Drew-Ashlyn Cunningham initially worked as a waitress, barmaid and Lady Gaga impersonator before becoming a successful makeup artist. Appearing on the documentary-style reality show, My Transsexual Summer in 2011, she spoke of her struggles to get a 9-5 job due to discrimination.
Despite having no previous experience in makeup, Drew-Ashlyn was approached by cosmetics brand Illamasqua for an interview. Illamasqua took her on and trained her to become the successful MUA she is today.
Initially working as a Christmas temp, Drew-Ashlyn progressed to becoming the in-store educator for Illamasqua’s Leeds store. Drew not only developed new techniques and skills, but working for Illamasqua also helped her become more confident within herself and is where she felt that she had found a family.
Having working with the company for seven years, she has recently gone on to work for Rihanna’s brand Fenty Beauty.
In 2015, Drew-Ashlyn became one of the UK’s first transgender wrestlers, under the name Harley Ryder. As a child, her wrestling idol was WWE’s Lita, and she aspired to follow a similar path in the future.
Drew’s advice is to never give up on your dreams, it doesn’t matter how long or what road you take on your journey. No matter what you can reach your destination even with all the setbacks – believe in yourself.
Keep your eyes peeled for Drew-Ashlyn’s upcoming GlamCandy masterclass and get an insight into her incredible talent.