Brace yourself, America! There are transformations coming your way -- male-to-female makeover transformations to be exact, courtesy of Amnesia Sparkles, the alter ego of artist, photographer and writer Adrian L. Acosta.
According to her bio, Amnesia became the first crossdresser on "American Idol" when she auditioned in 2002. The winner of the inaugural Miss Thang Beauty Pageant, she is also the creator of GenderFun.com, a website focusing on gender and sexuality, and has launched a business to perform "male-to-female makeover transformations on men who enjoy being transformed into women."
Amnesia has carried out these transformations, which include a full makeover involving makeup, wigs and clothing and a photo shoot, in her Brooklyn, New York studio since 2013 but now she wants to reach men in other cities.
"We've been helping girls in the New York City area explore their gender identity through the art of makeup and photography for the past three years," Amnesia wrote on the GoFundMe page that she launched in hopes of funding her trip. "This can be a scary endeavor for many individuals, especially in a society that tells boys to 'MAN UP'... It's my dream to travel all around the United States giving MTF transformations to girls who simply can't afford a trip to the Big Apple, but have always dreamed of someone dolling them up."
(In the clip below, Amnesia Sparkles takes "American Idol" by storm)
The Huffington Post recently caught up with Amnesia Sparkles to learn more about her transformations and find out how her own life has been changed in the process.
The Huffington Post: How did you get started doing these male-to-female makeover transformations?
Amnesia Sparkles: I’ve been doing male-to-female makeover transformations on friends since 1999. It wasn’t until early 2012 that a 23-year-old young man I met on the Internet, "Alexis," expressed his desire for me to turn him into a girl. It took me a year after that transformation to launch the business. Another young man, "Chelsea," became my first official client in 2013.
What exactly happens when a man comes to you for a transformation? Walk me through a session.
"Justine," one of my clients, blogged about his first experience getting a transformation with us. It’s great insight into what happens on the day of a transformation.
Many people who are unfamiliar with what you're doing might wonder "Is this drag?" or "Are you -- and the men who come to see you -- gay? Are they transgender?" How do you respond to these questions?
Many people confuse gender identity with sexual orientation, so, naturally, they think that a man who dresses like a woman must be gay. However, as I explain in one of my latest videos, 90 percent of my clients self-identify as "straight." That’s not to say that, while dressed as women, they won’t have sex with other men but since they are in a "femme mode" state of mind, they are tapping into their female sides and thus having sex with a man while they are dressed as women would still make them "straight."
However, many of my clients dream of having a lesbian experience, meaning they dream of having sex with another man who is dressed like a woman and/or a cis female while they themselves are dressed as women. In the end, I would say many of my clients are pansexual. I feel most of my clients are way more sexually liberal than your average homosexual or heterosexual. As for me personally, I’ve only had the opportunity to have sex with individuals who have a penis but I often find myself attracted to pre and post-op transexuals and cis women.
Ultimately, sex for me is all about the chemistry between me and an individual. It’s about being dominant and submissive, flip-flopping, being playful, and giving each other a great deal of physical pleasure. I emphasize the word “giving.” The best sex for me is ultimately about getting off while focused on helping someone else (you like) get off.
(The clip below features one of the "girls" who received a transformation from Amnesia Sparkles)
Some people might also wonder if these men want to be women or if they identify as transgender or if they identify as crossdressers who enjoy dressing up in women's clothing and/or presenting as women but very much identify as men. What are your thoughts on that? Once the clothes and makeup come off, are your clients longing to put it back on or wear it permanently? Or is it seen as a hobby or a limited experience?
The answer to all of these questions is "yes." Of course, as with any pleasurable experience in life, my clients want more of the same thrill once we are done with a transformation session. I believe one of the lessons provided by these makeover transformations is that nothing is permanent in life -- not our exterior, not out mental and emotional states. At the end of each transformation I try to emphasize that they should focus on how it feels to transition from a man to a woman and back to a man. Once you start to accept this feeling of transitioning you realize that life itself is a transition we are all going through. We are constantly learning and changing form.
Why do you want to take your makeover transformations on the road?
Part of the reason I’m taking my makeover transformations on the road is to connect in person with girls in their hometowns and not in New York where I’m based -- especially since many of the girls can't afford a trip to New York. I want to connect without a YouTube screen between us. I want to dance with my girls in their hometowns. I want to to hear their stories which I might add to the book I'm writing. Their stories matter. And since I officially became a U.S. citizen in early 2015, another reason for the trip is because I want to see and feel firsthand this great country of ours.
What do you hope people take away from what you do -- both the men you transform and the general public?
If there is only one thing folks witnessing and folks getting transformations done during my gender-bending cross-country adventure come away with, I hope it is that sometimes you have to listen to your life's calling, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. You have to go on an adventure to places (physical, emotional, and mental) you’ve never been before and most importantly you have to rely on the kindness of strangers. You have to take a leap of faith and hope for the best. As a nation, in these troubled times, I hope folks feel the same way instead of wanting to build “walls” to keep people out.
How has doing these makeover transformations touched your own life?
I’m currently in my mid to late 30s. I feel like the first three decades of my life I was mainly focused on me and what I could get out of life. By providing male-to-female transformation services, I discovered the great pleasure that comes from coaching and helping someone come out of their shell; the pleasure of “being of service" -- of touching someone’s life. There is no greater pleasure than to see my clients blossom as they get over the fears society has installed in them. I rejoice in seeing them live life on their own terms. They remind me of the scared young man I used to be and the “woman” I’ve become.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.