20 February 2006


Every girl loves a cosmetic makeover. Even, or especially, if she is a transwoman.

I remember back in 2001, when I lived in Tucson, and I got in touch with the local Mary Kay saleswoman, who came over to me to talk about Mary Kay's principles, products, and opportunities. She then proceeded to give me a complete facial and makeover. This was my first-ever cosmetic makeover, anything beyond covering facial flaws with a concealer. I ended up joining her group, and trying to sell Mary Kay cosmetics myself, though without success.

Then it was all forgotten when I returned to Southern California, as I was forced to give up my identity - and my Mary Kay career as well. Later on, as my spirituality developed, the fundamentalist Christianity so prevalent in Mary Kay circles got to me, and I vowed to find another brand. (At the same time, I started to write Kirsten's story, and I gave my Mary Kay experience to Kirsten.)

The fun began anew last April, as I discovered Make-up Art Cosmetics, or MAC, a Canadian brand popular with stage performers (and enthusiastically recommended by other transwomen, for the heavy foundation coverage). I went to MAC's Pasadena store, where a makeup artist named Katie spent two hours giving me a complete look from scratch. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, and came away with a look even more to my liking than my old Mary Kay look. Katie, being the extroverted saleswoman that she was, kept me talking through the whole thing, making the two hours go by very fast. After the deal was over, I journalled about the experience, so that I could eventually give it to Sarah, especially since by then, Kirsten's story had morphed into Sarah's story, Perfect Girl.

I was reminded of the whole experience again today, as I returned to Pasadena for an afternoon of shopping, went to the MAC store again for a new tube of mascara, and was greeted by none other than Katie, who immediately recognized me. It's been almost a year, and her memory was good. I ended up picking a third eyeshadow, on top of the two that I had bought last year, as well. I was happy to briefly be reminded of the whole makeover experience. Of course, Katie reminded me to return - more often.

This reminds me - maybe Sarah may end up having her favorite MAC saleswoman herself. I'll think about it. For now, I want to make sure that the feeling of rebirth that a makeover brings remains fresh in my memory, and will live on in Sarah as she gets her own first makeover.

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