A talent for makeup has led an ex-student to her dream career creating videos for more than 800,000 followers on TikTok.
Ria Kelly – better known on social media as @fairy.freak – has used her creative skills to captivate hundreds of thousands of people through her videos showing colourful makeup looks.
Ria, from Portsmouth, left HSDC South Downs in 2018 after studying Theatrical, Special Effects Hair and Media Make-Up and now has more than 850,000 TikTok followers and nearly 100,000 on Instagram.
After learning various hair and beauty disciplines during her time at college, Ria knew she wanted to continue with her passion for makeup.
She decided not to go to university and continued in her job at TK Maxx while creating content for social media on the side. Ria, 22, said:
“I first started a social media page in my first year of college because one of my friends said I should.
“While I was furloughed from work I started posting on TikTok. I think for a lot of people during lockdown, TikTok was massive.
“I started creating creative eye looks, different eyeshadow looks. I started getting brands noticing my eye looks and I started getting more followers.”
At first, Ria felt too shy to show her full face on social media but took the brave step away from anonymity in 2019 and joined TikTok in January 2020 to show off her makeup looks.
One video blew up overnight and gained more than 500,000 views. Ria said:
“I was so shocked. It was a video of me doing a sweep of eyeliner. Because of that blowing up, I thought about doing more eyeliner videos and I started posting on other platforms, like Twitter.
“All throughout lockdown, every single day I worked so hard on my makeup because I was bored, I couldn’t leave the house and didn’t have work. That’s what I put my energy into and one video got 10 million views!”
Brands began reaching out to work with Ria, and she took the leap to leave her retail job in June 2021 to make social media her full time job. Ria said:
“I was waiting for the right moment to make this my full time job. It was really surreal and all my colleagues were so supportive of me. It was the best decision I ever made.”
Ria will soon be returning to HSDC South Downs to speak to Hair & Beauty students about her work. Ria said:
“What I liked about college is you got to express yourself how you wanted. I kept to myself but I worked hard. I think if people post on social media they get discouraged if it doesn’t do well but I just kept posting hoping one would do well and it worked.
“It’s cool that I have managed to make a career out of social media. When I made the decision not to go to university I didn’t expect this job to ever happen! I want to continue working with a lot more brands and see where it takes me.”
Find out more about our Hair & Beauty courses on our website, and check out Ria’s work at @fairy.freak on Instagram and TikTok.