Last month we ended our 2018 Eye Candy run with a Sexy Legs Champion. So to start 2019, we knew we had to do something big and we did not disappoint. All of us here at Glamour Boutique was so excited when Amanda Richards volunteered to be an Eye Candy Girl and we jumped at the chance to start our 2019 with her. Some of you may know Amanda as she has made quite a name for herself in the tri-state area as one of the premier makeover artists in the CD and Trans community over the last 15 years. Her True Colors studio is a haven for girls looking to glam up and show off. Amanda took some time from her very busy schedule to sit down with us and share her story.
Hi Amanda. Thank you so much for taking some time to talk to us. Let’s get right to it. Can you tell everyone where are you from?
I spent the first 22 years of my life in eastern Iowa. My life in Iowa was not on a farm, but rather in a small city. I had a very normal upbringing. I graduated from The University of Iowa in 1978.
After graduation, I moved to Chicago, Illinois for a corporate job. That job then took me to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and finally to central New Jersey. I have since moved to eastern Pennsylvania, and have lived here for the past 27 years.
For the past 15 years, I have had my own business True Colors Makeup Artistry. I am a professional makeup artist and photographer.
How did you come up with your Femme name?
I spent the first 15 years of my femme life bouncing back and forth between various names that took my fancy. None of them really seemed to fit though. In 1987 or thereabouts, my fiancé, soon to be my wife, and I sat down with a baby name book. I was preparing to attend support groups for the first time and felt that I should have a proper name. We searched for names that would represent my Celtic and Nordic heritage. After a couple of sessions we decided upon Amanda, and subsequently the last name Richards.
It was a very special shared experience, for us.
When did you first start dressing and how did it come about?
In the course of my work at True Colors, I have heard all sorts of first time dressing stories. Many of which have fascinating details, and circumstances. My own experience was a bit less fascinating or dramatic.
Growing up I lived with my parents and my younger sister. My father worked, and my sister had a lot of extracurricular activities that my mother would take her to after school. Around 1969 at the age of 13, I found myself at home alone after school one day. My sister’s clothes, as was often the case, were strewn about her room. On that particular day, for reasons still a mystery to me, I decided that it would be fun or a good idea to try them on. I don’t remember what I tried on. I don’t recall ever having thoughts of doing so before that moment. From that day on though, wearing her, and my mother’s clothes, makeup, and my mother’s wigs became a very frequent occurrence.
How often do you dress?
There was a time that I dressed about 4 times each month. This was prior to opening True Colors Makeup Artistry. These days my dressing is limited to about 1 or 2 times per month. I find that whenever there is an occasion to go out, a dinner, a party or whatever, I am usually busy getting other girls ready to go. I absolutely love my work, and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it has cut into my Amanda time a good bit.
You mentioned earlier that you are married. Are you able to share Amanda with your wife?
Yes. I have been happily married for 30 years now. I made the decision to tell my wife about my dressing early on in our dating relationship. It was after about a month or so of dating. Her initial reaction was to say ” hmmm.. let me think about it”. About a week or so later she asked if I had any pictures of myself dressed. Of course, I did.. lots, and lots of pictures! She looked through some of those with me. Her reaction was positive saying I looked nice. A little later on she asked if she could see me dressed. From that time on it has been an open subject in our lives. She has accompanied me to various events over the years. We do not incorporate my dressing into our day to day lives. I am content to go out when I can. I could not ask for a more supportive partner in life.
What are some of your favorite outfits/fashions?
I have a very large wardrobe and an entire studio of additional wardrobe at my disposal. My choices are generally pretty mainstream. I try to dress for the occasion. If I’m going out to dinner I wear a nice pants outfit or cocktail dress. If the event is more formal, I will often wear a gown or a cocktail dress. For the mall or just out and about you will most likely find me in jeans, and a top.
I try to dress in an age-appropriate manner trending a few years younger than my actual age. My skirts are usually knee-length, or midi these days. Mini skirts are fun, but not really appropriate for me. That of course, doesn’t mean you will never find me in one.. a girl has to let loose once in a while.
I favor tops and dresses that are a scoop, or v-neck allowing me to show a bit of décolletage. Sleeveless, long or 3/4 sleeves are all in my wardrobe. I generally stay away from a cap or short sleeves as they can place undue emphasis on my upper arms.
Stockings or pantyhose?
For me, it’s really situational at this point. My go-to is pantyhose. I wear them because they feel good, and cover the bruises and scars I’ve accumulated over the years. I do love the feel of a quality garter belt, and stockings though, and wear them on occasion. If the weather is warm, and I can pull it off, you just might find me out with bare legs.
Heels or flats?
Years ago, it was always 3-4″ heels. Never went out in anything else. In the past few years, I have discovered flats and ballet slippers. They are comfortable and allow me to move in a very free, and feminine manner. For evenings I will still favor 3″ heels.
Go to accessories for a night out
A stylish, and practical bag with enough room for my wallet, ID, cell phone, and of course a small makeup kit for touchups. These items along with a sense of confidence, and adventure paired with a smile get me through any evening.
Favorite places to go when dressed?
I am as comfortable at the mall or a movie as I am at a club. I am able to move through life fairly easily, and really don’t place any limits on where I go. I love the theater and have seen several Broadway shows.
Who are your female role models and why?
I admire intelligent, stylish women. My wife is of course first on that list. Others would be Charlize Theron, Lauren Bacall, Michelle Obama, Christina Hendricks, and many more.
As a makeup artist, I admire all the other artists out there with their amazing skills and creativity.
Tell our readers some fun facts about yourself. Do you have any hobbies? What do you do in your spare time, either when dressing or not?
I love music and have a very eclectic collection of vinyl, CD’s, and of course digital tracks. I always have music playing. I collect wind-up toys. I am a golfer, shooting in the mid-’80s. I’m a pretty decent bowler. I’ve been in several drag shows, and if I had the time, I’d love to try making a run at competing in pageants. Don’t hold your breath on that one though lol. In 2019, I have vowed to take up the harmonica. More on that later.
Any stories you would like to share about yourself and your journey?
My journey has now spanned 5 decades. I would absolutely never have guessed way back when I put on those first clothes that I would find myself where I am today. There were many many years in the closet. My wife was only the second person I told about my dressing. She has been my rock and is the reason that I am able to be the person I am today. Her support has meant the world to me. She accepts me, loves me, and allows me to do me. I am truly a lucky individual.
If you have social media, what is the best way for others to follow you?
On Instagram, you can find me @amandarichardsmua
On Facebook, you can find me at facebook.com/amandarichardsbeauty
On FLICKR, you can find me at flickr.com/people/amandarichards
My business True Colors Makeup Artistry can be found at – www.truecolorstg.com
If you would like to send a message out there to your fellow girls or a closing statement.
Life is very short. Try to say yes to opportunity and adventure as often as you can. There are always going to be people trying to tear you down. Ignore them. Focus your energy on positive experiences and people.
A favorite quote of mine is ” If you can dream it, you can do it”. Believe in the power of your dreams!!
Well said and a great quote from a great girl! Thanks Amanda! It was such a pleasure to have you as our first Eye Candy Girl of 2019 and we can’t wait to see more amazing makeup work from you.
Amanda will be at this year’s Keystone Event in March. Be sure to say hi and that you read all about her in Eye Candy. She is already booked for that weekend, but be sure to contact her if you are in the Eastern PA area for any of your makeup needs. We promise you, you won’t be disappointed!