Hair, Hair & Identity, I'm an Original Project, Uncategorized

I’m an Original – Iris

Iris’ Illustration of Ashilyn

The creative process is all about transformation and,  at its best,  revealing hidden truths.  This month’s subject for the I’m a Original Project uniquely embodies the spirit  of both creativity and change.  Iris,  a young transgender woman,  worked with our team to bring to life her personal avatar, Ashilynn, whom she had created over many years.  Iris’ intimate and specific vision for her portrait brought with it both challenges and opportunities.   The IAO team, consisting of Photographer Carolyn McCarthy, Makeup Artist Heidi Bowden-De Meester, and Original Moxie, worked closely with Iris to build a concept that would both complement her natural beauty while channeling her more fantastical aesthetic.  The result is truly magical.

Extensions being added to Iris’ hair

Working from Iris’ drawings of her character, the team began by crafting a digital image board of possible looks, moods, and styles.  Overlaying these with Iris’ physical attributes, we ultimately focused on a cool palette with dramatic, moody sets and long, flowing lines.

Iris Before

Clip-in and braided extensions were added to Iris’ hair, leaving out her natural hair in the front and bang areas.  A temporary silver color to her natural hair to blend it    with the silvery grey and black extensions.

 

Makeup included face ornamentation to mimic Ashilynn’s under-eye markings and beautiful long lashes.  The wardrobe selected not only flattered Iris’ physique but also mimicked Ashilynn’s flowing and graceful lines.  Staying close to the spirit of her drawing without slavishly attempting to recreate it allowed us to more effectively blend her inner vision with her outer self.

Heidi Bowden De-Meester applying make up.

As with most photo shoots, the process was long and painstaking and involved a fair amount of improvisation (such as the crown Iris is wearing in her portrait, created on the spot by Original Moxie team member Sophie Waggoner).  While we all Through it all, Iris remained calm, providing feedback as to what poses and styling options she preferred.  The final set (shown below) was one she set up and directed almost entirely on her own and became one of the groups’ favorites.

Final set directed by Iris

As a transgender woman, Iris has traveled a difficult path in coming to terms with her identity and in manifesting her inner sense of self with her external appearance.  Bringing her avatar to life with the support of our artistic team allowed her to express herself in an entirely new way.  As she explains:

“I never feel more myself than when I am assuming the persona of one of my characters. When I write them, I do more than simply place words on the page–I immerse myself in their being, and their thoughts become mine. Exploring my characters has shaped so much of who I am today that I could not imagine living without them. I have poured all of my love into them, and now they complete me.  My name is Iris, and I’m an Original.”

For more information on how to book your own transformation visit http://bornoriginal.cmcphotos.com or contact Carolyn McCarthy at 734-355-6993/carolyn@cmcphotos.com.

 

Curly Hair Care, Hair & Identity, Hair Care, i'm an original, I'm an Original Project

Hair that Inspires Hope

I'm An Original - NancyI’m an Original – Nancy’s Story

Nancy P. is not someone who gives up in the face of daunting odds.   Five years ago, after detecting a lump in her breast, she didn’t accept a dismissive diagnosis that it was ‘just a cyst.’  When, thanks to the Affordable Care Act,  she was finally able to obtain a mammogram and her cancer was diagnosed, she didn’t accept the bleak prognosis that was given to her.   And throughout it all, Nancy was determined not to lose her long,  blonde hair.

From an early age, her hair played an important part of her identity, and keeping it healthy during treatment was an essential part of her strategy to survive and even thrive despite grueling bouts of radiation and chemo.    She discovered Original Moxie in 2013, shortly after her diagnosis, and credits it with helping to keep her hair throughout her treatment.    While she has experienced some dryness and breakage, most of her hair is intact and continuing to grow at a good rate.  Her favorite is the Get Clean! No-foam Shampoo, which is key in helping to keep the hair and scalp moisturized and balanced.

Nancy explains that her mother, a breast cancer survivor, and her son Joe were essential supports during the emotional and physical roller coaster of cancer treatment.  They both affirm that Nancy’s hair is integral to her sense of self and that being able to retain it  helped her to stay positive and motivated.  As she explains, “Even on chemo and other meds, at the end of the day, no one can tell that I’m battling a serious health issue.  My healthy hair shows that cancer does not define who you are or what you look like”.

Nancy with Son Joe

At one of her lowest points, Nancy discovered the Cancer Treatment Center of America, where she is currently receiving treatment.  She says it has “literally saved my life”.  It’s been five years since she first discovered her lump and, while she’s still takes oral chemotherapy medication twice a day, she says that “the results we’ve seen, according to my oncologist, are nothing short of miraculous.”

As part of our I’m an Original Project, celebrating the inspiring ‘hair-stories’ within our Original Moxie community, we gifted Nancy with a professional photo shoot at Pearl Street Studios in Ypsilanti, MI.  The experience was a powerful one for everyone involved, from hair and makeup to Photographer Carolyn McCarthy.  You can see Nancy’s emotional response to her portraits and learn more about her journey in this video.  For more information about the I’m an Original Project, visit https://www.originalmoxie.com/im-an-original/.