DDPro initiative creates safe space for transgender and non-binary people
For many within the trans and non-binary community, beauty, art, fashion, and creation are integral parts of self-discovery and expression. The first understanding of some people of their gender is achieved through makeup and hair. And for others, beauty is crucial for survival because it allows us to escape our sometimes unwanted realities. As it exists now, beauty is more than an outlet for self-determination; in the online arena, beauty helps find and build community. These connections have led to unfathomable career opportunities in today’s industry, whether as an associate at Sephora or as a behind-the-scenes glamor team in Hollywood. The presence of trans people in the beauty industry continues to grow.
Beauty has far surpassed escape and capitalism; countless beauty artists apply their talents towards the greater good, advocating for issues of social justice, often with messages painted directly onto their faces.
Matt Bernstein’s sweeping looks have informed thousands of people with smart posts about the LGBTQIA + community, and those posts have educated the masses about the anti-trans political crisis shaping the country. It’s fair to say that beauty activists and the beauty industry are contributing to the acceptance of the LGBTQIA + community.
Yet even amid mainstream support, growing anti-trans legislation targeting trans healthcare and trans athletes has left most of the trans community depressed.
Last year, 44 trans people were murdered, setting a record for the highest number of deaths recorded since 2013. Meanwhile, as 2021 looms exceed last year’s victims, trans people, especially trans youth, find themselves targeted by anti-trans legislation across the country. More than two dozen states are trying to block trans people to practice sports compatible with their gender identity or to receive health care that affirms their gender.
If we’ve learned anything from the past four years under Trump, we know that the intentional possibility of misinformation by public figures and politicians is dangerous. Disastrous consequences are expected to unfold as these bills and anti-trans rhetoric continue to gain momentum. The trans community is preparing for violence, especially against trans youth.
Yet while we are all on high alert, some of us are creating shelters to protect others in the community. By standing up for each other, trans people find ways to elevate themselves and support themselves through inclusive sports leagues, health care, art, or by creating secure common spaces dedicated to trans-inclusive beauty.
Industry creators Deja, an Emmy nominated makeup artist, and celebrity hairstylist Dee, combined their skills to create such a space. Together, the duo launched DDPro, a concierge space where glam is created, security asserted and where the most marginalized of the trans community have access to a production team and a studio that supports their creative endeavors.
Deja and Dee are well seasoned in their areas of expertise. Both worked with a friend Laverne Cox since Orange is the new blackfirst press conference of. They have long championed trans inclusiveness in their work, working with well-known organizations and brands to run multiple cross-centric campaigns. In 2019, DDPro produced a 10-page broadcast with Gay Times magazine, “They Power,” which highlighted various non-binary creations and showcased their work and production capabilities to the world. Most recently, Deja was nominated for Best Makeup in the FX TV series Pose at the Emmys.
Deja and Dee are social activists and are strong advocates for marginalized people; DDPro is an extension of their social justice work. “Social justice and giving back to marginalized communities is a driving force behind our creative endeavors. Our aesthetic sits at the intersection of fashion, art, genre and performance, which continually influence our dynamic team.
Deja and Dee are working diligently to reallocate their resources, especially towards trans, non-binary, ethnically diverse, and queer community-focused projects. Trans people who use beauty to support and validate other trans people are not unusual; it has long been a form of collective support within the community. DDPro continues this tradition, as the two experts extend their creative expertise to a community often grappling with the harsh realities caused by endemic transphobia.
There is no better time or need than now for DDPro, its resources and its opportunities for trans people across the spectrum. The LGBTQIA + community, many of whom suffer from anxiety and depression due to the aforementioned circumstances, find that these feelings are amplified by the onset of a pandemic that has doubly affected their lives. Income.
Trans and non-binary people already face disproportionate discrimination when look for a job, and for LGBTQIA creatives or gig workers, their income has almost faded away due to the pandemic. Financial and emotional turmoil has turned the lives of most of the trans community upside down. DDPro’s affordable structure is a necessary asset, especially for a community that continues to be financially vulnerable as the pandemic continues. Deja and Dee aim to elevate young queer and transgender creatives towards entrepreneurship and planning for success, with the goal of helping to develop the socio-economic development of talented trans people on the margins. “As a team, our philosophy is to challenge and disrupt the exclusive beauty paradigm while creating safe spaces for inclusion on camera as well as behind the scenes. We love to push the boundaries. We tailor our services to the person, not the trend. They do so in an environment established to reaffirm trans people and their existence, while also helping to produce stories and spark dialogues that thwart the transphobic lies that currently plague our politics.
The DDPro space allows the duo to work with clients one-on-one, creatively consult with organizations and brands, and create new work in a comfortable and safe environment. The menu includes a start-up studio, options for the production team, professional makeup and hairstyling services, image consulting, a photo studio, and skill-building workshops. Their studio is outfitted with backdrops and lighting for the shoots, a salon with separate hair and makeup stations, as well as an endless roster of photographers, videographers and crew members connected with the shoot. . DDPro’s studio can be rented in its entirety or in part for small-scale photo and video shoots, or even just for auto-cassette auditions. And while Dee and Deja focus on the emotional and physical safety of customers, they also ensure secure installations from viruses by implementing television production level protocols.
DDPro and DDProStudio offer a glimmer of hope for those, like me, who feel overwhelmed by the relentless waves of political harassment. Dee and Deja are eager to create avenues that foster truthful and humanizing conversations about trans people. Yet, more importantly, they hope their space serves as a cohesive affirmation of other trans people and their existence through beauty. “When it comes to the impact of DDPro behind the scenes, we pride ourselves on creating an experience. “
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