Make Up 2 Make Up

Be the change you wish to see in the world (Mahatma Gandhi)

Report 2009

Day 1: The search for a new location starts. In the Cruiseaids building, where some of the LGBTI people work, a room has become available. The material from last year has “vanished”… From the individual supplies they received, only the scissors seem to have survived. We try to get the group back together. It turns out that they have already spoken amongst themselves to take the course seriously, to be punctual and clear about the classes.


Day 2 to 9: The training. We practice all kinds of basic hairstyling and make up techniques. The group functions best when devided into two levels. It becomes clear quickly who has been practicing and who has not. It is a real challenge to get some kind of structure in the classes because they are very impatient and have a lot of difficulties concentrating. They want to do everything within seconds, not realising it takes time and practice to learn. That’s the lesson they learn in the following days. There is a slow but clear evolution. They learn to look at pictures and to analyse how things are done. An exercise in fantasywork goes completely crazy. There is a lot of dicussion about the need to get organised and to practice more. They commit to continue practicing when I am not there.



Day 10: We make an inventory of the material and have a conversation about the need to take care of it. Responsibility is being shared. There is a suggestion to train one another and to learn how to share their knowledge with others. They promise to help each other. There is a strong request for a certificate, which I will send from home.




  • Material: Proper and decent products are not available. Everything is copied by the Chinese and locals to produce substandard versions, which complicates the teaching and learning process. Brushes, loose hair, make up is lumpy and breaks and availability is very limited. Quality material needs to be imported.
  • Logistics: Shipping is very expensive. Without a sponsor it is in effect unaffordable. Shopping locally is not working very well either. So most of the material needs to go in my 20kg allowed suitcase with the risk of being fined.
  • Certificates: To get the students to work locally, they need a certificate which they receive after training or an educational program in a local school. This training is too expensive for the target group and the quality of the training is mediocre. A hairdresser training takes 12 months, same for the beauticians. The emphasis is also on the caring aspect and not on the make up which is a neccessity.
  • High expectations from the students often creates frustration and misunderstanding, but nothing that a good conversation can’t resolve. Trying to be clear is always a good thing but very often not the easy way out.
  • The climate and spicy food creates sweaty faces and makes working with make up extra complicated.
  • Poverty, chaos and corruption.



  • The most important aim for the coming period is to find a solution for the certificates. There is a necessity to start a non profit organization to get funding. This would deliver proper training and certification.
  • Better training is available in Delhi, India, where language is not really an issue and the training is better and more complete. The products available are also more suited to their body and face types then what I bring with me. They are also closer to Bollywood with its film and make up industry. This is a great working option for the transgender people in a more liberal environment.
  • Training takes 6 to 12 months and will cost € 2.500,- per person, plus an air ticket and housing. There is a possibility to work together with BDS (Blue Diamond Society) and Mr Sunil Pants (first openly gay member of parliament in Nepal), who is willing to help.
  • The group who participated in two seminars so far definitely have this option and are highly motivated.