As part of the #BeYourself campaign we have reached out to a number of people from across the LGBT+ community to share their stories and inspire and encourage others to be ourselves. When you are being true to yourself, it is easier to see what you want out of life and what is truly important to you. Bradley shares his thoughts below on being and expressing yourself and following his passions.
My name is Bradley and I am a male make up artist, enthusiast, makeup wearer and makeup lover living in a very small town in the west of Ireland known as Ballina, where I have lived for 19 years.
From a very young age I knew I was “different”, not being like the other lads my age or having the same interests as them. I became secluded from those around me which started in primary school, it was the worse thing to do. I got a scholarship for a school in Sligo city secondary school. It wasn’t till then when the bullying started with name calling, FAG being wrote all over my personal belongings as well as my locker being broke into on multiple times and all my school work being vandalized. My mum saw a huge change in my mood, personality and appearance. I just felt like giving up on everything.
My mum decided to move me back to Ballina where I attended a secondary school. As normal I just had this character created living up to society and the whole boys have to be masc and play sports stereotype that I was forcing myself to be just to please others.
During this time in the local secondary school, at the age of sixteen was when I decided to come out to a very close friend. She reassured me and accepted me and that was when I was comfortable enough to tell my mother, who helped me so much and so supportive to me and accepting of who I am. I told my brothers and they too were very happy for me and accepting of me and who I truly was. I started going to Galway on the gay scene at a very young age which it was there where I decided to give drag a go. I carried on with it for a few years but between that is where I found my love for beauty.
I started wearing make up the odd time going out which was just the usual male make up look. It wasn’t until my 20th birthday when I decided to go out with a full face of glam make up, which was then I realized how much I loved it. Of course I got the odd looks off people in town and the odd ice cube chucked at the back of my head but slowly as the night went on I got fed up. My mum could see this and said that if I wanted we could go. Walking out the door I got stopped by three woman who literally made my night by complementing me on my make up which made my night and I wanted it to end with good vibes.
Since then I made sure not to hide who I was and to do what I wanted to do, be who I wanted to be and live my life the way I wanted to because lets face it we only have one life so why should we regret it. I applied for the position of Beauty Expert in Molloy’s pharmacy and to my luck and after sending them photos of looks I created on myself I got an interview and later offered the job. Everyone in there are supportive of me and me wearing makeup. I have the freedom to express who I am and wear makeup during work.
Make up relaxes me when working on a client and I get to hold the brush and create a look that for me is like doing art.
Make up is an expression of who I am, What I am feeling on the inside I can wear, express and show on the outside, It gives me confidence to be who I am. I am not doing it to please others or to upset others. I do it to please myself and that is the most important thing to do is what makes you happy.
Check out Bradley on Instagram at instagram.com/beautybybrad