This month’s eye candy – Vanessa Carr
This month’s Eye Candy Girl is someone we met recently who is a very active member of the New Orleans LGBTQ community and has some amazing stories to share. Let’s get right to it and meet Vanessa Carr!
Hi Vanessa. Thank you so much for sitting down with us.
Why don’t we start things off by telling our readers where you’re from?
I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana, Born and Raised.
When did you first start dressing and how did it come about?
For as long as I can remember I was fascinated by the women’s underwear ads in our local newspaper. The feminine form, the outline of their bodies, and the pretty colors the models wore was mesmerizing. I remember trying on my Moms underthings as early as 14 years old. I’m sure it was the feeling of the delicate material and the colourful patterns, but I was also attracted to them because it was what women wore.
Once I had tried on a few items I was hooked. I wanted more time with them and wanted my own.
How did you come up with your Femme name?
The first femme name I chose was Joan; mostly because it was my male name with the exception of one letter. (Juan)
I was thinking even back then when I changed my name it would be easier to just change one letter. That name never felt quite right to me. And I kept searching for the right name that I felt better suited me. In 1983 Vanessa Williams became the first Black Miss America. She was also wrapped in controversy as pictures of her in an erotic nature were made public. This caused scandal and embarrassment that led to her having to give up her title as Miss America. I remember thinking this is the kind of embarrassment I will feel when my family and friends find out about my desire to dress as a girl. Vanessa Williams did not hide, or act shameful, instead she reinvented herself and took full advantage of her fame to launch a singing career, and eventually an acting career. Seeing her overcome the pains of losing her title and then rise like a phoenix to be empowered caused me to admire her. I wanted to feel strong like her and hoped I could rise above any “embarrassment” of others finding out about me. It took me many years but I eventually came out to everyone in my life, which helps me feel my name was appropriate.
How often do you dress?
LOL, a better question is how often do I not. I represent as my femme self about 50 percent of the time now. I am currently a working Musician in New Orleans performing as my femme self. I also produce Drag Shows and Drag Brunches in New Orleans. Now many of my family, friends and co-workers know about Vanessa and several have come to see me perform. I still work in male clothing. I live in a somewhat conservative neighbourhood but I’m sure my neighbours had seen me come and go as a girl, but none of them said anything. I started telling them of my Drag Shows one by one, and eventually I talked to all of them about it. I’m sure they don’t all “get it” but I’m just not going to hide myself anymore.
Are you married/in a relationship? If yes, are you able to share your female self with your partner?
I have been married for 31 years, have three grown children and am helping raise my granddaughter: The light of my life. My wife knew all about my “dressing” before we got married. It was the scariest conversation I’ve ever had. I knew I would not be able to hide my identity and I loved her too much to not tell her. She is credited with my coming out to my children and friends. She once told me, hiding my dressing makes it seem like it’s something bad. She told me to just be myself. This was one of the most powerful statements I’d heard, and I felt like I needed to bring my identity into the light, and not hide it anymore like I was ashamed of it. The truth is, I was ashamed of it for a long time. I had come to accept it but was still ashamed of it. Coming out was the scariest but most powerful journey of my life.
We know you are active in the New Orleans LGBTQ community. Can you tell us more about that?
I hold two titles; Miss Louisiana Leatherette 2016 and Miss New Orleans Pride 2016. I competed in these pageants to create a platform of Peace and Inclusion in our local LGBT community. I am currently on the PFLAG board of directors, serving as the show producer for the WHIV radio show Expanding The Rainbow. We have produced shows to fundraise for LGBT Veterans, to help fill food pantries and for local agencies that help create safe spaces for Trans Women and Men. Prior to COVID we produced Drag Queen Story Time at our local library, where we read books on diversity and inclusion to children. Contrary to some belief, we do not have a “Gay Agenda” for our Story Time.
I have also participated in the Longview Gardens Family Day event three years in support of families with LGBT children. Prior to COVID we produced an all age Drag Show that allowed parents of LGBT children to attend together. We instituted a Q&A in the show that became very informative and created dialogue between audience members and some of the families in attendance.
What are some of your favorite outfits/fashions?
I love short tight dresses and wear them on my shows often. LOL. But I do try to dress age appropriate for everyday wear. I also love to wear gowns, so I’d say they are my favorite.
Stockings or pantyhose?
Heels or flats?
Heels, always. Unless I’m walking the streets of the French Quarter. They are hard to navigate in heels.
Favorite places to go when dressed?
I still love our New Orleans nightlife. I love going to our show bars, and restaurants.
If I had to pick a favorite it would be dining out in the French Quarter.
Go to accessories for a night out
Always earrings, rings and bracelets. A nice fashionable purse and my hand fan (picture Geisha fan) and I’m out the door. P.S… A lady always wears a light fragrance.
Who is/are your female role model(s) and why?
I was raised by very strong women that were intelligent, funny and very feminine. I still carry my fan with me because my Grandmother did. My Mother was a great example of a woman, along with many of my aunts. My wife is a Lady, and also very passionate. I’ve learned much about how to walk and move from her. They are my role models because they taught, and teach me how to be gentle but strong, delicate, feminine, smart, and independent. But also to strive to be better tomorrow, than I am today.
Tell us some fun facts about yourself. What are your hobbies (either when dressed or not), likes, things you do in your spare time, or anything else you would like to share?
I indulge myself by participating in chat rooms. The conversations can be quite titillating, and fun. But they can also be sexist and demeaning. So I tend to bring some realism into the conversation by giving a feminist view of some topics. It can be fun to be flirted with, but not so much to get unsolicited D*** Pics. LOL.
About Myself, my journey has evolved to a wonderful enlightenment that occasionally washes over me filling me with joys of femininity.
I started as a boy that enjoyed the feeling of panties on my skin and developed into a woman that enjoys the delicate nature of my femme side and the rich emotions the woman inside me possesses. I love nurturing my body, and my spirit by celebrating my femininity with pretty things, and everyday validations of my femme self. I enjoy putting nail polish on, moisturizing my face and skin, shopping, having tea with the ladies, self-care, and meeting others on similar journeys of fluid identity. I have given myself permission to feel like a woman, walk like a woman, talk like a woman, and just Be a woman.
Any stories you would like to share about yourself and your journey?
I am a musician. I play guitar and sing as a one woman show. I play classic rock, new rock, country, funk, and originals. I had performed at a New Orleans bar called The Golden Lantern for about a year when the owner decided to promote all shows he would hire a photographer to shoot all the entertainers for an ad campaign. I was still not very good with my makeup, so he asked one of the girls to “Help Vanessa.” LOL.
I don’t think I was horrible, but I didn’t know how to do my makeup for the harsh stage lighting and really wanted to know how to correctly do makeup. One of the Drag Queens stepped up and set a time with me about two hours before the photo shoot. Backstage, she started working on my raw face and I was immediately amazed by the time she took just prepping my skin. She then started with a foundation that was much better than what I had been using. It was much smoother and totally hid all skin flaws.
Then she started with contouring and highlighting my face, which accentuated the feminine shape of my face and lessened the masculine features. I was lost in the process, not understanding what she was doing so I stopped her and asked if she would explain to me what, and why she was doing the steps she had done. She halted the process and with much patience, started explaining every step she had done. She then began explaining every step she took in detail. At first glance it looked like way too much makeup was being applied to my face, but I trusted her and gave into the process. At points I looked like an over-painted clown. LOL. I asked a lot of questions about the products and how to apply and she answered every question in detail. She was very focused on detail, and I learned just how much time should be spent on the process. One of the final steps was putting false eyelashes on me. She said they were small lashes but felt heavy on my eyes due to it being my first-time wearing lashes. I had always only used mascara.
When she was almost done, she turned me away from the mirror and started blending all of what she had done in the now two-Hour process. She sprayed a finishing spray on my face and then took her hand fan and said, “now bitch, don’t you cry” and turned me around to face the mirror. As I took a deep breath and looked at myself in the mirror, I felt my emotions well up inside me. Choking back my words I struggled to say, “I look beautiful.” It was the first time in my life I saw Vanessa beautiful.
I have since learned makeup, padding, fashion, gestures, heels or flats, each of our journeys are personal. None of us should compare our journey, or appearance to other girls. Each of us are valid and special. What is the perfect feminine look and feel depends on the girl feeling it. So, I no longer judge my makeup, or gender expression by another’s. I have learned to respect each girl’s journey as theirs alone, and should be respected.
I still look on that makeup, photo session as a wonderful experience, and a gift of beauty from a now dear friend.
If you have social media, what is the best way for others to follow you?
I have a public facebook account – https://www.facebook.com/nolacd.facheauxdw
I can also be found at my website – www.vanessacarrpresents.com
Before we go, would you like to send a message to your fellow girls out there or a closing statement?
There are so many things I’d like to say to the Girls. I think it is important to find a support group of other Girls. It is so important to know you are not alone. You can learn a lot from other girls that are more experienced in makeup, hair, clothing, and gestures from your friends. You may also find one of the greatest gifts our femininity offers is the joy of the special kind of friendship women share with each other. Share your stories about going out for the first time, or why you have not done so, or why you love the clothing you wear, or even sports. You will find common ground with many girls like you if you just reach out.
Go to outings and events, such as the ones being held all over the country for CD’s, Trans Identity, and Fluid Identity folks. Don’t be ashamed of who we are. Be the best girl you can be and don’t get caught up in “Passing.” Don’t be afraid to enjoy expressing your femininity.
Lastly my wish for all the Girls is that we find normalcy in what we do. That we all get to know the feeling of joy in our expression of femininity and that we have the freedom to be ourselves.
Thanks so much Vanessa! We look forward to seeing what you do next…
Would you like to share your story and become an Eye Candy Girl?