Why Ovens Don’t Like Wigs!

If you wear a wig like Inésita, then let me pass on a tip. But first, allow me to mention that the curtains fell on a seven-year project in December 2011, when Inésita closed her 'Dressing Room' door.

When she began filling its Wardrobe in autumn 2004, the aim then had simply been to get the most out of the apparel her new-found freedom allowed her to buy. But rather than let her clothes gather dust, she sought to experiment and document the most viable 'streetwear.' She did this using a video camera and a makeshift photo studio, along with a few beats to soundtrack the occasion.

What began as a bit of narcissistic fun became a labour intensive undertaking, resulting not only in 20 completed modeling shoots, but a website built around Inésita's ‘Dressing Room’ - her costume database. Every filming session would run from 10-7pm and lasted between 2 and 4 days. The results required around 10 hours to play back and the same again to sift through the best costumes. Then into ‘The Dressing Room’ they went. That itself was the culmination of a half-dozen Saturdays or so, preparing what came to be known as the ‘film script.’

I'll go out on a limb and say nothing like this has ever been attempted before. In the May 2004 issue (No.46) of the UK’s transvestite’s semi-annual, TV Repartee, a transvestite named Leah True published an article on self-portraiture, in which she offered modeling and photographic tips. This inspired Inésita to develop this website, while eventually Leah went on to host slideshows and galleries at hers.

But realistically the only enterprise that I could imagine undertaking the cataloguing of literally tens of thousands of modeling shots would surely have to be the fashion houses or their retail outlets. For example, Stella McCartney, FCUK or someone like tallgirls.co.uk: those places responsible for designing for and shooting top models in new season’s collections.

I contacted a dozen or so to verify this assumption. Somewhat surprisingly, none were available for comment.

So what’s next for Inésita? With the wardrobe now bulging, she plans to take her 1100 or so outfits out on the road. After all, with three years worth of costumes it makes perfect sense, especially since Inésita firmly believes the best way to raise awareness to cross-dressers is to hit the high street.

So far feedback has been largely positive. One gentleman approached Inésita in Vienna desperate to get her number, another gave a silent nod of approval. Some choose to dog whistle, but there have been more serious enquiries, with Inésita invited to moderate and facilitate workshops.

But the labour of love doesn’t stop there. As any librarian will tell you, the devil is in the detail, and so long winter nights lie ahead backdating many older costume entries and retagging film shoot ‘takes.’ In time this will ensure the image collection becomes a greater resource to website visitors. 

But back to hairpieces!

A synthetic wig’s ‘operating instructions’ discourages its use near ovens, saunas and grills… Inésita happened to overlook this important advice until she looked in the mirror following a long day’s film preparation, and yes, a spot of cooking. Alas, the fringe was singed leaving the hairpiece looking less ‘Victoria Beckham’ and more, dare I say it, like pubic hair – just days before my last ever photo shoot!

As luck would have it, the oven took away what Inésita probably never would have, resulting in a wig that no longer renders ‘a blind eye.’ Thankfully a good hairdresser fixed the worst of the damage, so the whole episode turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

But see for yourself whether you can spot the difference: visit The Dressing Room and search for '2011', where you will retrieve the results of Inésita’s last filming. Then search for '2010' and let Inésita know which year you think she looks better!