Friday, March 11, 2016

I Wonder Who She Is? - Guest Post

Meetups are wonderful to connect with new people and get out.  I belong to several and wrote about attending one here.  I have been attending for the last eight weeks a MeetUp on "Social Media".  There is the cocktail of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others that are bewildering. 

It is at this Meetup I met a beautiful and interesting woman and she wrote today's Guest Post.  I believe she can be a resources for us and I look forward to posting from her often.   Thank you Cherie and Enjoy.  Rhonda

 I Wonder Who She Is?

by Cherie Izzo

Sometimes a person just stands out in a crowd.  You don’t know why they intrigue you, but you see this person and want to know who they are, what their story is, and why they mesmerize you.

That’s what happened the day I walked into the blogging class hosted by Rick Zullo, an Italian friend who invited me to a gathering about “Building an Email List” in a series he was teaching about Blogging and Social Media. He owns a Travel-to-Italy blog.  I met him four years ago when he returned from Italy with his beautiful Sicilian bride, who reminds me an Italian model.

I have no idea why I went to the Whitney that cold January day in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida. I have no need to learn about email lists. I’m a celebrity hair & makeup artist. I was just filling my calendar. But I sat in the first row, in front of the large screen TV, while he was giving his presentation.

Rick engaged the group. He called upon a few of the attendees for participation in the class -- a photographer, and another man who was writing children books about interactive fungi. Then Rick posed a question to a woman sitting to my left. While she began to answer his question, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. I wondered who she is.

People watching is a leisure pursuit of mine. As a hair & makeup artist, I see people in a different way. Successful beauty professional’s look to enhance a person and or their client’s appearance. My eyes constantly roam, looking for clients everywhere.

I also have a strange gift, some call a curse.

When I left the corporate beauty industry doing hair shows, was when it began. I had clients that I was unable to communicate with verbally and ultimately created the hairstyle or makeup look they loved. Numerous times with a bride and her large bridal party, the grandmother or mother didn’t speak English. The woman would speak in her native language and motion with her hands around her face, gesturing a hairstyle. Who knows what these women were saying, but I understood what they wanted. I have a habit of putting my hands on the client’s shoulders as I stand behind them. I get their vibes, maybe because I’m inside their personal space touching their heads. I’d comb through their hair, and just ‘know.’ Nine times out of ten they were happy. Part of the curse -- I’m a mind reader and a nonpaid therapist. People share their dirty little secrets with their hairstylist.

Back at Rick Zullo’s class, as the woman spoke my eyes were drawn to her beautiful white hair, stylishly cut. She wore makeup well, all becoming colors. It was obvious she spent money on herself. She wore elegant shoes with a perfectly creased seam running up her lined pants legs. Very fashionable and well put together. I listened; her voice was low, deep, and sexy as she explained she wrote a fashion blog for enjoyment. In my mind, I’m thinking she’s my ideal client.

When the class concluded, I wanted to network with this woman, my ideal client. I asked her for her card and more specifically what she does. Rhonda handed me her card. Again said she was “a fashion and lifestyle blogger,” and excused herself and left. As we spoke I sensed something, but couldn’t place it.

It was later I went to her blog, “Rhonda’s Escape,” revealing her journey of self-discovery. I learned that Rhonda was transgender. She had been living (more and less) as a woman for the last eight years.

I began to think deeper about transgender women’s beauty and fashions. From a hair and makeup artist’s perspective, the needs of transgender women are more diverse with many facets. The average beauty school graduate is not equipped with skills these women need to usher them into the beauty aspect of their new lifestyle. But put different specialists all together in varying areas of the beauty field to assist them, and their unique feminine beauty and fashion desires can be achieved. A makeup artist must know how to turn a masculine bone structure into feminine, and accentuate with contour using soft delicate shading. More goes into the process for a hairstylist, to find a way to soften a masculine hairline and recreate it to bring out femininity.

Women, learn at an early age how to preen themselves and engage in beauty rituals. It is either taught or learned in society at a very young age. For a transgender woman, she is new at the preening rituals, possibly not knowing or being taught how to apply skincare, makeup, and pick feminizing fashions. Unaware how to apply makeup properly and understanding the delicate process it evolves from, is where the failure to achieve the right feminine look comes, in order to pass and not come off as drag.

A lot depends on where she is in the transgender transition process. There are surgeries, hormone replacement therapy, and feminization of the face, hands, feet and body. Some entail injectables of the face and hands to re-contour. Hair removal of face and body is sometimes necessary. There are skin laser treatments to reduce signs of aging; hands and elbows tell-all and confirm a woman’s real age. A little help comes from makeup to contour the face and body to create the illusion of beautiful feminine curves. And the placement of padding here, and a tuck there, are options that are all part of dressing. Wigs are easy on-and-off, but they look fake if not done perfectly. Hair extensions look real and you can do amazing hair styles with them. One other thing to pay attention to is nails, fingers, and toes. There are options to feminize large hands and feet. Then fashion can minimize the shoulders, waist, hands, and feet and create the illusion of breasts with clothing.

It is now eight weeks into Rick Zullo’s Blogging and Social Media class. As part of the curriculum, he asked each of us to partake in the exercise of creating a blog. I thought my life is exciting as a hair & makeup artist and behind the scene might be fun to blog. So I completed the assignment, as did Rhonda and shared it with the class. Last week before the class I went shopping on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. It was a perfect day, 78 degrees; sunny Worth Avenue was lined with Aston Martins, Maseratis, and Bentleys. I stopped and talked to fashion designer Carrie Kahlenberg at Carrie-Me-Couture, went by Trésor Rare, and when I left Gucci, walking through the Esplanade I saw Rhonda at a café outside on her phone. After class that night we talked about transgender beauty needs and how I might help.

Now here we are.

I would love to help transgender women with hair and makeup services on location. Or assist them all over the world using my online beaute` coaching service for makeup lessons. As a fashion designer, I can guide them to understand techniques needed to achieve a truly feminine appearance.

Beaute` coaching is listed on my website www.CherieIzzo.com. We arrange date and time to Skype. The client sets up their makeup mirror in front of a webcam, tablet or phone. Then via Skype, I coach her one-on-one through skin care and makeup application in real time. I give clients charts and diagrams with face shapes to follow and learn techniques they can refer back to.

Sometimes a person just stands out in a crowd. I’m still intrigued.

I wonder who she is. What’s Rhonda’s story… and how she found her classy look.  Don’t you? If you meet her, you can’t help but notice her style and grace.


Cherie Izzo Bio


  1. Excellent. Well written and sincere.

  2. Hi Pat,

    Thanks for the comment - I hope Cherie become a good friend.

  3. Your hair and flawless make up are top nitch7