Monday, August 8, 2011

Meet Vivienne

Growing up I was the weird ugly kid that sat in the back of the classroom and mumbled at the other kids. I read books when they watched MTV, and I stayed on the swingset when they played volleyball. When boys would even look at me I would call them names and throw things at them. Why? I had the lowest self esteem imaginable. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family... lots of kids, mainly boys, so i grew up in jeans, t shirts, playing baseball and getting dirty. Being pretty was never on my mind. To add to my tomboyishness I had a wicked case of acne vulgaris (the kind that leaves massive scarring), screwed up teeth and a horrid haircut (chili bowl with curls. Yeah.) High school changed my life.

I had to attend a public school for the first time, because the area Catholic high school was out of our way to attend. The first day was unbearable. I went from a school of 150 kids (total) to having a freshman only class of 350 (over 1400 at that school). I wanted to die. But luckily, I met some female friends who took me under thier wing and showed me how to be a girl. They showed me the beauty of makeup, and my whole outlook on life changed. All of a sudden, I wasn't so ugly. Boys started talking to me, my hair grew out, and I got braces. I made friends that I have even still to this day.

Having been in dance most of my childhood, I decided to try out for my schools' prestigious kick squad and made the team! I fell in love with the overly sequined costume, the red lipstick, teased hair and blue eyeshadow. In college I participated in theater programs and found out that I was good at makeup. Really good. I started working in retail and my career went from there. I find the most satisfaction, however, in teaching what I know to others. Helping teens learn how to regain thier self esteem through corrective coverup, because I went through that. I have volunteered at battered women's shelters, teaching women how to find beauty in themselves, as part of programs to help them better thier life situation and find self worth and love. 

My role models have always been drag queens, because they embody how I feel makeup is best used - a tool to become who you want to be. It's not just mascara or lip gloss, it can help you become more self confident in yourself. It can show your creativity and uniqueness, or help you blend in. To me, everytime I have a client in my chair, my goal is to make that person feel amazing about themselves... if they can look in the mirror and smile at thier reflection, if I can help them see the true beauty that they are, then I have done my job right. Beauty does come from within, but as women we should be able to change our appearance to suit what we want to see and show the world, and if I can help even a small group of women love themselves and find thier beauty, then I am satisfied.


  1. You do it, too. You are amazing. When you make me into Julian I feel so stupidly happy. :) You know how to use those brushes and pigments and that artistic eye of yours to bring beauty (and roguishness). I love it. You are a star and a great encourager. Thanks for bringing me into the scene. I am so lucky to know you.

  2. Thank you so much for this post Vivienne. Your story reminds me a lot of where mine seems to be going, it's very inspiring.

    If you ever have a few minutes, I did an Anthropological study of Burlesque and the Creation of Identity a few years back that you might resonate with. It can be viewed here:

    Stay glamourous as usual!