Frida Kahlo was an artist known for her self-portraits. She is remembered as one of the greatest Mexican artists of all time and one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. Most of her art symbolized the pain and passion built through a lifetime of suffering. As a young girl, she suffered a near-fatal spine injury that became a major theme in her art. Her posthumous popularity has made Kahlo an icon for feminists, Chicanos and the LGBTQ community. 

Frida Kahlo not only made a significant impact on the art world; she made a splash everywhere she went. From her colorful dresses, jewelry, and flowers to her seductive and dramatic personality, Frida Kahlo’s larger-than-life presence caught the attention of everyone who met her. But she also had a deep, dark side of her personality that she expressed in her paintings. 

Frida Kahlo exhibited many personality traits and behaviors similar to those of the Enneagram 4 and ISFP personality types. 

Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist

Creative and unique, Enneagram Fours feel like they are different from most people. They find it difficult to relate to others, yet long to be understood and accepted for who they are. This type often feels as if they are missing out on something that other people seem to have — and because of this fear, they express themselves and their individuality creatively. 

Frida Kahlo frequently expressed her uniqueness and flaws through her art and in her letters and conversations. “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do,” she said.

Type 4: Outer Traits 

  • Distinctive appearance: Fours often stand out from others by their unique fashion and unconventional lifestyle choices. From her famed unibrow to her Tehuana dresses, Frida was not one to conform to tradition. 
  • Melancholic expression: Frida expressed her deepest struggles and pain in her artwork. “My painting carries with it the message of pain,” she said. 
  • Artistic: Fours often use their personal experiences to fuel their creative expression. Frida did this throughout her life, especially through her self-portraits. 

Type 4: Inner Experiences 

  • Difficult to relate to others: Fours frequently feel misunderstood and like they don’t fit in with the world around them. They define themselves by the traits that they feel set them most apart from others. Frida once said, “You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am.”
  • Extremely self-aware: The artist possessed a deep understanding of herself. “I am my own muse. I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to better,” she said.

TypeFinder Personality: ISFP “The Composer” 

I: While Frida Kahlo formed many deep connections throughout her life, she most preferred alone time. “I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone; because I am the person I know best,” she said. Independence and autonomy were always important to Kahlo. While married to artist Diego Rivera, the couple lived separately in two houses connected by a bridge. 

S: Frida possessed both a deep inner world and a rich outer life. She had a deep appreciation for the beauty in the world around her. Her work was rooted in her personal experience rather than abstract ideas or concepts. She said, “They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”

F: Frida was a deeply emotional person. From her decision to choose an unconventional lifestyle to her many intimate relationships, she appeared to be mostly motivated by her feelings. “I am that clumsy human, always loving, loving, loving. And loving. And never leaving,” Frida said. 

P: Kahlo lived life moment-by-moment. She was not known to be someone who planned too far into the future, preferring instead to take life as it came.“I paint always whatever passes through my head, without any other considerations,” she said.

Cognitive Functions 

Fi: Introverted Feeling types care deeply about their internal values and beliefs and strive to be authentic. Intense and empathetic, these types have a rich understanding of their inner emotional world. This function is apparent in many of Frida Kahlo’s famous quotes, such as, “Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain,” and “Really, I do not know whether my paintings are surrealist or not, but I do know that they are the frankest expression of myself.”

Se: Although her disability prevented Frida from experiencing a wide range of sensory experiences, she found ways to express her Extraverted Sensing through her paintings and fashion. Her biographer Hayden Herrera said of the artist, “I think part of it was a needing to know herself and to sort of make herself feel real, and in the world, and like a solid person in space somehow, that to get, not to feel so fragile. This was sort of a concrete thing. If you paint yourself, you're permanently there.” Frida also said of her perfect day, “I’d arrange flowers, all day long, I’d paint; pain, love and tenderness, I would laugh as much as I feel like at the stupidity of others... I would build my world which while I lived, would be in agreement with all the worlds.”

Ni: While mostly focused on self-expression, Frida also fought to make a difference in the world on a grander scale. With her Introverted Intuition, she understood in many ways how her life could contribute to a future beyond her own imagination. “I must fight with all my strength so that the little positive things that my health allows me to do might be pointed toward helping the revolution. The only real reason for living,” she said.

Te: With her inferior Extraverted Thinking, Frida didn’t care to follow the status quo. She said when asked about the artists of Paris, “They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them.” She also had little desire for success or monetary gain. “I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody,” Frida said.

More Facts About ISFPs: 

  • Make up 9% of the general population 
  • Most likely of all types to report stress associated with finances and children
  • Among the types least likely to stay in college
  • On personality trait measures, score as Easygoing
  • In essays, projected themselves the fewest number of years into the future of all the types
Megan Malone
Megan holds an MS in organizational psychology and manages content and brand marketing at Truity. She is passionate about helping people improve their relationships, careers, and quality of life using personality psychology. An INFJ and Enneagram 9, Megan lives quietly in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two pups. You can chat with her on Twitter @meganmmalone.