Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Maaaake Uuuuuup!

Does anyone remember what happened to Milton Berle when he heard that word?
From The Muppet Show

He ended up looking like the picture on the left, after the makeup guy (I seem to remember it was a little person) would hit him with a huge powder puff.

But that's not important.

When I first moved to the DC area, I did some research (don't ask how; the internet was mostly off-limits then) and found out two things:

* "transformation" was a great keyword for finding places that would provide t-girl makeovers, clothing, photo options and such.

* there was actually such a business in the DC area.  I believe it was in Maryland, although I don't recall for sure.  By the time I was ready to seriously consider something like that, it was gone.

There was a t-friendly business in Manhattan which I never patronised, partly because I was deep in the closet and partly because it was somewhat pricey (not as bad as other places I'd heard about though).  But it was wonderful to know that such a place existed and I was a bit saddened that I personally never went ~ I really want to support and encourage places like that.

I know about Femme Fever on Long Island, and Glamour Boutique in New Jersey and Las Vegas, but I haven't been.  I was in Vegas, and dressed, on a business trip a few years ago and forgot all about Glamour Boutique!

When I first started going out as Meg (late 2004!), I lacked any home support.  I could only go out when the family was away and I the only thing I really knew about feminine style and appearance and makeup was that I didn't know anything.  I would have loved to find one of those Transformation studios, but there was nothing nearby (there were now lists on the internet).

So I took advantage of the world around me.

I put an ad on Craigslist, looking for someone who'd be interested in doing my makeup and going out shopping for an hour or two, if she thought I "passed."

I got a few responses.  Some changed their minds; out of the remaining I'd pick one available on the correct date and work out terms.

It was really kind of hit-or-miss; I wanted to be a hit-on-miss, really.  I didn't have references or even know if the responder was real and not a scam or worse (there are a lot of pretty bad scenarios you can come up with, if you want to).

But I used this method a few times.  Some let me take video of the transformation so I could see what to do to repeat it; some did not.  They advised me on which outfit to wear and which wig and gave me varying levels of support once I was out with them (or not ~ I had a makeup lady for my first "solo" to a Mardi Gras party).

None of the women were bad.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate no-one lower than a 7.

I've also had department store touch-ups and salon makeovers.  They're enjoyable but they don't understand "us."

A woman goes to MAC and wants her makeup done.  The MAC artists understand that the starting point is "natural look" and they strive to enhance that natural look, show off your best features, hide flaws as necessary.

I need my makeup to disguise as much as enhance.  Any masculine cues need to be hidden.  Skin that has not been treated kindly daily, with moisturisers and toner and such needs to be covered, not brought out.

In short, I don't want my before and after pictures to look like the same person.  But I also am not looking for the other extreme, the drag queen look.

I think I'm not atypical for girls in the community.  I think my experience with makeup artists is not atypical.  The best artist I used was a woman who has experience in theatre, with the gay community, with makeup, and she did a wonderful job with contouring to change my features and makeup that made it look like I wasn't wearing much at all, like other women on the street.  OK, let's replace "on the street" with "in the department store." :)

My last makeover was at a MAC store, for my Halloween day at the office in 2009.

Recently, Beth joined our local trans group and has been doing makeovers on some of the girls there, before soirees or before going out.  She did Erica's makeup before our recent visit to the drag show.

And she offered to do my makeup.

I was first intrigued and then excited to try a new look, perhaps see a different Meg.  Left to myself, I find a look (or one is given to me) and I have a "cheat sheet" and I do that same look over and over and over again.  That kind of takes away one of the fun aspects of being a woman, but I don't have the skill nor confidence nor creativity to come up with a pleasing look on my own.

Please take a look at Beth's website and see what she does and I'll be talking about my experience and sharing pictures over the next few days.  Beth is quite a photographer, in addition to doing makeup.  I'm waiting for a few of the well over 100 pictures she shot for this blog.

Before you ask, YES her name is really Elizabeth Taylor.  It's actually Elizabeth Ann Taylor, so she has two fashion connections: Elizabeth Taylor AND Ann Taylor.  Lucky girl, smart parents.



  1. Local to you... :)

  2. Oops... entered the first comment as soon as i read the first paragraph... you've obviously found her already... Looking forward to your report...


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