Keep Your Heels High and Your Head Higher

I get a lot of emails from other t-girls who haven’t made the step outside their house yet.  Usually it’s for a few different reasons, but it all seems to come down to them afraid of what other people will think.

This is a perfectly natural thing to wonder and I’ve been there too.  But what helped me leave my living room was that I just… felt ready.  I was so ready to experience the world as Hannah that this feeling became stronger than any fear I had about leaving my home.  I wondered what people would think and then I realized something.

You won’t know what people will think.

Unless, of course, you ask them, I suppose, but what would the point of that be?  I have never felt the need to stop someone at Target, in either gender, and ask them what they thought about me.

Of course, some people will share their opinion without being prompted but in my experience I hear more unprompted compliments than detraction.

But my point is that people are usually too distracted by their own lives (and phones) to notice you or have an opinion.  When I’m out (in either gender) I am too busy thinking about a million different things to think about anyone else.

That’s not to say I am not aware of who I am around for safety reasons, but I pay so little attention to the guy who’s watching me walk through the mall to even speculate as to what he might be thinking.

Remember, it’s not what people say to you, it’s how you react to what they say to you.

Once I walked down the street and one guy said to his friend “dude looks like a lady” when he saw me.  There’s a few different ways I could interpret his comment and it’s possible it wasn’t even an insult.  It may very well have been, but the point is that I don’t know and I’ll never know.  It wasn’t worth my time to stop and ask.

I could have let this ruin my day but I looked too good to let anything get to me.

No.  My first reaction was “well, that’s the point”.

The sidewalk is my catwalk.  My heels are high but I held my head higher.  I rolled my eyes and strutted on.

Love, Hannah

 

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One for the Money, T-Girls go to a Show…

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The MN T-Girls had our monthly adventure last night and it was one of the most fun events we’ve ever had.  Many of us have dreamed of wearing a beautiful dress to a play at a nice theater and yesterday we had a chance to make that a reality.

This was the final weekend of the Guthrie Theater‘s production of ‘The Legend of Georgia McBride’Casey is an Elvis impersonator with everything going for him, including a flashy sequin jumpsuit. But just like that he loses his gig, rent is overdue and his wife announces a baby on the way. So when Elvis leaves the building and a drag show moves in, “The King” transforms into an all-out queen with the help of some new friends who become the second family Casey never saw coming. With snappy zingers and dance-worthy numbers, this wildly entertaining story will challenge your assumptions with extraordinary humor and depth.

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I was surprised at how much I loved the show.  Usually shows that feature drag queens portray them as catty, one-dimensional characters, but the cast was funny, smart, and just…fun.  Everything was handled with a lot of respect and dignity and I never felt the play was making fun of the transcommunity.

The Guthrie couldn’t have been nicer to work with.  Thanks to their helpful customer service, we were able to have a group of tickets reserved for us so we could all sit together.  We were seated in the front in what is consider ‘cabaret seating’.  We sat at little tables giving us the feel of being at the show the characters were performing in.

It was a very fun night and it was such a fun play.  I wish I had seen it earlier so I could have recommended it before now, but the final production is today.  If you put on your fastest heels you might be able to get a ticket in time.

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I can’t wait for our next outing!

Love, Hannah

 

Let’s Smoke it Up (Your Eyes, That Is)!

Corrie Dupay is a makeup artist extraordinaire and owner of Midwest Makeup Supply and Femme Makeovers  She is a friend and hero to girls everywhere.  She is beyond talented.
Corrie has a newsletter that she sends out with helpful makeup tips like these and is reprinted here with her permission.  I am certain you’ll find this useful!  You can sign up for her newsletter here.
Love, Hannah
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Darlings!!

School is back in session!! Dig out your notebooks and pencils. Today we’re going to learn about the Smoky Eye – a classic look that never goes out of style!! A+ and bonus points for anyone who sends me photos (for my eyes only) of their work (makeovers@midwestmakeupsupply.com)!

😀

XOXO from your favorite makeup guru,


(See…even Pennywise loves a good smoky eye!)

Corrie
FemmeMakeovers | Midwest Makeup

A Smoky Eye Can Fix Everything!

What is a smoky eye?? Well – in the simplest form – a smoky eye is shading and smudging an eye pencil or eye shadow into and along the upper and lower lash lines. However….if you ask 10 people what a smoky eye is, I’d bet my favorite lipstick you’ll get 10 different answers…and none of them would be wrong.

I’m going to cover how I personally like to do a smoky eye – which will be a little more than just shading the lash line. I mean come on…if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it!  Let’s go!

Here are the tools and products you’ll need to do your smoky eye. And please remember – this is MY version so you can do any variation of it you wish. The concept will be the same – it’s just how dramatic you decide to take it (less dramatic for day-time wear, more dramatic for night-time wear, etc.). Also – please note that you can easily swap out colors….the whole idea behind the smoky eye is the dark, shaded lash line/lid – so feel free to play with the color.

1. Eye primer
2. I’m using three eye shadows (dark purple, light grey and black – and I realize the colors don’t translate well on the screen but you get the idea).
3. Eyeliner pencil in black
4. A fluffy brush, a tiny smudge brush and a short bristle fluffy brush
5. Mascara

1. Start by applying your eye primer to your entire lid. Then, lightly dust your lightest shade all over the lid using your large fluffy brush.

2. Using your smaller fluffy brush, apply the darker color to the outer corner of the eye, up to the crease and blend out. I prefer to keep the inner corner and middle part of the lid a little lighter and brighter (it keeps my eyes more open looking). Darkening the entire lid would produce a more dramatic look. If you have more hooded eyelids (like I do), it could close your eye down a little (or make them appear smaller). I also will come in with my tiny smudge brush to keep the color more concentrated in my crease the closer I get to the inner corner of my eye (keeps the crease and color application precise).

3. Next, take your small smudge brush and darken the outer corner with a little bit of black. Then smudge a tiny bit on the lower lash line as well (this is important for the smoky look).

4. Take your black liner pencil and line the upper and lower lash line. Think of it as working the liner into your lash line – we want to create the illusion our lash line is thick and full. Once you get your liner on, take your tiny smudge brush and smudge it in. Again – important for creating that smoky look.

5. Apply several (thin) coats of mascara – and/or, add false lashes. Click here for step-by-step instructions on false lash application.

6. Take one last look and touch up any eye liner or darken the shadow if you wish. Once I have my lashes or mascara on, I do usually like to darken the liner a little bit and/or add a little more smudgy-ness to the lower lash line to create a little more intense drama….because…why the hell not?!?!

And there you go!!! A quick, step-by-step tutorial on how to create a smoky eye. As a quick recap:
~ A smoky eye is just shading the upper and lower lash line – but I like to give it a bit of a bump and take it to the crease (or beyond).
~ Play with color! Concept is the same just swap out your light and dark with different colors (light grey/dark grey, light blue/dark blue…you get the idea!)..but I always like to have a black handy just in case I want to give it that extra push in to the dramatic.
~ Practice. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. And don’t forget – it’ll more than likely look like a HOT mess until you finish….most makeup applications do!
~ It’s makeup…HAVE FUN WITH IT!!!!! 😀
Until next time, darlings. Kiss kiss.
Be sure to visit Corrie’s newly updated website for more info and updated services.

Questions or want to request an appointment? Email her at: makeovers@midwestmakeupsupply.com

Be sure to check www.femmemakeovers.com for more info.

All Are Welcome in Hastings…

…(unless you’re transgender).

City Pages has an article about where they touch on Councilman Joe Balsanek and his perspective on diversity in Hastings, a suburb in the Twin Cities with a population around 22,000.  “It is important that we accept all the folks with different kinds of identities.”  Well, that’s really nice.

But wait!  There’s more.

Leaders of a few churches and one school have written a letter about the city’s message of everyone being welcomed.   According to the article,

The writers believe there is one group covered under the “all are welcome here” credo that shouldn’t really be welcomed: transgender folks.

“There is extensive evidence that the promotion of the view that a person’s sex as a fluid self-perception rather than a biological fact is harmful to children and teens,” they write. This view is “factually unsubstantiated” and will encourage young people to “make irreversible decisions to artificially alter their sexual identity.”

It’s frustrating to being singled out (again) especially in the light of a message where everyone, oh wait not you is included.  Especially from church leaders.  It’s been a while since I’ve been to church, but I’m pretty sure the Bible teaches ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you‘ (Luke 6:31).  Maybe I’m wrong.

At any rate, I don’t believe that these leaders speak for the entire community.  I am sure there are many residents and businesses that would welcome us with open arms.

You know, accepting people with different kinds of identities.

Love, Hannah

 

#transgenderprivilege

There is a hashtag that has been popping up around Twitter for the past few days of #transgenderprivilege.  Users are posting their experiences about being trans and discussing the myth of the “privileges” our community has.  There are many out there that think we are trans just so we can use a particular bathroom or locker room, many think we are trans for sexual reasons.

Of course, that is not the case. The responses posted range from relatable, to sobering, to heartbreaking.

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As a t-girl who does not plan on transitioning, some of the responses are not ones I can relate to directly, but I have friends who have said what many of these users have written.  For those of us who have gone out in public and had to use the restroom, I think we can all relate to the tweet above.  I’ve had nothing but uneventful experiences in using the ladies room, but my guard is always up.

What are some of the “advantages” people think you have because you are transgender?

Love, Hannah

 

Let’s Hear it for the Brows!

Corrie Dupay is a makeup artist extraordinaire and owner of Midwest Makeup Supply and Femme Makeovers  She is a friend and hero to girls everywhere.  She is beyond talented.
Corrie has a newsletter that she sends out with helpful makeup tips like these and is reprinted here with her permission.  I am certain you’ll find this useful!  You can sign up for her newsletter here.
Love, Hannah
______________________________________________________________________________________________
Hello Everyone!

Today we discuss brows. Remember these things:

1. You need them.
2. Sisters not twins
3. Don’t forget about them.
4. You CAN do this!

😀

XOXO from your favorite makeup guru,

Corrie
FemmeMakeovers | Midwest Makeup
Brows! Where do I….what do I….how the….??? YIKES!!! I know, I know. Brows can be intimidating. But!! You don’t want to neglect them. I totally get that they can go horribly wrong, fast…but – with a little practice and some guidance – you can have brows with shape and a nice arch. Trust me when I say brows are something you need to get comfortable with and include as part of your makeup application. They frame the face, open the eye and polish and finish your look.

Next to applying false eyelashes and eyeliner, brows are something a lot of people struggle with. Not only are we trying to figure out the color, shape, where to start/stop, place the arch, etc., shaping the brow (hair removal via waxing, tweezing, etc. that makes doing our brows so much easier), might not be an option.

But don’t worry! There are ways we can work around it. For this newsletter – I’m going to stick to the simple version: shaping and filling the brow using a pencil, powder or cream. I’ll do another more-in depth tutorial on completely covering the brow (using wax or glue stick) and re-drawing at a later time.

First – burn this sentence into your memory: Brows are SISTERS not TWINS. I repeat: SISTERS NOT TWINS. Similar but not identical. Okay? Okay! Second – my favorite saying: Practice! You NEED to practice!! So don’t do it once and give up!

Let’s get going. Everyone’s face/eye/brow shape will be different. These are just guidelines to help you get the concept down. Once you get it down – it’s up to you to practice and play with it to determine: Do I like fuller brows? Thinner brows? A higher arch, etc.

Products: There are three types of products I like to use for brows: cremes (applied with an angle brush), pencils and powders (applied with an angle brush). Cremes and powders are my favorite. Pencils are easy to use and work fine, but I feel if you’re not careful, the brow can look a little too drawn on resulting in a very artificial looking brow. Creme is great for when you have a thicker/fuller brow (where hair removal isn’t an option) and have to ‘cheat’ the shape a little. They are build-able, tend to show up better and I think they last longer, too. Powders tend to give the most-natural look (in my opinion).

When we’re putting our brows on – we want to be mindful of a couple things – where to stop and where to start. If we start the brow too far in and/or down, you can end up looking mad! Or like Divine if you go too high! If they are too close together – that will look strange, too. We also want our brow to end in the correct place – we generally don’t want our brows extended down onto our temples. The following is a guideline of where to start, stop and place your arch:

1. Imagine a line from the inner corner of your eye, up. This is where we want our brow to start.
2. Imagine a line from the outer corner, following the angle of our lower lash line out. Here’s where our brow should stop.
3. Imagine an angled line from the outer edge of your iris. This is roughly where the highest point of the arch should sit.
4. Imagine a horizontal line from the bottom of the inner part of the brow to the outer part (tail) of your brow. The start and stop point should match by sitting on this line. This will help with balance.

Choosing a brow color: I typically like to match my brows to my hair color, but as we know – that might be hard (ie: dark brows naturally but wearing a blonde wig). The only hard rule I tend to follow is trying to avoid using straight up black for my brows. It can come off as a little too harsh. So – if you want to wear a blonde wig but have dark brows – roll with it. It’ll be fine. It would be hard to lighten – it could be done if we covered the brow completely, or, perhaps by using a brow mascara-type product, but that could end up looking very unnatural (which is not usually what we want).

To start your brow, very lightly draw your initial brow line in, doing both sides so we can check for balance. Once you are happy with where it starts, the arch and the stopping point, continue to add line by line until you get the shape and fullness you want. As you add each new line, take a step back to look for balance and symmetry (it’s hard to see if things are balanced if our face is only inches from the mirror). And remember! It’s easier to add product than to take away.

This might be hard at first, especially if your brows are longer and darker. If you can trim them down a little that might make it a little easier. If they are darker, your best bet might be to give them a little shape by add more of an arch (if you can) and a thinner/longer tail (if you can).

Once we are happy with the shape, I like to come back through with a spoolie (or a clean mascara wand) to blend, soften and groom the brow into place. You can add a brow gel or wax if you want to keep things in place (the wax or gel is a good idea if you have longer brows).
If this is too overwhelming at first – you can always use a stencil. However – I’m not a super fan of stencils. My issue with stencils is that they can come off looking very drawn on and fake if we’re not careful.

If I am going to us a stencil, then I’ll typically use a brow powder rather than a pencil or creme, so it looks a little more natural. They can be  useful though as you start to get placement, length and the arch in the right place.

Lastly – I do my brows after I’ve done my foundation and usually my eye makeup. At minimum, I’d say do AFTER your foundation – you don’t want to mess up the perfect brow by accidentally covering part of it with foundation….but that’s just me!

Okay, my darlings. I know this is A LOT of information I just threw your way, so if you have any questions – please let me know.  I’m here to help!! 😀
Be sure to visit Corrie’s newly updated website for more info and updated services.

Questions or want to request an appointment? Email me at: makeovers@midwestmakeupsupply.com

Be sure to check www.femmemakeovers.com for more info.

My First Name Ain’t Buddy…It’s Hannah, Ms. McKnight If You’re Nasty

We all remember the first time we went out.  We also all remember the most recent time we went out.  As I get ready to go out, I think about where I’m going, what I am going to do, and what might happen.  I think about everything, like if I am overdressed for what I am going to do (I am), I think about where I will park and if it’s safe or too far to walk in the heels I am going to wear…and I think about whether or not I will encounter any…well, jerks.

I know that we have decades before a transperson will be able to go out in public (or online) without the likelihood of a snide comment, or worse.  I am always concerned about my safety and so far I haven’t had any situations where I felt physically unsafe.  Thank goodness.

Going out as a representative of the transcommunity (because we all are) gives me a chance to see how the public views and reacts to someone like me.  Sometimes my experiences are amazingly positive and I am embolden by what people say to me and what that means for the acceptance of the transcommunity.  Of course, it’s not always rainbows and glitter, either.

I am okay with stares.  When someone stares at me it could be for a number of reasons, such as the realization that they are seeing a transperson for the first time and they are trying to process it.  It could be because they love my dress (this is my default thought because, well, why not?) but a stare isn’t a bad thing.  A sneer, a smirk, a stifled laugh is, but a stare is fine.

People going out of their way to be rude is the worst.

I used to think that the bravest thing I ever did was leaving my home during the day, dressed in a beautiful dress and full makeup as I walked a block to an appointment with a seamstress to have a dress altered.  But no, for me it’s more nerve-wracking to be in public in heels and a dress without makeup as I head to a makeover appointment.  My face still slightly red from shaving, my…maleness in full volume.  It’s a relief to sit in that chair as the artist starts their work.

A few weeks ago I went in for a makeover and as I stood at the counter waiting to check in, one of the clerks referred to me as “him” and….it killed me.  I was already feeling fragile and ugly and nervous and male and this was like a stab to my heart.  Any remaining strength I had to hold my head high despite a lack of makeover was just gone.  She apologized and corrected herself immediately after she realized what she said and I believe it was sincere but it didn’t undo the pronoun slip.

As I sat there getting my makeup done I kept thinking about how transpeople encounter this each and every single day…whether the comment is a slip or a truly malicious verbal slap.  I thought about those who are “full-time”, or those who have transitioned or in the process of doing so.  They are facing the world each day presenting as the gender they identify as.  They deal with this much more often that I ever will.  This little moment was a wake-up moment and it helped me put my experience into perspective.  It’s one thing to have something like this potentially happen every few weeks compared to something like this happen potentially several times a day.

As my appointment wound down, I felt calmer and the time I spent thinking about the pronoun slip and what other transpeople experience more often than I do put things into perspective.  I felt stronger and more confident after my appointment.  Stopping feeling sorry for yourself and a good makeover will do that to you.

I went on to have a fabulous day of shopping and dinner.

On my way home I stopped at a gas station and the clerk went completely out of his way to call me “buddy” and “sir”.  Six hours ago a pronoun slip devastated me but this just made me roll my eyes.  Others have experienced worse.  Nothing makes it okay that he said that, but it didn’t affect me.

So, in summary, here are some ways to deal with some of the most common comments you hear when you go out:

“I love your dress!”  Thank you!

“You are very tall!”  It’s the heels.

“Hey buddy.”  Go to hell.

It’s tempting and natural to want to confront someone saying hateful and hurtful things, but I don’t think it’s possible or likely you can change someone’s mind if they are such a jerk that the would go out of their way to say something like that.  I am wary of interacting with haters as you never know what they might do especially since almost every state allows what is commonly referred to as ‘The Gay Panic Defense’.

Be careful and be gorgeous.

Love, Hannah