A wheelchair-bound make-up artist is raising awareness of the abuse she receives by writing “hurtful” words strangers call her – on her face.
Doaa Shayea, 21, was born with spina bifida but is now using her skills to highlight the impact cruel words can have on those who are “different”.
She has now posted images of herself with the words such as “spaz” “retard” and “ugly” on her face on her social media accounts.
Doaa, of Plymouth, Devon, said: “I do a good job of hiding it but I want to show there is damage underneath and make-up is my mask.
“So with my make-up design, I wanted everyone to see what disabled people still have to put up with in 2019.
“It is like the words I write on my face – retard, bedridden – I get called them. It’s hurtful.”
Doaa said it was while scrolling through her Instagram feed, being bombarded with summery festival make-up looks, that she realised no looks highlighted disability.
She added: “I don’t feel disability has been accepted and it really does frustrate me,”
Doaa has shared a video of her make-up on her Facebook page, hoping to inspire others to not let words define them.
She said: “A lot of the time – to my face – I get people saying ‘it’s such a shame you’re pretty, it’s wasted on you.
“I had a guy on the bus come up to me and look at me with the most sympathetic look.
“Then he said ‘it really is a shame you’re so beautiful as you’re never going to do anything with it because you’re in a wheelchair’.
“What can you say to that?
“As soon as you’re seen in a wheelchair or with any disability, that beauty is gone. The wheelchair is always going to be seen before I’m going to be seen.”
Born in Yemen, Doaa moved to the Devon with her family when she was six years old and swapped her crutches for a wheelchair a few years later.
“I used to be really paranoid being on crutches as I had a limp and I was always aware that people were staring at me,” she said.
“Now, they still stare, but I can whizz right by them and speed off.”
Doaa said she believed people “put a limitation on me” straight away and that was something she wanted to break.
“I can do everything anyone else can do.” she added.