Artist shares how doing makeup of youngest face transplant recipient inspired her

CLEVELAND -- As a makeup artist, Maggie Paridon of North Olmsted has touched many faces.  But a project she’s been working on for almost two years now has touched her heart.

“When I was first contacted, the photographer told me, ‘We are going to photographing some people who need a face transplant. And the Cleveland Clinic are doing these. I was so intrigued,” said Paridon.

It was a job different from any others she had experienced.

“Another thing the studio told me, that I wouldn't necessarily be putting makeup on these people. Maybe just a little bit of powder to take down the shine and taming a few hairs if they were looking rogue. It was different because I was there to be a moral support for the people getting photographed. It was more than making them look amazing, it was about them feeling amazing,” said Paridon.

Paridon instantly connected with Katie Stubblefield and her family.

Katie is the youngest person in the United States to receive a face transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.

“I was immediately blown away and touched about how positive Katie was, but how amazing and positive her family was in the midst of such a tragic event,” said Paridon.

Katie was 18 years old when she tried to commit suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Her surgery lasted 31 hours and involved 11 surgeons.

When Katie was one month post operation, Maggie got to do her makeup again.

“She brought up how she had been taking guitar lessons, which is incredible because she is blind. And she just loves music. We talked about music, she loves Coldplay and Johnny cash. We played it when she got photographed again,” said Paridon.

Katie’s spirit was captured on the cover of National Geographic.

Meantime, Paridon is so grateful she got a chance to be part of history.

“It was amazing how grateful she was about having a second chance at life. There’s not a lot of times that you and I think about it until you are placed in front of something like that. It opens your mind, it opens your eyes. They are remarkable, they truly are a remarkable family,” said Paridon.

Katie continues to recover at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland.  She and her family have lived there for the past four years.

More on Katie here.