Toby Michael, 23, is a brilliant SFX makeup artist who suffers from an extreme case of color blindness.
Usually for color blind people, it is always a confusion to distinguish between red and green. But Toby struggles to distinguish different colors because his vision problems causes them all to mix up together.
He said: “The cones in my eyes don’t work as well as they would on a normal color vision person. I am what is considered an extreme deutan, so when it comes to blues and purples, greens and browns, reds, browns and greens all together – they mesh together.”
Color blindness is a hereditary vision problem. Faulty cones in the retina of a person’s eyes cause color blindness so, a color-blind person is unable to see the colors of the world unlike people with proper vision.
Regarding pastel colors, he said: “Pastels? Out of the question. It’s very difficult to distinguish between pastel colors. Being color blind in the make-up industry is very, very difficult.’
‘So, in my palette, if I have the browns and greens next to each other it can get difficult if I’m going quickly. I have to read the back of the palettes quite a bit. I actually have my sister Kylie go through my eyeshadow palettes. And she’ll write the colors on each shade for me, so I can tell which is which.”
Last year, Toby was given the opportunity to see the world in a way that was unknown to him. He received a pair of enchroma color blindness lenses, which allow color blind people to see the world in its true color.
He said: “Receiving the enchroma glasses meant that I was about to learn a whole new world of color that I had never known. I’m 23 years old, so that’s 23 years of learning color and things the way that they are. So now having to relearn the colors was a little scary but also, at the same time, exciting.”
Despite having his new glasses, he only uses them when he is working on his models. He doesn’t wear them while making his own looks because he is used to working without them.
Getting the Enchroma Glasses was an emotional part of the artist’s journey. He shared his feelings as: “When I first saw color using the glasses it was very overwhelming. The best way I can explain it is that it just makes everything so much more intense, it amplifies the color.’
‘I was speechless, I was crying, everybody around me was crying. And I actually did a makeup look on one of my friends. I called it the last makeup that I couldn’t see what the color really looked like, and it was the first makeup that I could.”
Throughout his life, others doubted his ability to master the art of SFX makeup because of his inability to see the full spectrum of colors. But Toby remained determined to do what he wanted and today he is a successful SFX makeup artist. He said: