Northern Ireland news

Belfast woman shot nine times by loyalist paramilitaries meets Prince Charles to showcase beauty business

Business owner Jemma McGrath with Prince Charles at the Youth Can Do It event in London
Marie Louise McConville

AN east Belfast woman who established a successful beauty empire five years after she was shot nine times by loyalist paramilitaries showcased her business to Prince Charles this week at a special event celebrating The Prince's Trust.

Jemma McGrath (29) brought her beauty business, #Makeupurlife to a royal reception in London which celebrated the diverse impact that the youth charity has had on young entrepreneurs during the last 36 years.

Ms McGrath, who launched her business after completing the trust's Enterprise programme, met Prince Charles at the Youth Can Do It event, where she also had the opportunity to network with a host of high profile entrepreneurs and alumni of the charity.

The former care worker was seriously injured after she was shot six years ago by loyalist paramilitaries at her home in the Lord Street Mews area of east Belfast in 2013.

She then underwent one of the longest operations ever carried out at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

Speaking about her experience, Ms McGrath said: "I grew up in a community filled with religious and racial hate, and fought my way through life".

"I worked in care but used drugs and alcohol out of hours, and let my life spiral out of control when my dad died," she said.

"I tried turning my life around and went to study make-up at college but then I was shot nine times, left with multiple broken bones, and told I'd never walk again. So I set myself some goals: to become a professional make-up artist and to walk my friend down the aisle".

After recovering and learning to walk again, Ms McGrath attended a Prince's Trust programme which helps unemployed young people start up in business.

"I left motivated, excited and with a truly inspirational business mentor," she said.

"I launched #makeupurlife, my makeup, microblading and inspirational speaking business, four months later".

She added: "If you’ve got an idea, no matter how small, if you’ve got a passion for it just go for it, you can do it. The Trust is there for you and it’s helped me to build my confidence inside and out".

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