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@sweetmutuals is the eclectic MUA captivating IG with her beauty

TextDominic Cadogan

The 18-year-old make-up artist and aspiring model takes inspiration from fashion, works of art, and more and has her sights set on a bright future

Before reading this it’s likely you’ve come across Ali (AKA @sweeetmutuals) before; the 18-year-old make-up artist has amassed over 50k followers, captivating her audience not only with her eclectic style – that often sees her inspired by fashion and works of art – but also with her incredible beauty, her striking face and shaved head leaving you wondering why you’ve not seen her in a fashion editorial sooner. 

Since launching her account, the young creative has collaborated with Solange on her 2019 album When I Get Home, and was most recently tapped by Rina Sawayama to collaborate on the singer’s ‘How To’ project at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Mexico City. Despite this success at such a young age, she’s still got her sights on bigger and better – aiming to move into modelling, her own beauty range, and building an orphanage in the near future.

Here, we speak with Ali about her identity, creative process, and how she manifested @sweetmutuals from a young age. 

Do you remember the first time you were conscious of your appearance?

Sweet Mutuals: Honestly, I feel like I have been ever since I was born. At one point in my life, I would only wear onesies to daycare because I wanted to be myself. My parents would ask me why I didn’t want to wear clothes and I would say: ‘Why would I want to be like everyone else?’ That was at four-years-old, so I always had that intuition and drive in me. I just let that drive me. 

When I was eight-years-old, I remember sitting in class and thinking of myself now. I knew I was going to have short hair, that I was going to be doing things in fashion, as well as the modelling and beauty industry, and I knew that I wanted to be a voice for someone. I just pushed myself into becoming that person. Of course, I had moments where I would stumble and fall, but I feel those experiences only made me stronger. Everything is a learning process. 

When you were envisioning yourself back then, did you ever think you’d be where you are now? 

Sweet Mutuals: It’s crazy, two years ago I had a dream I was giving this panel talk… I was sitting right there and I felt like something was really familiar. I knew who I was destined to be and I’ll continue to grow to be that person.

Was there a time you struggled with your identity? How did you overcome that? 

Sweet Mutuals: I’ve had locks from when I was 16-months-old and I got them cut recently, maybe two years ago. When I had them, I felt trapped. I wasn’t allowed to cut them, dye them, or do anything. I used to hate myself from the hair down, but being able to cut them helped me become who I wanted to be, and then using make-up also helped. 

Where does the name ‘Sweet Mutuals’ come from?

Sweet Mutuals: I have a following that I consider to be my family. Back when I had 40 followers, then 100 followers, then 1000 followers, this group of people continued to follow me, support me, and love me. They wanted to see my dreams come true. They’re my mutuals, they’re sweet, and they support me. My Instagram isn’t for me, it’s for everyone – that’s why it’s my username.

Where do you get the different inspirations from?

Sweet Mutuals: I’m an artist, I like to paint, draw, hold a pencil in my hand. I’m always in a creative mode. I really get inspiration from just looking around.

How have you grown as a creative over the years? 

Sweet Mutuals: Back in 2018, I was 17-years-old and only had 4000 followers on Instagram. I didn’t even have a ring light and was using my mother’s products which were God knows how old. Then, Solange’s product manager emailed me and asked if I’d be part of her upcoming album. Who at 17 gets asked to come out and be a part of an album? 

Having that made me hungry for more opportunities. I want to be seen, not just for myself, but for my community and my mum. I want to show her that she is beautiful. 

How has she supported you over the years?

Sweet Mutuals: After Solange contacted me over Instagram, my parents could see where my creativity is taking me and that it’s helping me and others. They really want me to be happy and this makes me happy – I have their full support. 

Who are some of your dream collaborators?

Sweet Mutuals: I would love to work with Solange again, she’s a role model to me. Rihanna, I would love both to do make-up on her and with Fenty. I would also love to work with brands I have already put on my face. Nike is kind of one of the biggest – they’ve helped me get on the map and Louis Vuitton too. That would be my dream, to walk the runway for them with one of my make-up looks.

How do you want to continue to use make-up and Instagram to bring positivity to the world? 

Sweet Mutuals: I’m trying to become a model. For two years, I have sent shots to modelling agencies out there and have been turned down. Another part of Sweet Mutuals is to get into modelling through the back door and have opportunities with Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week as a make-up artist and model. I want to be on the cover of Vogue so I can be a role model for a black child struggling at a young age. From there, I want to open my skincare and make-up line and then an orphanage for black children. 

What is the future of beauty?

Sweet Mutuals: It’s what you make it. It’s whatever an individual wants to be. It’s moving to become something organic and fluid. 


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