Editorial comment here: Cassidy and I “met” on another website quite a few years ago. We have been emailing back and forth almost daily for probably six years. There would be no blog without her. When I went out (still true today), I have to tell someone about it, put it in writing. My daily emails with Cass were where I did that. Now she has to wait like the rest of you. She means the world to me.
On March 20, 2022 at 11:00 AM I was sitting in a studio chair dressed to the nines hoping the makeup artist could perform a miracle on my 72 year old face. The fact the appointment fell on the first day of spring was not lost on me as the change in season represents a rebirth. Mother Nature starts to awaken from her winter sleep. It represents an awakening from my hibernation too as it was one month shy of three years since my last session with a professional makeup artist.
Circumstances were beyond my control or perhaps it was being gun shy. Some of what
transpired since April 2019 was Covid. Add to that my last makeup session was not memorable.
As a prologue I attended my first professional makeup session in July of 2007. Professional makeup sessions are pure fantasy for me as there is no way at all I could come close to achieving that kind of result. I never got past powder and lipstick and even that can be a dreadful experience. Since then I would book sessions twice yearly. From 2007 to April 2019 I’ve been to four different studios numerous times. Each artist brought a different approach to makeup application. I’ve received temporary face lifts with both surgical tape and elastic bands and paper clips. I’ve been airbrushed and MAC’ed. Before acquiring my own wigs (six) I’ve worn costume wigs to very expensive ones.
Over the years I’ve developed my LOOK. My makeup preference includes a blending of drag, noir, dynamic evening, costume and full on glam. It also includes eyewear and a variety of false eyelashes mostly purchased from Halloween costume stores. I also love to wear bling. Think multiple bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and a ring on each finger of each hand.
Visits during the early days I did not venture out. Later on I arrived and departed dressed. The turning point was the acquisition of my own non-costume wigs and unisex to femme eyewear. I never felt comfortable leaving the studios not wearing a suitable wig or eyewear representative of my presentation.
I am a sucker for maxi dresses, evening gowns and calf length cocktail dresses. It was not
uncommon during the latter stages of studio visits to arrive and leave wearing a maxi. The
sessions always, always, always featured the most sensational gown or cocktail dress I could find. Some dresses had handkerchief hemlines. I have no desire to wear a wedding gown however my dream dress is a Victorian-era bustle gown.
Each studio had its own quirk. Three of the four were home office affairs. One was an actual studio. Two of the four featured professional photography equipment with the two remaining ones using over the counter digital cameras. Three of the four offered movement coaching to enhance the photo experience.
Again, situations caused three of the four studios to close up shop. One due to Covid, one due to retirement and one due to the job transfer of a family member. The fourth studio became a geographic issue in that it was an in excess of a three hour drive to and from the location. Add the time to change into multiple outfits plus makeup and photos, it made for a very long day.
I mentioned earlier I’d become gun shy. The visit of April 2019 was not a pleasant experience as there was constant butting of heads. As described earlier, I have a look. The artist and I were in constant disagreement over nearly everything throughout the day so much so I half way vowed not to ever go to a makeup artist’s studio ever again.
During the summer of 2021 I once again got the courage to be made up professionally. The issue was finding an artist. My search found artists in the transformation/makeover field however all were geographically unacceptable. My search then turned to makeup artists in general. I found many advertising bride/bridal party expertise, however when I reached out to a number of them only two responded, one being very honest in stating she had not worked with men and another claimed the same despite offering Halloween-esque makeup services.
Being fair I did take into account Covid restrictions. I also concluded many of the artists
contacted were freelancers and may no longer be active.
The search did frustrate me as the more I thought about it the more I imagined the April 2019 visit would be the last and it would be the least memorable of the ones I’ve attended over the years.
Call it fate, serendipity, happenstance or just plain dumb luck. I practice hot yoga. I also go for massages twice monthly. During a conversation with my massage therapist she mentioned one of the yoga instructors also performed makeup services for bride/bridal parties and special occasions. With that knowledge I sought out that instructor. The conversation was something along the line of ‘…I understand you are a makeup artist as well as a yoga instructor….’ She acknowledged as much. I mentioned when we had more time I would like to talk to her. We left it at that.
When I saw her again I showed her a picture of myself dressed sans makeup. I asked, ‘…can you help me…?’ Her response was ‘…I love it, yes I can…’ I learned through follow up conversation and texts she was well qualified as in the past she worked in the drag world as well as the theater. Perfect.
I must admit I was cautious and very much afraid it would not come to pass. In fact 90 minutes before the appointed time she sent me a text. When I saw her name pop up on the screen my first thought was she was canceling. Instead she was texting me to warn me about her dogs.
Honestly, it felt great to be fully dressed again. There was an opportunity to go to a drag show brunch however I passed on it. Being dressed was good enough. I felt quite comfortable working with her. I was happy with the results and I look forward to working with her again.