Happy Birthday to my Spiritual Son, Andrew, and my Magical Daughter, Angel Electra

The picture here is of Andrew Pentecost, both as himself and as his drag persona, Angel Electra. This was a fun project we did a while back, using two images in one photo to tell a love story. I particularly like this photo. I think it captures a moment that can be typical in relationships. One person is totally engrossed in something that has nothing to do with the other person. The other person is curious as to what could possibly be more interesting than them, and secretly looks on to see.

Andrew and I have a very special mother/son relationship. We are alike in so many ways, and frequently serve as each other’s therapist. I never really wanted to have children, but as I have gotten to know Andrew, I realize that if I had, he would have been the perfect son for me. I love him dearly.

Today is Andrew’s birthday, so I’m thinking of him. Professionally, Andrew is a makeup artist, and a very good one. He can take anyone and make them into their most beautiful self. I have spent many hours watching him change himself to Angel. Such a process. I honestly have no idea how many photos I’ve taken of him. He is a fascinating subject to photograph, because he truly becomes another person as a result of the makeup process. I love to photograph him as he is studying his face, applying the makeup, and doing all the other steps that go into this change. The finish is always flawless.

I have also watched him do makeup on many women for photos I was about to take. The results never cease to amaze me. My approach to making up my own face (and the faces of others I am photographing if Andrew isn’t there to help) has radically changed because of what I’ve learned from him. Andrew is an artist in so many different ways. He is also a great teacher. Knowing him has enriched my life, and brought out a maternal side of me that I enjoy expressing. I know that we will always be connected, no matter where our different paths may take us.

Makeup. A Tribute to a Friend

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Makeup.
A Tribute to a Friend.

I have always loved makeup. Unless my face is painted, I’d rather not see you. My fascination with makeup started with a box of Maybellene mascara when I was twelve. But I never really knew how to appreciate the true artistry of makeup until Andrew Pentecost crossed my path.

Andrew and I met when he came to my house to turn Arnold Myint into Suzy Wong for one of my jewelry ads. What fun to use a guy in drag for one of my ads! He and I clicked, and shortly thereafter he started doing the makeup for all my ads and became one of my closest friends. I loved watching him paint the faces of my models. Some of the transformations were as amazing as Arnold to Suzy. And of course, I had him paint my own face time and time again. He always took a while, but the time spent was well worth it. I reached a point where every time I knew I was going to see Andrew I would try very hard to duplicate the things I had seen him do. I would wait for him to notice my makeup and compliment my work. And because he is such a sweetie, he usually did. He and I spent a lot of time together and started to feel a kind of mom/son bond. There wasn’t a week that we didn’t get together for lunch or dinner. I loved for him to stop by on his way to work for some home cooking, too. When Fred and I went out of town he moved in and took care of our house and Pinky. He and I could always let our hair down and share how we were feeling about whatever was going on in our lives.

He had told me he occasionally liked to do drag himself, just for fun. I suppose when you are that fabulous it is hard to limit your self-expression to just one gender. I finally saw him on stage at Play and I literally did not recognize him in his alter-ego character, Angel Electra. Blew me away. Since then I have taken several pictures of Andrew as Angel. The one I have included here is my personal favorite.

He is a master at his craft, whether he is literally changing gender before my eyes or just making a pretty woman into a drop-dead gorgeous one. Because he is so extremely talented it is exciting to see where his career will take him. I guess I knew he would not always be hanging around helping me find the perfect shade of lipstick, or making me look totally fabulous for a big event. Recently Andrew got a very good job with Bare Minerals and has moved to Indianapolis. I’m sure this is a step for him towards reaching the top of his profession. I’m going to miss him very much. I am also sure that we will stay in touch. I know that he is one of those friends that no matter how long since you’ve seen them when you get together it is like no time has passed. And each day when I sit down to paint my face, I will think about Andrew. Every lipstick color reminds me of him. Especially MAC Hot Tahiti. He was right all long, it is the perfect red.