Andrew Fitzsimons Uses Beauty for Transgender Activism
Our lives are largely dictated by how we see ourselves, and how we see ourselves is influenced in large part by how others see us. That’s why external transformations can have such a powerful effect on the psyche and change the way we walk through this world. That’s something that Andrew Fitzsimons knows from his daily work in the beauty industry and something he’s hoping to use as a tool for change with TEEP (Transgender Economic Empowerment Project) and the LGBTQ center in Los Angeles.
“Beyond it being a program to help trans women feel confident, what I want to focus on and bring attention to is the gender non-conforming community,” Andrew tells V Magazine. “Coming from the beauty industry, being able to see people express themselves however they choose to, and it isn’t only makeup or hair, but it is about self-care and being your own authentic self.”
Few communities in the US are as vulnerable as the trans community. They face undue discrimination and intense scrutiny just stepping out their doors while they try to live their lives. It can often feel like a daily battle. But by offering the opportunity to lift members of the community up, even through beauty, the effect can be magnanimous.
“I felt like creating a program where myself and my peers (beauty professionals, celebrities, editors) would be able to pool our resources," Andrew says. "We live in an age where cosmetics are one of the biggest industries and we get sent so many products we don’t even know what to do with. So I said 'I’m a feminist, I would love to first and foremost help women.' There was a community of women and non-conforming people that don’t have access to a lot of self-care products. I wanted to built a bridge between the beauty community with a beautiful, vibrant, and growing community and build a bridge not only for beauty professionals to donate and conduct an act of service, but [also] to open up a conversation about why an organization like TEEP exists and why there is a need to help the trans community. Self-esteem plays such a big role in people’s lives and people feeling like their most authentic selves.”
Sometimes the most powerful thing an ally can do for a marginalized group is to speak up and lend a helping hand. That’s exactly what Andrew Fitzsimons is doing with TEEP and the LGBTQ center.
For more information, check out the piece in V Magazine.
Photographs by Greg Swales.
Andrew Fitzsimons and the Beauty of Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham represents a lot of hope. In February, Ashley was a cover model for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, showing a diversity of body shape that was unprecedented for the magazine and proving that beauty is more than a narrow definition. But after the insane press of that moment subsided, the model has relaxed back into the daily work of being a model and most recently has a sultry shoot with Elle proving that there’s a sexy swimsuit out there for everyone. The Swimsuits for All designs are beautiful, but they brought Andrew Fitzsimons in to make sure Ashley's hair was on par with everything else.
Andrew had to walk a fine line in this shoot, helping to present a woman who is beautifully put together but also taking an afternoon by the side of a pool. In every shot there’s body and grace, but he also includes just the right amount of texture for it to feel effortless and a tiny but worn in. Real. The hair signals to us that we're being given only a pause in a moment of time, making the poses feel like we're catching a blink of a beautiful woman by the pool who just happens to be Ashley Graham.
Andrew Fitzsimons Makes the Flawless Effortless
In NBC’s Blindspot, actress Jaimie Alexander is covered from head to toe in mysterious tattoos that hint to a mysterious past that engulfs everyone around her. In her regular life, Alexander only has a few tattoos, a bareness of skin that she credits to her career as an actor; if she did anything else she’d be covered in them. Instead, her tools of self-expression are a look, her body language, and how she uses her own God-given assets like her hair, styled in a shoot for InStyle's latest issue by Andrew Fitzsimons.
Andrew and Alexander have been working together for a while and have established a rapport that allows Andrew to help the actress express herself. Alexander’s skin is boldly bare and her shape naturally shows strong, smooth lines so Andrew brings texture and movement in her coif. A still and pensive nature is underlined by the energy in her hair that seems at once effortless and flawless. For a woman who has chosen to be a clean slate to represent any character she's tasked with, she still has space to be herself, and Andrew Fitzsimons is there to help make it happen.
Andrew Fitzsimons Is on Message for The Editorialist
Hair Stylists and Makeup Artists help us put our best feet forward. They highlight our best qualities and help to downplay our less flattering angles. If they do it well, their efforts disappear into flawless ease. But a lot of work goes into making it appear totally natural, and for Andrew Fitzsimons’ latest with The Editorialist, he gives a look behind the curtain. The piece was a feature on makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic, but it was Andrew’s hair styling that was crucial to understanding the message.
In the images photographed by Derek Kettela, we get a behind the scenes look at how contouring works. Each layer of color has to be applied before a face is finished and in each photo the models are in varying levels of “readiness.” Since the makeup is in process, it’s Andrew’s styling that tells us where the models are in their development of being ready. Whether it's one model with a polished silky wave and pin straight part (that Andrew has made popular in his frequent work with the Kardashian and Jenner sisters), or a model with a wilder up-do that tells us she’s not quite red carpet ready, Andrew’s hair styling delivers the story we need to know by giving us just the right amount of information with the model’s hair. It’s all about delivering the information we're hungry for, and Andrew is perfectly on message.