A blind influencer has won legions of fans with tounge-in-cheek videos poking fun at how society expects her to act due to her visual impairment.
Lucy Edwards, 25, who lives in London, has racked up over 108,000 followers on Instagram from sharing parody videos comparing her daily life as a blind person to how society often expects those with the condition to live.
The broadcaster, content creator and disability activist has been posting content on Instagram since 2015, however it wasn’t until 2021 that she shared her first parody video to educate people about how blind people navigate their daily lives.
In the clip, Lucy shows herself pouring water all over the kitchen counter from a jug, followed by a film of how she actuall does it using a liquid level indicator – a small device attached to the glass that vibrates or makes a sound when it’s almost full.
She racked up over 259,000 likes on the video, and now regularly posts videos of how she goes about her daily life, recently winning a contract as a brand ambassador for Pantene, thanks to her popularity on social media.
Lucy told Femail that she’s keen to bust misconceptions about blind people, saying: ‘A few are: That I can’t feed myself or my dog. That I can’t get dressed independently. That I don’t care about how I look, which is so wild, because just because I’ve lost my eyesight doesn’t mean I’ve lost myself or my passions in life.’
Pantene has announced Lucy Edwards (pictured) as the new brand ambassador for their Silky & Glowing product range
In her new role for Pantene, she will be tasked with promoting the Silky & Glowing product range, as the brand continue to strive for greater accessibility in the hair and beauty industry to create a more inclusive space for all.
Social media users have been quick to congratulate Lucy about her new role, while praising Pantene for giving her the opportunity to work with them.
One person wrote: ‘Congratulations Lucy for breaking the mould or should we say congratulations to @PanteneUK for stepping up and giving some of society’s finest a chance to shine.’
Another said: ‘Congratulations! I love your positive posts and I’m so happy to hear that Pantene found you and your insanely beautiful and vibrant locks’
A third added: ‘Congratulations Lucy, you deserve this. You are such an inspirational lady’
Lucy told FEMAIL about the inspiration behind her account, saying: ‘I was inspired to create content because I knew that I knew nothing about disability until I became a disabled woman myself. I thought I would bridge the gap so everyone knows about disability and accessible content.
Lucy (pictured), who boasts over 108,000 followers on Instagram, has gushed that hair has the power to impact her confidence
‘By opening up about my blindness and being vulnerable it has allowed people to connect to my story as well as understand how to make their social media posts accessible.
‘I get a lot of comments online and offline assuming that I can’t do things so I thought I would take a light hearted approach and have some fun with my video responses. I don’t get offended because I know people don’t know lots about disability, but I believe that humour really does dispel myths and makes people think.’
Lucy explained that her eye sight was affected by Incontinentia pigmenti, a disorder that affects the skin, hair, teeth, nails, eyes, and central nervous system.
‘At age four I had a diagnosis of IP because I had blistered bumps on the back of my legs. My mum and dad were really worried about me and I was referred to several skin doctors until we found a specialist GP that recognised the skin rash.
‘I had no idea it would lead to an eye condition as a lot of people with IP don’t go blind,’ she said.
Lucy (pictured), who lost her eyesight in her right eye at age 11, said cataract forced her to have an operation on her remaining working eye at age 16
‘I was going for a routine eye check at age eight with my mum and sister when the ophthalmologist said that I should be rushed to Birmingham eye hospital and we realised it was IP. I spent quite a lot of my childhood at eye hospitals because my condition is very aggressive. All the doctors never knew how my eye condition would develop because it’s so rare.
‘I lost my eyesight in my right eye at age 11 and then the eye consultants monitored my remaining working eye really closely. We found out that I had a cataract at age 15 and to be honest, I left it for years because we knew if they operated on the front of the eye, my poorly retina at the back of my eye had a major risk of detaching. The cataract got more and more cloudy and by age 16 it forced my hand really because everything was so foggy and cloudy.
‘It was either go blind from the cataract or risk an operation hoping that my retina would stay in place. So I did the latter. The six months that followed were a bit scary. I remember waking up from the cataract operation and being really that I could see my sister’s spots and my mum’s wrinkles.
‘We always joke about this to this day. It’s a bit weird that only a few months later I was having more eye surgery to save my vision because my retina detached.’
Lucy (pictured) said she’s proud of herself for managing to relearn daily routines and rehabilitate after losing her sight
Despite the condition running in her family, Lucy said her mother and grandmother never had any sight loss. Meanwhile her grandmother’s sister has slight vision problems in one eye and is still able to drive.
Lucy said losing her sight made her grow up quicker than other people her age.
She said: ‘I think the trauma and loss of having it happen so suddenly made me ultimately have a mental breakdown when I was younger. While all my friends were going off to uni and thriving I was just doing my best to survive.
‘I’m really proud of myself that I managed to rehabilitate and relearn daily routines in order for me to accept the blind version of myself. I used to believe that I was a burden and that I needed to be fixed but now I really do believe in the social model of disability – I’m blind, not broken.
‘I’ve had to rehabilitate and relearn everything in my home. We live in a sighted world and every bottle and food product feels the same to me so I really have to rely on my other senses like smell.
Lucy (pictured) said she burst into tears when she scanned Pantene’s soon to be released bottle as it’s been eight years since she has been able to shop in store independently
‘When I first got the chance to scan the soon to be released a Pantene bottle with the Navilens app I burst into tears because until that point I hadn’t been able to independently shop in store on my own for eight years. I felt so free. I felt so sad over the years, having to rely on everyone around me to label everything with Braille for hours and this is still the case with almost every product other than Pantene.
It means the world to me that Pantene are taking universal design so seriously. I absolutely adore the way the Shampoo smells, it’s so distinctive and it really helped me orientate myself in the shower. Technology is a massive part of my daily routine and without it I would be way less independent. I love apps such as Be My Eyes and Microsoft Seeing- AI. I don’t know what I’d do without my family and my guide dog either.’
Lucy added that there are many misconceptions about blind people, saying: ‘Just because I can’t see, doesn’t mean I don’t want to look and feel beautiful. The beauty industry until this point has not been inclusive and I’m so excited to be making a change to this alongside Pantene. I answer all of these misconceptions and more on my TikTok.’
Many Instagram users have been quick to congratulate Lucy’s achievement and praise Pantene for choosing her
The announcement that Lucy will be partnering with Pantene comes the brand launches a social code of conduct, with the intention of creating a benchmark to ensure social content like beauty tutorials are accessible for all.
Pantene’s goal is also to revolutionise its packaging in-store to incorporate NaviLens technology and bolster its existing ties with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) over the coming months.
Lucy commented on the announcement, saying: ‘I love beauty, I love looking good – but there is an assumption that because I can’t see, I don’t care. But of course, it is still important to me how I feel I look.
‘The power of hair and the positive impact of a good hair day on my confidence, self-esteem and identity is just as important to me as it is for anyone else. I just experience it through touch – which is why I love Pantene Silky & Glowing, as it makes my hair feel silky soft.
‘From experience, visually impaired people in the UK – including myself – feel overlooked and misunderstood by the hair and beauty industry.
‘I can’t wait to work closely with Pantene on leading the way in creating a more inclusive industry, and society – not only for the visually impaired, but for everyone.’
Sumaria Latif who is Company Accessibility Leader at Procter & Gamble, said the partnership with Lucy (pictured) is a step forward for the entire hair and beauty industry
Pantene recently conducted research that revealed many people feel there is a lack of accessibility within the hair and beauty industry.
The brand found that there were five key areas for improvement for social content creation, which has been used to inform and create Pantene’s new social media code of conduct.
This includes introducing and describing themselves, using clear content descriptions and captions, audio describing important elements, using subtitles and simply being aware that content needs to be accessible for everyone to create the best content for all.
Sumaria Latif, Company Accessibility Leader at Procter & Gamble (P&G), added: ‘I am not only P&G’s Company Accessibility Leader – first and foremost I am a blind consumer. I know from personal experience just how important a role brands have to play in making me feel more confident.
‘Our partnership with Lucy Edwards is an incredibly exciting, and important, step forward – not just for Pantene, but for the hair and beauty industry as a whole; demonstrating that the power of a good hair day extends far beyond what you can see.
‘P&G is on a journey to create a more accessible and inclusive world – both within our organisation, and in wider society. We recognise that we may not have all the answers but are proud to be one step closer towards a more equal world.’