On a normal day, when I take my make-up off, I am sad. The escaping euphoria as a exhale one final feminine breath. Just a few moments ago I took off my make-up, but this time the sadness was stronger.
This afternoon I went with my lovely fiancée to visit Adrian Acosta (A.K.A. Amnesia Sparkles) of GenderFun.com. Adrian provides high-quality, personalized transformation sessions out of his apartment in Brooklyn. My session included a full professional make-up transformation, and two photo shoots with a different outfit in each session. The too-long-didn’t-read of it all is that this in-depth experience is strongly recommended for crossdressers who are just beginning and need some help, experience crossdressers who may learn a few things, and those in between – like me. Keep reading, if you’d like to see it broken down a little further.
Before You Go
It’s important to note that your transformation session can be done by either Adrian Acosta, or en femme persona, Amnesia Sparkles. The Adrian-version, which I opted for this time, is a bit cheaper, but probably not the “full experience.” By no means do I regret going with Adrian for my first time (he’s awesome!) but retrospectively I think the session with Amnesia could have been even more fun.
Communicating with Adrian is simple and easy. To start, fill out a brief form on Transform Photos. I reached out to Adrian in August and he got back to me within 24 hours. He was extremely flexible to work with and made sure I was fully informed and prepared for the session. There is a short questionnaire that is essentially two-parts – one about your experience crossdressing, and the second, optional, portion that focuses more on psychological aspects. Overall, I think it allows Adrian to get a fairly clear picture of who you are before you begin your session.
I brought with me to the session my breast forms, two wigs, far too many shoes, and a few outfits. I should note that the transformation session does include full-use of Amnesia’s own lady-closet.
When my fiancée and I arrived, Adrian greeted us both warmly. I should note, Adrian was completely okay with the fact that my fiancée came. If you plan on bringing someone special definitely make sure you give him a heads up.
The transformation studio is located on the lower-floor of Adrian’s apartment and takes up the entire level. Immediately you are greeted by walls covered in Adrian’s bright and passionate photography, amongst other artwork, inspirational magazine clippings and more.
Adrian’s make-up station and selection are impressive. Admittedly, I know very little about make-up, but I have a feeling my initial comments would hold up even amongst the most beauty-savvy. There’s a high set chair in front of a bulb-lined mirror. This really helps emphasize that the day is about you, and you are the star.
Once again, I would like to reiterate: I know nothing about make-up. Adrian does.
Between somehow covering up my eyebrows and making them look semi-convincing and layering my face in a multitudes of what appeared to be war paints, Adrian’s work is more of an art form than a simple transformation. Who knew that a glue-stick could be used in so many ways.
In addition to the wonderful skin contouring, Adrian did a great job of bringing out my eyes. A mix of false eyelashes, eyeliner (in liquid form!), eye shadow and mascara did a great job of making my eyes pop.
Finally, some lipstick was used (different colors for different dresses.) and some foundation and contouring was applied to my chest/cleavage.
Time spent in the make-up chair – probably a bit over two hours. That may seem lengthy, but it all went by in a blur, and Adrian’s charisma and fun nature make the experience extremely enjoyable.
Adrian’s website has links to a Flickr page that documents clearly what clothing, shoes and wigs are available out of the lady-closet. Before coming, Adrian sends you links to these via e-mail and asks that you select a few things that might be interesting to you.
I had selected a few items from the lady-closet in advance, but I also bought a few of my own outfits. In the end, we decided to go with my selections from home – partially due to the fact that I am limited to long-sleeves. I did, however, use a pair of Adrian’s heels for the first shoot, as well as a belt.
Adrian has a great eye for fashion (which is pretty obvious if you know anything about Amnesia,) and he seemed to genuinely enjoy the strategizing involved in figuring out what outfit to wear.
I brought two wigs from home, and Adrian also has a plethora to choose from. I tend to play it safe with my wigs and generally stick with black, shoulder length hair. Adrian encouraged me to be a little bit more experimental with my hair.
At first I tried on a few brunette wigs. The first one looked great on me, but also made me look like the spitting image of my mother. Too creepy. The second brown one was short had pretty curls. We went with that one for the first photoshoot.
Other wigs Adrian had me try on included a long black wig that Adrian and my fiancée agreed made me look like a total bitch. (Not that that’s a bad thing.) Adrian also encouraged me to try on a few blonde wigs, which were fun, but in the end I couldn’t pull them off. My eyebrows are just too thick and dark.
For the second photoshoot we did a mix of the evil bitch wig and one of my shorter black wigs.
Experimenting with the different wigs was one of my favorite parts of the experience. I always knew how different hairstyles could entirely change the way a person looks, but I had never seen the change in action as drastically as I did today.
I have to give Adrian some more credit here. I don’t emote well, at least not when asked to. I was also ridiculously tense and nervous for a good portion of the afternoon, so relaxing for the photoshoot was not easy for me.
Adrian did not rush me, nor did he make me do anything I was uncomfortable with. He worked with what he had, and did the best with what I could offer in my tense state. Despite the fact that I probably made getting good photos difficult, Adrian somehow managed to get some. Quite a few, actually.
A great amount of photos were taken in a few different locations. The first batch of pictures were taken facing the make-up mirror, the next with the mirror at my back. Adrian then had me pose naturally standing in a few locations, most of which had his studio white screen as the back drop.
The studio was clean and decorated nicely so that no matter where I posed, the pictures came out crisply and were interesting to look at. He frequently took the time to show both myself and my fiancée how they were coming out.
On the small screen of the camera, the photos he showed me looked great. I haven’t seen them on the computer screen yet, but Adrian said he would send them to me shortly and I will certainly let everyone know how they turned out. (Probably very well.)
Before I drove over to Adrian’s I told myself that if I was happy with the experience I would leave his apartment en femme. At the end of the evening I went out en femme for the first time in a long time. It was just a short walk to and from the car, but the pleasure I get from being outside dressed up is almost as much as the fear. There used to be a lot more fear.
At the end of the second photoshoot Adrian encouraged my fiancée to join in a few photos, which was extremely kind of him and we definitely enjoyed taking them. Adrian suggested that next time I come (there will be a next time…) I bring my fiancee and we get dolled up together. She was totally on board with the idea – so it sounds like a date.
Adrian’s positivity and the fact that he is so easy to speak to makes him the perfect person for a crossdresser who lacks confidence to visit. Not only is he knowledgeable about the art of crossdressing, but he is well-versed on the topic of gender and sex. This makes for a formidable combination.
I cannot recommend the GenderFun transformation experience enough. Any crossdresser who lives in, or plans to visit the New York area owes it to themselves to pay Adrian a visit. My time in the studio was enjoyed in completeness on the emotional level, and the physical (appearance) level.
The next step, according to Adrian, is that he will send me all of the photos from the shoot. I will then select a few that he will also touch up for me. On one level, I can’t stand the idea of being “touched up,” and hate when they do that to girls in magazines. On another level, I can’t wait to see him work his magic.
I asked Adrian not to post my pictures on his website for the time being. In the springtime, provided this school year goes well and I have more job security, I will let Adrian post them. In the meantime, I hope to post a few to my flickr page once I have them.
When I took off my make-up this evening, it was sad. But it was worth it to feel how great I did while it was on, and now I have something to look forward to. I can’t wait to see how everything turns out the next time I visit the studio.
Photos received. They look great. I need to lose some weight, and maybe a cup size. I will post a few blurry photos shortly, and put some clean ones up on Flickr.