on it or sympathetic, pity kind of vibe."
They note that this lack of representation definitely isn't in line with the number of disabled people in Australia; in fact, over 18 percent of the population are estimated to have a disability. "Disability is the one minority, so to speak, which can transcend across any other intersection," Allegra explains. "It doesn't matter what your gender, your age, your race, your sexuality, your class, your background, your education ... Disability has the potential to be a part of your life. It can affect literally anyone in the entire world at any point in their life."
For this reason, Allegra says they feel a responsibility to be a role model to the more than 17,000 people who follow their @rvbyallegra Instagram page. Although they originally joined the social media platform to promote their makeup work (Allegra started working as a licensed makeup artist in 2013, and their @rvlmakeup account still houses photos of Allegra's professional work) they began this secondary account to "explore the activism side of Instagram." While there is still plenty of makeup inspo on @rvbyallegra, this account is more about body positivity and self care. Allegra explains that they were "quite interested in the plus size fashion community" and found it "really interesting to learn more about the fat acceptance movement and all of the amazing plus size models that I was seeing coming onto social media platforms."
From there, Allegra began to get involved with the disability and LGBTQ activism communities that live on Instagram as well. "Now, it's a big mix of a lot of different intersections and activism and fashion," Allegra says, describing their account. If you're looking for a rad combination of makeup and fashion inspiration, body positivity activism, and a generally uplifting vibe, you should quickly hit follow on Allegra's Instagram page.
Below, Allegra talks about why they identify as body positive, the brands they believe are doing inclusivity right, and their favorite drugstore beauty products.