This month’s Eye Candy Girl comes to us from the other side of the world. This Aussie by way of the UK answered our request for Eye Candy volunteers. Once we saw who it was we jumped at the chance at an interview. She has been a contest in our contests over the years and just a lovely person. Let’s say hello to Tina Martini!
Hi Tina! Thanks for sitting down with us. Let’s start by telling everyone where you are from?
I’m from the UK originally but moved to Australia 20 years ago and am a dual citizen.
When did you first start dressing and how did it come about?
My goodness, I was about 12. I have four sisters and I started with their school uniforms and my mother’s undergarments. It wasn’t very glamorous I’m afraid. I came from a very conservative, religious family and there was no makeup to be had in the house, so I used poster paints (a kind of thick watercolour that was very popular back then). The red paint on my lips made them bubble up very strangely! I think it was the lack of glamour at home and the strictness of my parents, keeping me from other girls, that possibly made me want to create my own in the mirror. Once you start down that road, it’s impossible to stop!
How did you come up with your Femme name?
Oh wow that’s a story! I always played in rock bands when I was young. In the eighties I was in a very sombre band (think Joy Division, early Cure), always dressed in black, with depressing, angst ridden songs. I met up with the guys 30 years later and we decided we weren’t half bad and that we should make an album of our songs (which we still haven’t done, of course) but to hype it, we created a Facebook page for the band and a bunch of false Facebook profiles of the band’s (fictitious) followers. Those followers would then comment and post a lot of made up stuff about how good the band was, referencing (completely invented) legendary gigs, parties etc., as if we were some iconic ‘lost’ group. One character I created was a groupie who had a crush on our keyboard player. Her name was Tina Martini just because it seemed a good name for a kind of posh groupie! When I went for a makeover in early 2016, the lady who ran the business said I should have a female name and also an email address, and the first and most obvious name that came into mind was Tina Martini, because I had actually been her, so she was born for real, then and there. Her profile is still on Facebook (as well as mine) but I’ve forgotten the password!
How often do you dress?
At least once or twice a week. In fact, I regard myself as gender fluid, as I am Tina for 2 to 3 days every week. I go out, have many friends, and have just started on a career of live performance, mainly performing a David Bowie tribute act dubbed ‘Androgyne Genie’. It’s not drag, I play his songs on guitar and sing live. I’m up to 2 hours of his songs, fully learned, now.
Are you married/in a relationship? If yes, are you able to share your female self with your partner?
Yes, I am married and have been for many years. My wife is truly wonderful, an absolute angel, and has helped and encouraged me since I came out to her nearly six years ago. However, she does not want to spend time with Tina (or even see images) so Tina has a separate pad where I go for my Tina days of the week. On the one hand it’s a shame that we can’t share and indulge in this together, but on the other hand it means that I have complete freedom during ‘Tina time’, and this works very well, as I have nobody influencing how I should look except me. I was in the closet for many, many years and I am making up for lost time in my feminine experiences. In return, I try to put a lot more effort into being a good husband than I used to, so I like to think we are maybe both benefiting from it.
What are some of your favorite outfits/fashions?
Well, I am a sucker for the smart office look, skirt suits, pussy bows and the like. I always come back to it. I also love androgynous looks very much, and of course that goes with my Bowie act. Period outfits too, pretty Brolita looks, I love variety. I am always fixating on something new to dress up in! I did a latex shoot recently, and it looks amazing, but it’s not easy getting in and out of outfits and can get very hot and tiring, so not the most practical material to wear.
Stockings or pantyhose?
Stockings for me, with sexy suspenders! But when I go out I usually wear pantyhose as they are more practical – and help to hold everything in place!
Heels or flats?
Heels, every time, but if I am out I always have a pair of ballet flats in my bag in case my poor tootsies can’t deal with the walk home. To me, flats just take away all the sexiness and elegance that you get with heels. And nine out of ten times, my heels are stilettos, so slim and flattering for legs.
Favorite places to go when dressed?
Well, just round the corner from my wee apartment is the LGBTQI centre of town, so I often go to the pubs and bars there, all within walking distance. Also another bohemian part of town where some of my friends live. I also like to go out to mainstream bars and hotels for dinner or drinks with friends, or to the main mall in the upmarket centre of town for a bit of shopping. I used to travel to Europe a lot with my job, so have been out in London quite a few times, whether daytime for shopping, or nights out, and in a couple of European cities.
Go to accessories for a night out
Black studded leather handbag that can hold my ballet flats and a load more ‘toot’, including a hairbrush and my selfie light. Big dangly or hooped earrings – no point in earrings if they get hidden by a wig! Silver rings (and other white metals of course). I prefer silver to gold, although that also depends on what I’m wearing.
Who is/are your female role model(s) and why?
Well, I always liked Joan Collins, not because of her personality or beliefs (the latter are actually probably diametrically opposite to mine) but her eighties looks, especially in Dynasty, were amazing and peerless. I’d love to get a few outfits and wigs like hers and do a ‘Joanie’ shoot. I’m going to attempt a Princess Diana shoot in the new year…. again, not because I’m a royalist, but just because her looks were iconic in their time (and still are).
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?
Well, my Bowie act above. I also have a rock chick act where I perform everything from Britney Spears and Katy Perry to sixties music – anything where I can put a trans slant on the lyrics and make it fun, for example ‘Womanizer’ and ‘I Kissed a Girl’ by the aforementioned, or ‘I’m a Boy’ by the Who. I have quite a few guitars and used to be a songwriter and even once won a global award. I am also mad about nature and have travelled to many countries for nature treks, as well as observing a lot locally and throughout Australia. I’m very worried about what we are doing to our environment and I contribute to causes which can reverse or slow down the destruction. Mind you, that’s not such a ‘fun’ fact, is it? Other facts: I’m retired, after a 44 year professional career, I love sport, especially supporting my football team in England and my Aussie Rules Football team. I keep very fit, and look after my skin: I think both are essential if you want to portray youthful feminine looks.
Any stories you would like to share about yourself and your journey?
Here’s one, and I think some of your readers will be familiar with this and have similar stories. In 2012, after too many years to mention seeing their adverts in the seedier pages towards the back of UK tabloid newspapers (in particular a pen and ink type drawing of a man in a suit and bowler hat next to a stunning woman, designed to portray a miraculous transformation), I finally plucked up enough courage to visit a dressing service in London (probably the only one at the time, so they had a captive audience). In fact, it was the same trip I was on when I had my band reunion. The place was unimaginably seedy, and the women doing the makeover clearly regarded it as some kind of chore, rather than having any empathy with their customers. There seemed to be a lot of clothes to choose from, but when you took into account all the shapes and sizes men come in, the choice was actually meagre. I settled on a kind of business look (what else) with a grey skirt suit, a frilly white blouse and black patent stiletto pumps (which I could hardly move in, although now I would find it easy). They took one single polaroid photo of me in the stairwell, which was not very flattering, to say the least. And it cost me a fair chunk of cash to do all this. After that, I resolved that I could never look good as a girl, and I carried the photo around with me to remind me and help to contain the urge. After I came out to my wife, I told her the story, and she said that she once found the photo in my briefcase and took it that I was having an affair with a very unattractive woman!
If you have social media, what is the best way for others to follow you?
Well, I’m very easy to find on Facebook or Instagram. If you want a lot of photos, I put them all on Flickr. In fact, I checked my stats the other day and found that I have had over 70 million views of my pics, having set up my page in 2016. That is a mindblowing number! I also have a website, www.tinamartini.com , where you can get a lot more descriptive and intimate information, and it’s attractively set out, although with less frequent updates.
Before we go, would you like to send a message to your fellow girls out there or a closing statement.
Yes, three things: look after your own well being, and support your fellow tgirls, and especially transgender folks. We all deserve basic respect in this world. And, if you are having to ‘come out’, be very gentle with those you love and who love you. They probably didn’t choose to be with a girl (even a part time one), they chose the man, and just as you have a choice, they have the choice to accept or reject you, or any level in between. There will be an equilibrium somewhere, and you will need to accept that, even if it means separating for good. Selfishness is destructive. Living an authentic and respectful life isn’t always easy.
Well said Tina! Thanks for sitting down with us and we know we speak for our readers that we look forward to seeing more of you in the future.
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