Transparency: 5 Questions Answered by a Modern Woman

It has been awhile since I've done a post about beauty. I thought it would be fun and interesting to get a different take on beauty other than my own. So I asked my friend Jade if she would be so kind enough to answer some questions about beauty today. She obliged and answered the questions I sent her, unfortunately due to time I wasn't able to ask a lot of follow up questions, but I did get some good recommendations from her about some of the makeup products she uses. Maybe she will be so nice as to answer more questions in the future :). 

1.) What are some particular challenges to picking out make up?

As a transwoman, one of the biggest struggles you face is a constant need to be “passable”… meaning that you strive to look in such a way as to not draw suspicion from other people that you are anything other than a natural born woman. There is a lot of pressure to achieve the look of a stereotypical woman, without being too eccentric. An unfortunate side effect of being born male is that my facial hair is still present, even with a close shave. With that in mind, the thing I find most challenging is finding a good foundation. I have to make sure that it provides adequate coverage without looking like it has been caked on. I have found liquid foundations are the best for full coverage and I apply it with a large beauty blender.

The foundation is $20.

The foundation is $20.

2.) What is your favorite makeup product you use right now?

I am in LOVE with my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Otherearthly Highlighter (Brown Pink Silver)!  I think highlighters add that extra pop and look so good in photos.  My friend who works at Nordstrom recommended it and I could not be happier about it. 

This MAC highlighter is $33

This MAC highlighter is $33

Jade on NYE rocking the highlighter look! 

Jade on NYE rocking the highlighter look! 

3.) How do you feel about men being included in major makeup companies and as their spokespeople?

It’s about damn time! I know there are many young men who want to experiment with makeup and often feel that they cannot do so without being ridiculed. These young men are a part of a much bigger picture that will normalize the art of makeup and pave the way for future generations of inquisitive men. 

4.) Do you have any favorite youtubers who do makeup tutorials? What is your favorite look they do?

I have followed and loved the journey of Gigi Gorgeous.  Although she does very little with makeup tutorials now, obviously her transition was a huge part of why I followed her. I also love Carli Bybel.  She is very informative about the products she uses and the production value is definitely well primed :). I recently started watching Stephanie Nicole. She typically does more alternative makeup and does NOT hold back when it comes to reviewing products, which I love. She prides herself in not being paid to boost products she doesn’t actually believe in so it’s easy to trust what she’s saying about the products.

My favorite look is always a good night out look.  I am a huge fan of dramatic eyes, dark lips and of course, a great highlight!

Showing off her awesome smoky eye skills. I'm definitely still working on mine. 

Showing off her awesome smoky eye skills. I'm definitely still working on mine. 

5.) Do you think makeup companies do a good job supporting trans women? How could they do better?

To be completely honest, I haven’t seen any commercials or advertisements that have been specifically targeted at transwomen.  However, that does not mean they do not exist.  I know that Gigi has done work for various makeup companies, including endorsing a lip gloss line. One of the things that transwomen work hard towards is being accepted in society as just women. Even though we have many unique challenges that are specific to being trans, I think that as long as companies are open to their clients whether they be men or women, they’re doing the right thing.  As with any minority, visibility is huge.  It would be great to see a prominent transwoman be the representative of a makeup company.

Bonus Question: Do you have any geeky hobbies outside of makeup? 

I like the Lord of the Rings.  Like I probably watch it once a month.  And I am unashamed.

I like to imagine even hobbits love a good pumpkin patch :) 

I like to imagine even hobbits love a good pumpkin patch :) 

You can find Jade snapping photos on Insta and kicking it in the Cap Hill neighborhood. 


Podcasts Part I

I find that people typically fall into one of two camps: those who listen to a lot of podcasts and those who don’t listen to any at all. I have yet to find a casual podcast listener. Personally I think it is a shame that not everyone listens to podcasts. There are so many out there and they are mostly free.  Podcasts are great to listen to when you’re on a road trip, on the bus, doing mindless data entry, cleaning, etc.  They are also a great way to continue learning. There are so many podcasts out there for whatever your interest is, you will be able to find a podcast to match it.  In my personal opinion the biggest thing we owe ourselves is to constantly be learning . At this point in my life I may never be able to play an instrument or learn all the languages I want, much to my chagrin. However, I can learn about the world around me and hear other people’s experiences through podcasts.  

A quick note about where to listen to podcasts. I find the preloaded Apple Podcast app to be less than stellar. it’s not very intuitive and I find the user interface clunky. Just like there are a million podcasts, there are a ton of podcast player apps. I like overcast because it’s easy to use and free (there is also a premium version). The search function is great and it’s easy to manage all of my podcast subscriptions. 

So without further ado: Betsy’s top 5 podcast recommendations (in no particular order). 

99% Invisible- This podcast is about design that interacts with our everyday lives that we don’t notice. The host Roman Mars has my favorite voice in podcasting. They take these interesting topics and tell the most wonderful stories, giving us a greater understanding of the world around us. This podcast releases every week and is usually around 20 minutes in length.  It’s an excellent short podcast to get you thinking about the world in a different way. 

The Dead Authors Podcast- It’s no mystery that I love Paul F Tompkins (PFT), and this podcast is what made me fall in love with him. PFT is the host and he pretends to be H.G. Wells, with a time traveling machine. He travels through time and space to interview other dead authors from every era (hence the name, Dead Authors Podcast). The kicker is that his comedian friends play these other authors from the past, and usually the most research they’ve done is a quick Wikipedia search. Hilarity ensues. Some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever heard has come out of this podcast. There is an episode with E. Gary Gygax, one of the creators of Dungeons & Dragons, and it is riotously funny. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. Unfortunately there are no more new episodes, but they have a back catalog of 50 interviews. They are all a delight and are about 1 hour in length. If you ever need to laugh go check out this podcast.  

Savage Lovecast- Dan Savage is the host of this delightful and sometimes raunchy podcast. Fair warning this is definitely NSFW.  Dan Savage has been an advice columnist and podcaster for a long time. He gives some of the best loveand sex advice around because it is hilarious, thoughtful, and informative . Every week he does a top of the show rant about current events that is incredibly informative and eye opening. If politics aren’t your thing then skip the intro and go to the questions and advice section. While this podcast is often times hilarious and light hearted, Dan also does an excellent job covering important topics in a thoughtful, enlightening, and heart wrenching way. I’ve definitely shed a tear or two from laughter and sadness listening to the Savage Lovecast. It is released weekly and is about an hour in length. 

Lady to Lady- This is a hilarious podcast with three comedians from LA. Tess Barker, Brandie Posey, and Barbara Gray get together every week and invite a guest to talk about current events, movies, books, comedy, the industry, and other topics. These three ladies are always entertaining and give a wittytake on being a woman today. At the end of their show they address a lady problem and give some pretty awesome advice for life’s trickiest questions. They release an episode every week and it is about an hour in length. 

Radiolab- This podcast is definitely one of the highest quality podcasts around. They tackle topics that span the range of science, philosophy, and human experience. This podcast is another great one for learning. It’s like science class on steroids, like if your favorite science teacher was able to teach you everything they were truly passionate about without any curriculum. It definitely makes you think about the world around you. The episodes are released weekly and are about an hour in length. 

Are you a longtime podcast listener or just getting started? Tell me about your favorite podcasts!