By Dan Coles
A make up artist has opened the world’s first academy to teach trans women how to perfect their make up, fashion choices and even how to speak in a more feminine tone.
Born Studios, in Whitefield, Manchester, was opened by Paul Heaton, 50, from Manchester, with an aim to offer specialised lessons for transgender women on how to dress, speak and style themselves.
The school offers three different classes, one of which helps people learn how to change their town of voice to fit the gender they have become. A second offers makeup tutorials, and a third is helping clients find a dress sense to fit their new gender.
The classes range from £35 to £100 per session, and range between one to three-hour sessions or even full and half day experiences.
One client, Abi Giles 29, a biomedical scientist, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, has undertaken each lesson to asses how much help these lessons can give people and why she thinks they’re a great way to help with confidence when changing genders.
Paul said: “The studio came about when I was trained by a trans makeup artist, who taught me how to do feminisation makeup.
“After a bit of research, I noticed that at the time there wasn’t anywhere offering this type of service to trans people.
“It’s not for everyone, some people like to explore their new dress and makeup style privately, but for the people that want a safe place to explore how they want to look and sound then we’re here.
“Often, I’ll be the first person my clients have come out to about who they really are, and I think it’s really important to let them take the lead.
“You don’t have to use every service, this place is designed to be a safe studio to start small on your personal journey into womanhood.
Abi added: “This is a great place to come for trans people, it’s a really welcoming experience.
“Usually when I come here it’s for makeup, and I think they fit my needs more than a mainstream salon would.
“The makeup is really useful because they know how to make me look how I want before even I maybe know myself.
“I can see how the styling lessons would be great for anyone who’s looking for tips.
“I can certainly see why people take voice coaching, it helps them become the gender they are and its clever because it’s something that you don’t think about but would make a huge difference.
“I have been going to Born Studio for the past three years whenever I have a major event and they always do an incredible job.
“The confidence angle is the most important part, Paul brings you to a really peaceful area where you just immediately feel comfortable.
“Everybody has the option of how they want to spend their money, this service is for people who want to use it and the effects are amazing. “
Born studio has been running for four years and offers a mixture of different services for trans women who want to increase their femininity without having to speak to mainstream salons that may not understand their personal situation.
Paul said: “We try to cater for trans women in any way they wish, whether it’s a makeover, a shopping trip, or voice lessons.
“Everyone is different, and they all want a different service, so we try to help ion any way we can.
Lesson cost between £30 and £100, depending on which service you decide to use.
Paul said: “It would cost £35 for a makeover, or £100 for a three-hour session for makeup training and would usually take about four sessions to teach the process.
“The fashion lessons cost £50 for a half day, and the voice coaching is £45 per hour. “
Abi said: “For anyone looking for help in gaining confidence in any aspect of being female after deciding to transition, I would highly recommend a place like Born, it’s somewhere that you can openly talk about your feelings and you know you’re in safe hands.”