People to Know 2018: Alexys Fleming
Makeup artist, body painter, aesthetician, entrepreneur, YouTube phenom, and diabetes advocate. At just 25 years old, this is Alexys Fleming.
Alexys was drawn to art from a young age. She’d always been good at drawing and painting, but by age 13, she was creating art with a new determination. After her type 1 diabetes diagnosis, she was bullied by classmates who didn’t understand her condition. To cope with the stress, she’d transform herself with makeup. “I’d come home, and I’d turn myself into a superhero,” says Alexys, who remembers becoming the Hulk and thinking, “What would the Hulk do if he was in this situation? He would get through it!”
Over a decade later, Alexys has parlayed her love of makeup and body painting into a career creating video tutorials on YouTube. Her channel, Madeyewlook, has over 2.5 million subscribers. Every week, she uploads one or two new videos, which is no easy feat. Each is a one-woman show, with Alexys doing her own makeup, lighting, filming, and editing. Though posted videos clock in at around 10 minutes, the prep work, filming, and editing can take up to five or six hours to complete. To combat lows, she wears a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which sounds an alarm if her blood glucose drops. As an artist myself, I can relate to getting swept up in my work; my CGM is a lifesaver, too.
I’ve always viewed my “diabetes art” series as a means of self-expression, but also as a tool to advocate for those with the disease and dispel stereotypes. Through her series MadeULook for a Cure, Alexys has the same mission. Instead of delivering the scary lectures many of us have heard, her characters and videos spread awareness about diabetes in a way that is informative, interesting, and fun.
“It’s the best feeling ever to be able to guide somebody else through [diabetes],” she says. But that’s not all she does: Her MadeULook for a Cure Step Out® Walk to Stop Diabetes® team has raised over $100,000 for the American Diabetes Association.
I asked Alexys if she thought her life would be different without diabetes. She says, “If I didn’t have it, I wouldn’t have to worry, but at the same time, I feel like I got diagnosed for a reason. I have this so I can help other people get through it.”
Jen Jacobs Bachrach, artist and art teacher, creates paintings and mixed-media artwork to reflect her life with type 1 diabetes. She uses her talent as an instrument for diabetes advocacy. Check out her art at diabetesart.com.