Friday, November 19, 2010


It’s the middle of November, where has 2010 gone? On these oh-so-long winter nights, I tend to feel somewhat disoriented. Though my clock says it’s 6:30, because it gets dark so quickly, I feel like it’s already 10:00pm! I feel all paranoid, like I’m gonna get into full-on hibernation mode, and just eat and sleep my nights away. To avoid that, I start looking for “year end” tasks to tackle.

Usually, these are little things I’ve let slide during the past months, and haven’t been able to get to during the commotion-and constant travel- of spring and summer Dance Festival Season. Things like finally unpacking and cleaning out all my gig bags, organizing a CD shelf, throwing away outdated, stale make-up, sewing hooks on costumes, and getting a jump on sorting my tax receipts. Feeling a mild sense of accomplishment, I then move onto lists… holiday card lists, lists of presents, and lists of things I want to accomplish in the next year.

Though it may sound a little overly sentimental, since Thanksgiving is approaching, I made a Dance List of everything I am thankful for.

Dancing literally changed my life. On top of the “usual” benefits, like giving me a strong, toned, flexible body, the emotional and spiritual impact dancing has had upon me is so significant, I can hardly put it into words. In my writing, I am usually a confirmed abuser of the exclamation point, but the amount of punctuation I would need to apply in this case is boundless, so I will spare you.

From the age of three, I wanted to dance, but for many reasons ( the foremost being a ballet teacher who rejected me at an early age because my feet were flat ) dancing wasn’t in the cards for me until I had already reached adulthood.

Maybe I had a karmic debt to pay, maybe my life just unfolded the way it was supposed to, but I came to belly dancing fairly late in life, after the age of thirty. Though I still sometimes wish I had been able to study dance since childhood, I no longer feel robbed, or the regret I used to experience about not having been a life-long dancer; now I am just thrilled with the way things turned out!

Mere months after I began belly dancing-almost as a lark- my life did a full 360 degree turn-around. Instead of picking my body ( and it’s individual parts) to pieces by visually and physically comparing myself to unrealistic and “ideal” images in the media, I began to love my body for the way it looked while I was dancing. Soon, that sentiment morphed into simply loving my body. As I developed more skill, I began to be grateful for what my body could do.

Dancing also helped me quit some very self-destructive behaviors I had for decades: substance abuse and an eating disorder. A hardcore bulimic for years, my love of dancing helped me cultivate a healthy relationship with food…and need I tell you that it’s impossible to dance for hours with a hangover or while high? Suddenly, I had a choice to make and I picked dancing over controlled substances.

Dancing helped me get through-and over- a painful divorce. The feminine energy and sisterhood I felt with other dancers was healing and gace me hope. I see this theme repeated with many other dancers, and I hope I can pass this feeling on to others.

Belly dancing also lead me to other forms of dance, and I am eternally grateful. It’s what directly lead to my career in burlesque, not to mention studying and performing other types of dance as well, like jazz, ballet, Bollywood, samba, contemporary, hip-hop and many other genres. Whenever my schedule ( or my creaky ole body) allows, I try to take other dance classes.

Dancing has also allowed me to meet hundreds of incredible, beautiful, intelligent and talented women the world over that I may never have met normally during the course of my everyday life. Through dancing, I have made life-long friends with many strong women of all ages, shapes and sizes who are veritable super-heroines; they are strong and giving, driven, and usually very witty to boot. I have met dancers who are emergency room nurses, teachers, criminal attorneys, children’s advocates, speech therapists, accountants, trauma counselors, ranchers, authors, film festival curators, architects, coal miners, political activists, rock stars, explosives technicians, police women, sitcom actors, college professors with PhD’s… not to mention mothers, grandmothers and even great-grandmothers…and all of them are serious dancers!

I am thankful that I live in a country where women are free to dress as they please, to dance for joy-or professionally if they choose- and where dancing is considered an art-form.

Every day I give thanks that dancing, something I have always done sheerly for love is also what I do for work, and how I make a living. I never take this for granted, sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure my life is real. When I walked into my first belly dancing class, if anyone would have told me that within a fairly short time I was going to turn professional-not to mention have a career twenty years later- I would’ve laughed so uproariously, the walls of the studio would’ve blown apart!

My dance career – my performing and teaching- has taken me all over the globe and I have loved every moment of it. It was a far-fetched wish, and that wish came true. The only thing I might add here ( and believe me, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek!) is the old adage about “being careful what you wish for”. Had I known that my wish was actually going to come true, I probably would’ve added in a clause allowing me to have a luggage valet and a personal massage therapist travel with me!

I am so thankful for all the wonderful women who have sponsored me to teach and perform. Sponsors are super-human, and in addition to paying for my travel, feeding me, housing me and fulfilling my backstage requests, and staying up til the wee hours talking shop, many of them have also gone wa-a-a-ay above and beyond the call of duty. They have taken me sight-seeing, brought me to amazing shows, given me gorgeous gifts, taken me hot-tubbing, booked me massages- even brought me to the emergency room, or dealt with my tearful grief when I was thousands of miles away from home and my beloved kitten disappeared. You ladies know who you are, thank you so very much! In general, my sponsors have gone so far out of their out of their way to make me feel comfortable when I am on the road, I cannot thank them enough; most of them have become life-long friends.

I am very grateful for my teachers and dance-mentors, women who were dancing professionally long before I even started to dance…all of whom were very generous with sharing their knowledge of not only technique, but also practical application, not to mention costuming ideas, crowd-control skills and career- building know-how.

My students, whether on-going pupils or one-time workshop attendees, make me feel such gratitude, I can’t even verbalize it. I learn something new from them every day.

I would like to thank "the audience" too- where would any dancer be without you? There is almost nothing more fulfilling than hearing an appreciative audience and seeing smiling faces in a darkened theater, just ask any performer!

Last but not least, I also gotta say that I am so very grateful for having a job that has the best, most amazing “uniform” EVER- what could be better than a blinged-out costume?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Okay, I've finally hit bottom and now I have to admit: I'm powerless over my addiction to beauty products.

I buy them compulsively, use them frequently, and, like many other women, I hoard them. But the real problem is that I eat them. You name a product; it's a pretty safe bet that I've tasted it. I’ve eaten everything from hand lotion to Clinique's Turn Around Cream, from Vicks Vap-O-Rub to Coppertone's Cocoa Tanning Butter - which I wouldn't recommend, it left my tongue numb for over an hour. In the '70s, I would literally drink Love's Roll-On Kissing Gloss by popping the rolling ball out of the glass tube and sucking out the gloppy gloss. To me, it was better than ambrosia!

I've tried every flavor, I mean, scent, of Victoria's Secret Luxurious Hand and Body Cream, my favorite being that divinely edible Pear Glace. I use that one up so fast that I've actually cut open the tubes with a scissors so I can lick out the hard-to-get remnants when the container is virtually empty. Once, at a raging party in Austin, Texas, during the South By Southwest Music Festival, I became instantaneously infamous for eating an entire package of jalapeno potato chips using Noxzema as a dip. Frantic revelers tried to stop me, erroneously thinking I'd crossed the line of sanity (not to mention socially acceptable behavior) and was doing something I'd surely regret, if not in the morning, then when I'd sobered up. WRONG! What those good Samaritans failed to realize was that I knew exactly what I was doing, and the fact is a jar of Noxzema is the perfect foil for jalapeno potato chips. It’s cool, refreshing minty taste was just what those hotter-then-hell morsels needed!

Of course, like most glamour queens, I've made jokes about the ridiculous amount of make-ups, lotions, masques, exfoliating scrubs, and other treatments I use on a regular basis. I used tell people I got my signature look by mainlining liquid eyeliner.
But I really don't know anyone else who eats the stuff, and though I wouldn't recommend this unique and highly personal habit - maybe I should say fetish - to others, I can honestly say that it hasn't hurt me in the slightest.

This was always a dark, shameful skeleton in my, medicine chest... the fact that I was so focused on beauty products that even the mention of them sends my pulse racing. I mean, my favorite line in the film Silence of the Lambs is when the serial killer bellows,

"It puts the lotion in the basket!"

Recently, I had to admit that I was powerless over my addiction, the first step towards healing. I wanted to come clean, get it out in the open, and decided to put my cards on the (vanity) table and be upfront about everything.

The man in my life uses a Japanese hair pomade stick called Tancho, with an utterly intoxicating lavender scent. Not only am I obsessed with him, the smell of his hair drives me bonkers. In moments of high passion, I'd take a quick sniff behind his ear and be driven into a frenzy of desire. Soon, having located the source of my pleasure in his bathroom, I'd lock myself in, grab the Tancho, and hold it under my nose, inhaling its heavenly aroma. A few days of that and it just wasn't enough. I began actually wiping it on the end of my nose so I could smell it all day. In a dizzy downwards spiral, it was just a matter of time until I began eating Tancho, furtively scraping the waxy substance off the top of the stick, taking great care and making sure to smooth the surface so my boyfriend wouldn't catch on to the fact that I was devouring his hair pomade.

Alas, one day, I was caught in the act. Incredulous, he demanded to know what I was doing. In a scenario almost identical to the one at the party in Austin, I tried to explain that for ages I'd been eating all manner of beauty products, but he looked at me dubiously, with a mixture of pity and suspicion, the way you'd regard any common street junkie.

Trying to sound rational yet no doubt appearing completely insane, I gave him the history of my cosmetic consuming obsession, which dates back to early childhood… I guess it all started when I was about eleven years old.

My family lived in New England, where the winters are brutal and chapped lips are a problem. Ever vigilant, my mother armed us all with Chapstick. What she didn't realize, however, was that Chapstick freezes in your pocket when you're out all day sledding and making snow forts. The paraffin becomes so cold and stiff it actually does nothing to prevent your lips from becoming more chapped and cracked. At that point, I hadn't realized that either. So one day, when I lost my Chapstick and told my mom, she replaced it with Sea & Ski Lip Balm, in Orange Mint. Now, Chapstick, in those days, wasn't flavored, so not only was the Sea & Ski Orange Mint a pleasant novelty, but it also had a different, slicker formula - it didn't freeze. It remained soft, even in sub-zero weather.

I'd slather the delectable stuff on my lips, all satiny smooth, and it would smell and taste so good, I'd eat it right off. It got to the point that I'd be caking in on really thick just to taste it, then scraping it off my lips with my teeth, actually eating it.

Needless to say, the condition of my chapped lips wasn't improving. If anything, it was getting worse. One day, I just cut to the chase, rolled the entire contents up and began sucking on it like a lollipop. This was so unbearably satisfying, that unable to contain myself, I took a bite. In a matter of euphoric seconds, I'd gobbled up the entire thing. Of course, I needed more. That night at dinner, I blatantly lied to my mother and told her I'd lost my Sea & Ski. On her next trip to the grocery store, she replaced it....with Chapstick!

"But M-o-o-o-o-m," I wailed, my disappointment barely concealed, my uncontrollable urges starting to surface, "I need Sea & Ski!"

Clueless to my by-now burgeoning addiction, she replied with the practicality only a mother can muster,

"They're all the same."

End of subject.

Ever crafty, I waited what I thought was a decent number of days, jonesing the whole time, until I thought the incident would be forgotten. I once again told my mother I'd lost my Chapstick, pointedly asking for Sea & Ski. Still oblivious to my growing needs, she replaced my "lost" lip balm with- shudder to think - more flavorless, hard, dull, boring, ugly old Chapstick.

Realizing that to argue would be utterly pointless, I asked for an advance on my allowance, which was the pricey sum of a quarter a week. I figured, quite rationally, that I'd just buy the Sea & Ski myself. What I didn't realize until I stopped at the pharmacy on my way home from school was that Sea & Ski was twenty-nine cents a tube, a full four cents more than my weekly allowance. Confronted with the horrible reality of the situation, up against a wall, I made the split-second decision to take the Sea & Ski, my first foray into shoplifting.

Well, I got away with my petty crime, and also got an adrenaline rush from the danger in the act of stealing. Like most junkies, I entered the world of larceny to feed my habit. I stole all the Sea & Ski that the pharmacy had in stock, then began accompanying my mother on her weekly trips to the Grand Union or Stop' N' Shop to steal more.

Clearly, I was enslaved to my habit, eating the stuff in the bed at night, slipping into the girl's room at school to take a discreet bite between my fifth grade classes. I was completely out of control, but the sheer magnitude of the situation didn't hit me until, in one colossal embarrassing incident, I hit bottom. My mother had sent me and my two little sisters (twins, four years younger) to the Palace Theater to see Franco Zeffrelli's Romeo and Juliet. Barely twelve, I nevertheless had a handle about what was going on in the movie, but my sisters had no idea. They'd been disrupting everyone around us by asking multiple questions in rather loud voices. It was getting towards the movie's dramatic climax, when Juliet comes back to life inside the Capulet tomb and sees her beloved Romeo dead, lying on the floor. The entire theater was weeping in unison.

"WHY IS EVERYONE CRYING?" my sister Meghan practically yelled, as half the theater turned to glare at us in annoyance.

"Because it's sad," I hissed. "Now, shut up!"

"WHAT'S JULIET DOING WITH THAT KNIFE?" Meghan asked urgently, her voice rising with hysteria, desperate to know what was going on.

"Just be quiet!" I said, through gritted teeth. "I'll tell you later!"

Convinced (and rightly so) that most of the patrons were about to band together to lynch us, I decided to de-stress myself by getting a calming fix of Sea & Ski. Alas, my container was nearly empty. I could see from the flickering light of the movie screen that there was a little bit left down at the bottom, and tried to wedge my pinky down into the tube to scrape it out, but my finger wouldn't fit. Hit with a moment of inspiration, I took a bobby pin from my hair and proceeded to use it as a tool to get the rest out.

Since she couldn't understand the movie, my sister took an instant interest in my furtive actions.


"Nothing!" I stammered, horrified at being caught.

"WHAT IS THAT?" Meghan asked loudly, as nine more sobbing people turned look at us in outrage.

"It's Sea & Ski," I whispered, hoping beyond all hope that my answer would placate her, and get her to shut up.

"OH...YOU EAT IT WITH A BOBBY PIN?!?", she screamed incredulously.

Mortified, I slunk as far down into my seat as I could go. To this day, I have no idea if she was astutely trying frame me, or if she really thought that was what you did with lip balm: surreptitiously eat it with a bobby pin while watching a sad movie! I was so awash in abject humiliation that I don't even remember leaving the theater that night, or if Meghan tattled on meand my obviously perverted culinary desires. What I do know that the Romeo and Juliet incident didn't even put a dent in my habit, it simply continued.

My boyfriend took this story in stride, and, in fact, I was under the mistaken impression that he'd forgotten all about it, until about a year later. We were at a seafood restaurant with some friends and he was ordering oysters, trying to get me to indulge along with him.

"NO WAY!" I proclaimed, wrinkling my nose in distaste.

"Come on," he cajoled, "Oysters are an aphrodisiac!"

"Oysters are like snot!" I cried.
"The only reason they're considered an aphrodisiac is because if you eat them, you'd eat anything!"

For a moment, he regarded me harshly, then said,
"Oh yeah, you won't eat oysters, but you'll eat lip balm and hand lotion and hair wax!"

He went on to regale the entire table with a list of all the beauty products I've consumed. Needless to say, the burning shame I felt in the darkened movie theater visited itself upon me once again.

Well, by now, I guess you could say that I've come to terms with my addiction. I try not to devour every cream, massage oil, or facial emollient I come into contact with. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But even if I try just a little dollop, I still don't wolf down the whole jar, and even if I did, I don't beat myself up about it. I talk about my problem, and the fact that I’m powerless over my addiction. It’s no longer a dark secret I keep to myself.

I just take it one day at a time, you know?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


On stage, a dancer’s face is every bit as important as her body. As performers, it’s imperative that we convey emotion to the audience, and without a well made up “stage face”, that task is nearly impossible. I have always been adamant with my students about the importance of wearing appropriate stage make-up.

Onstage, the make-up I wear runs the gamut from Standard Stage Face to Ridiculously Over The Top Extravaganzas… yep, that means I like to pile it on, with all the bells and whistles! Of course, like most women, I enjoy playing with make-up in my “civilian” life, especially if I am going out at night. But contrary to popular belief, I don’t go overboard with cosmetics 24/7, I do give my skin a rest on days off.

Much to my amazement, even when I am wearing just a little make-up on the street or in class, people shower me with compliments on my “beautiful big eyes”, my “ exotic cat eyes” and my “bedroom eyes”. Why does this surprise me? Because, as the late magician Doug Henning was so fond of saying,

“It’s an illusion!”

Have a look at the pictures here, and you will see my eyes with and without make-up. In truth, my eyes are small. Very small. They are also narrow, almond-shaped, deeply set, extremely hooded and they actually turn down at the corners. If you want to get all scientific and official about it, my eyes have a very pronounced Epicanthic Fold…. which sounds a lot more exciting than it actually is. Read more on it here:

The Epicanthic Fold is a common genetic trait among many Asians, Eastern Europeans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders… and since I am an American Mutt with at least two if not three of those gene pools, I got hooded eyelids in spades- more than anyone else in my family, who all have big, wide peepers.

My Epicanthic Fold is so extreme that when my eyes are open, none of my eyelids visible at all…and my eyelashes actually recess back into the fold as well. On my face, the Epicanthic Fold looks almost like Asian eyes, but the area above my eyes is puffy, not flat, and always has been. People have often speculated about my ethnicity because my eyes are not an average shape.

Growing up, I suffered severe Eyelid Envy, and always wanted “normal” eyes, with big lids and cool eye sockets that made hollows under the brow bone. We always want what we don’t have, right? I flat-out HATED my eyes-and all the brutal teasing I endured in school because of them- with a passion. That is, until I discovered eye make-up. When I turned twelve, one of my mother’s theater students gave me a little tin of Mary Quant Eye Crayons and a tube of mascara… and my life changed forever. I learned, through trial and error, how to turn a “flaw” (my hooded, deep-set eyes) into an asset. Suddenly both men and women were drooling over my exotic eyes.

I got so good with make-up and wore it so consistently that once I even fooled my landlord of four years into thinking I was someone else. He came to demand the very late rent; I answered the door sans make-up, and he had no idea that I was!

“ Please tell her I stopped by”, he said, earnestly. I closed the door, amazed that he didn’t recognize me. Ah, the power of make-up!

As an adult, I realized that many women have eyes exactly like mine, or eyes that share similar traits. Out of curiosity, I recently looked up some tutorials for hooded eyes on You Tube. Yes, there are many of them, but sadly, most of the videos seem to get the make-up application all wrong. They mostly focus on creating the impression of a lid or crease, which to me just looks kind of weird. They try to “bring out” the eyelid by applying a lighter shadow there-, which might work theoretically, but is absolutely useless if your hooded eyelid recesses under your Epicanthic Fold.

There is such a dearth of information on applying make-up for eyes with this unique shape; I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks. They will make your eyes look strong and exotic onstage, and you can use fewer products and a lighter touch for an every day look as well.

If you have hooded eyes, don’t believe all the “experts” who say that dark eyeliner will make your eyes look smaller. Au contraire- dark liner, ringed around the entire eye, will actually make your small eyes look much bigger. If you don’t believe me, try this on only one of your eyes, then look in the mirror and see what a difference the dark liner makes! Don’t be afraid to play around and experiment, you will probably need a few tries before you get comfortable with it.

First of all, instead of trying to “draw the lid out” from the hood with a lighter shadow, line the entire eye with a dark color. You can use black, dark or light brown, deep blue, green or grey- the color doesn’t matter- it’s the deep richness and darkness that does.

Make sure you use a powder eye shadow and a soft thick eye shadow brush, not a sponge applicator, which tends to feel almost sharp, and doesn’t hold as much product. Get a lot of pigment on your brush, tap the brush or blow on it sharply to remove the excess powder, and line the entire upper and lower lids, working from the roots of the lashes outwards. I do this with my eye shut, working the shadow well into the lash-line. Making sure that the entire upper and lower lids are covered evenly, I then fade the dark color up above the crease onto the hood, or Epicanthic Fold, for a smoky effect.

In order to make the most of your narrow, lidless or hooded eyes don’t fight their shape; work with it, instead of against it. Trying to fake a crease will probably only make you look weirdly surprised, or like you have raccoon eyes?

Instead of trying to create the illusion of a crease, or wide-open eyes, go for extending the length of your eye. Applying the powder shadow a bit past the outer corner can do this. This can be done a few ways: by applying the shadow straight across, by adding a bit more shadow in a V-shape smudged at the outer corner, or by winging the shadow sharply upwards along your the hood of the eye for a cat-like effect.

For stage, I always use a black liquid or gel liner to intensify this lengthening effect, especially on the lower lid. Personally, I don’t always use eyeliner extended outwards on the upper lid, because on my eyes (and perhaps also on yours, depending on how hooded they are) the upper line won’t be really visible. It might work for you, though, so try it out on both top and bottom.

From the center point of my lower lid, at about the middle of the iris when I am looking straight ahead, I use my eyeliner to draw a thin straight line over the powder shadow and extending outwards, to just beyond the edge of my eye. I then take white liquid eyeliner, and draw a thin line of white just above the black liner. From up close, this looks a little strange, but from the stage, it actually tricks the audience, giving the impression of extending the whites of your eyes, making them appear much longer-and larger- than they actually are. You can also use a soft eye pencil in white (MAC makes a great one) or use some frosty or matte white powder shadow applied with a thin brush, for the same effect.

If your eyes are hooded, chances are that once you open your eyes, your natural lashes will almost disappear. For every day wear, using an eyelash curler with a few coats of mascara may help make them more visible, but for stage, false eyelashes are essential. There is nothing that highlights and frames your eyes better than faux lashes and they look lush and gorgeous.

If you have never used false eyelashes before, you may be a bit apprehensive, but once you get the hang of it, the application is simple. Many newbies tend to opt for a lash that looks natural, but if you’ve got hooded eyes, a shorter lash just won’t cut it, it will get lost as easily as your natural lashes will. It’s length and volume you’re after, so, bigger is better! That being said, if you haven’t used false eyelashes before, they may feel a bit heavy on your lids, so try a medium sized lash and work your way up to full blown drag-queen length slowly.

Most faux lashes are manufactured to be intentionally too long length-wise, so they can fit a variety of eye shapes and sizes, so trim them if you need too. The outer ends generally are longer, so trim the lash from the shorter hairs on the band, the part that will sit on the inside corner of your eye. Some faux lashes are designed especially for Asian eyes. Instead of the lashes being longer on the ends, these are longer at the center, and tapered on each end and they look terrific on hooded eyes. A friend brought me some Korean eyelashes that were shaped this way, and I wore them until they disintegrated. Unfortunately, since the label on the box was in Korean, I have no idea what they were called! Some brands available in the USA that make false lashes which are longer in the center are Japonesque and Sonia Kashuk, whose make-up line can be found at Target. You could also try hunting down lashes like this at Asian beauty supply stores, or hunting them down on the Internet.

After you’ve trimmed your lashes, roll the band of the lash around a little with your fingers to make it more pliable, so that it will conform to the shape of your lid more easily. Apply a thin band of glue to the base of the false lash, (you can do this with a toothpick, painting it on the band to avoid any big glops of glue getting onto the lashes themselves) and let the wet glue sit for at least 30 seconds, even up to a full minute or two, until it gets tacky. The brand of the glue, or the amount you put on the lash will determine how quickly it dries, as will the climate. If you are in a humid area, (or are doing your make-up in a small dressing room full of sweaty dancers) it may take a little longer to get tacky enough to use. The most common mistake most people make when applying lashes is trying to stick them on when the glue is too wet.

I recommend "DUO" lash glue in clear/white, because it holds extremely well and is also the least irritating of any brand I've used. Clear glue will dry invisibly, making any mistakes less obvious. To apply the lash, sit it on your upper eye-lid, just above your natural lash-line. Press down lightly in the middle first, and then tap the lash down lightly towards inner and outer corners. Keep your eye closed for a moment, to let the glue take hold. You may have to gently press the lash upwards, towards your brows, with the pad of your index finger. This will give a more “open” look to your eye.

Many women cut the lashes in half, and use them only from the center of the eye to the outer corner for a wide, doe-eyed effect. Also, the lashes are a little easier to apply this way, and this technique will also aid in the producing a cat-like look.

Your eyebrows are very important for expressing emotions on stage, so make sure they are accented too. I like to use a stiff, slanted eyebrow brush and powder for eyebrow shaping, and also to fill in any bare areas. Use light, feathery strokes, and follow the natural shape of your eyebrow. You can also use an eyebrow pencil, but make sure it’s sharp, and again fill in and darken up your brows with feathery, short strokes. To add a lift to my entire eye area, when I am doing make-up for the stage, I usually extend the brow upwards and outwards towards my temple at the outer edge.

Heavy brows sitting over hooded eyes tend to make them look smaller, so if you have very thick eyebrows, you may want to have them shaped by a professional.

After I’ve done my brows, I finish up by contouring the hooded area just under them. I cover the inner corner of my eyes under the brows with a powder shadow shade that is a little darker than my skin tone, or in the same color family as but a little lighter than the shade I used to lie my upper and lower lids. I then add frosty white powder shadow as a highlighter just under the brow from the middle of the eye, extending it to the outer corner. I generally tend to keep the highlight thin, because on hooded eyes, a lighter shade spread over the hooded part will only accent its puffiness more. Sometimes I add a little bit of pearly white powder shadow to the area just above the tear ducts, or inner corner of the eye. For stage, I often use a small dot of white liquid eyeliner here- again; an effect that looks kinda bizarre up close, but it really opens up the eyes (by making the whites appear bigger) for the stage.

If you’re a “hoodie” like me, take some time to play with make-up, and see what works for you. Fool around with colors, and with different techniques for shading, lining and shaping. You’ll learn to love your unique, exotic eye shape.

And who knows… maybe one day some chick with huge, round eyes with big lids and fantastic eye sockets will probably sigh in envy, telling you she wished she had your wonderful, exotic eyes!

PIX: Top:My eyes w/ a bare minimum of make-up, Epicanthic puffs in full force

Middle: My eyes w/ basic smoky make-up for stage & photos

Bottom: My eyes in full-out Farhana Extravaganza


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