Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep

| Mar 5, 2018

Sarah Berry in her article on the Psychology of Beauty tells this story about 90-year-old Berta who walked up to a cosmetics counter in a Melbourne department store.  “She had a big, platinum beehive, foundation that was six shades too dark for her, turquoise eyeshadow dripping down her face, coral lips and half a ton of bronzer,” recalls makeup artist, Ellen Malone. What a dream for a makeover artist.1950s era look with blond beehive hair

The problem was that Bertha liked the way she looked and, as Paul Harvey liked to say, you need to know the rest of the story. Bertha was a holocaust survivor, and the only one of her family to survive. She moved to the States, married, and tells how her image of beauty were all those gorgeously tanned women with blonde hair and blue eyeshadow — that was the type of beauty she saw when she got here.

This kind of beauty made her feel “free.” So she was celebrating her freedom whenever she put on that coral lipstick

Much to the surprise of her colleagues, Ellen proceeded to make over Berta using a ‘nicer’ version of the coral lipstick and turquoise eyeshadow. It is rare for a person’s sense of beauty to stem from such a significant story. But, it is a reminder that the psychology behind beauty can rarely be taken at face value and that it is always in the eye of the beholder.

Dolly Parton

Photo: Jason Merritt

“Dolly Parton famously founded her look on the appearance of prostitutes. “My look came from a very serious place: a country girl’s idea of glamour. I had nothing growing up, but I always wanted to be ‘sexy,’ even before I knew what the word was,” she told The Guardian.

“I would see pictures of women in magazines, what they called the town tramp, but seriously I thought they were beautiful. They were just more: they had more hair, more color, more of everything. I’m not a natural beauty. But I’m so outgoing I felt I needed to be as flamboyant on the outside.”

Whether we’re showing that we’re powerful, polished or feeling flamboyant a la Parton, our makeup choices make a statement, Fuller says. “Like clothes … we’re presenting to the outer world something from [our] inner world … and embodying what [we] feel on the inside.”

I’m sure you can see the parallels between these genetic women and trans women or crossdressers. We all have our own perception of “beautiful” whether realistic or not. Just look at one video of beautiful crossdressers/trans women. I would love to know where the author found these pictures because they are all thin and beautiful with hourglass figures which is not what you see at your typical support group meeting or transgender conference

And I’m guilty too. While I promote “The Stylish Crossdresser”on Sister House and the “Putting It Together Look” that allows you to blend in, or more likely stand out in a good way, secretly I want to standout in a more flamboyant way sometimes. And as older women are often invisible (I’m 76), you have only to look at the blog Ädvanced Style to see that many older women have thrown out old ideas of fashion and have become their own woman with all kinds of crazy styles.


Just love the woman on the left with a bouffant hairdo, large sunglasses over-the-knee boots and a short pink tutu skirt. And the woman on the right as well with that ’50s look. . .pink  dress with black trim and a lace overlay, gloves, heels, pearls and that absolutely wonderful hat.

I rarely go crazy but next week I’m doing just that when celebrating the birthday of a crossdressing friend here in Merida. I had a cocktail dress custom made for my somewhat robust figure. It’s an empire style silver sequin dress with a hemline just above the knee. My ample bust is form fitted and the dress loosely falls to the hem. I have silver dangly earrings for my bob-styled grey wig and will have a red bag and red shoes. Makes me wish I had a vagina.

Our rationales for wearing makeup in a particular way are as diverse as the choices and styles of clothes we chose to wear

This is why, in her 12 years as a make-up artist, Ellen has learned not to judge. “Women have a very particular reasons why they like a particular color or smell,” she says.

With perfume, for instance, a certain fragrance might not react well with a woman’s chemistry and while there may be better choices, “that smell might remind them of their mother and their mother has died.” I love Chanel #5, which was my mother’s favorite, but it’s expensive. So I wear “Charlie” which is a favorite of my wife. Perfume is the ultimate touch of femininity.

So, when they want a particular perfume, caked-on foundation or copious amounts of kohl, Ellen tries to work out why they want it that way and where they’ve been.

“They have a beauty ideal — a thing in their head of how they should look or smell” Usually they have seen an image somewhere and are having difficulty achieving it. For me, it’s about finding the image they want to create and showing them how to create it.”

If any of this makes sense to you, then Sister House is rolling out a new service next month called “Our Feminine Self” It’s a femininity coaching service with two coaches well known to you, Vikki LaFontaine in the NJ/NY area and Donnakelli in southern California. We are here to create that image of femininity that is in your head. We’ll help with makeup and dress, comportment, voice, shopping, and then escort you to everyday places where you can fully experience what it’s like to be a woman. And at prices you can afford.

Donnakelli and Vikki LaFontaine

Donnakelli and Vikki LaFontaine

I remember the first time I went to a transformation shop and did these things. I never ever wanted to go back to being a man. Such was life that I had to take off the clothes and makeup but the experience was inscribed in my memory and led to helping me be the woman I am today.

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Category: Makeup, Style

About the Author ()

Tasi is transgendered, married, and a lifelong crossdresser. She’s the founder of the Ladies of the Blue Ridge transgender group in Roanoke VA, a prolific writer, commentator and blogger including fashion articles for Tri-Ess, TG Reporter, Repartee, and Pretty T-Girls magazine. Tasi currently resides in Merida, (Yucatan) Mexico. Her new website, Sister House and her blog, the Fashionable TG Woman are dedicated to fashion and style for the transgendered woman. Please visit her. Tasi’s new book, "Top Ten Fashion Mistakes By Crossdressers and How To Fix Them" is available on Amazon or on her site free to subscribers.

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