Sheffield woman who lost her sight in a horrific car crash has trained to be a makeup artist – and now she wants to open her own salon

A partially-sighted woman from Sheffield who lost a further 30 per cent of her vision in a horrific car crash has trained to become a makeup artist.

By Richard Blackledge
Tuesday, 29th December 2020, 4:03 pm

Jerri Mather, aged 20, says that nearly being killed in a collision on Abbeydale Road made her realise she had to follow her dreams of becoming a beautician.

She was born partially-sighted and is also colour blind, and had always felt anxious about the careers she could venture into.

In July this year a speeding car being followed by police smashed into a taxi she was a passenger in, and her partial blindness deteriorated from 50 per cent to 80 per cent.

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Jerri Mather at home in Sheffield.

She can no longer recognise her boyfriend who is now ‘just a silhouette’.

Doctors have told her that her sudden vision loss is a ‘mystery’ but she decided she would not let her disability hold her back after struggling to find accessible work.

In August, Jerri signed up to a six-week college course to become a qualified makeup artist and passed without an issue.

She said it was something she’d always wanted to do as it empowered women to feel beautiful and confident.

Jerri Mather at home in Sheffield.

She now spends two hours a day practising on herself and, due to her sight impairment, has to use her hands to feel around her face.

Jerri, who lives in Sharrow, hopes to open her own salon which will be accessible to everyone and dreams of launching a makeup range with braille or large typeface for blind people.

“Losing my vision was so difficult,” she said.

“It’s quite scary but it’s made me want to strive for the best.

Jerri Mather outside her home in Sheffield.

“I was born with 50 per cent of my vision. I’ve always been partially sighted but the car accident in the summer made it worse.

“However, it did also make me realise it could have been so much worse, I could have died, and I wanted to do something I loved.

“But I’m extremely determined to make this happen.”

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Jerri Mather at home in Sheffield.

Following the car crash, Jerri suffered whiplash, bruising to her shoulders, and her eyesight began to rapidly deteriorate.

She said: “You have to adapt, when you can’t really recognise people any more it’s so sad. I can’t even see my boyfriend’s face, when I look at him now he’s turned into a silhouette.

“It’s scary that I might go fully blind but more than ever I want to improve my skills and make a career out of this.”

Jerri uses a colour detector on her phone to help her identify various tones.

Since starting her course she has worked on five or six different people who were all ‘shocked’ at what she was capable of.

She said: “I’ve got all the essentials - foundation, contour palette, eye shadow palette, nude lipstick.

Jerri Mather outside her home in Sheffield.

“I do a different thing every day. Makeup is amazing because it can give you confidence, anyone can do it, if you have a disability, you can be of any age.”

Jerri has struggled to find employment in other fields due to her disability but feels she can master makeup completely.

She said: “I want my salon to have good lighting, I don’t want any steps, I want friendly staff, I want everyone to feel welcome.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.