Entertainment

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.

The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”

While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality. 

Credit: @equalityfed / Twitter

While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through a GoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background. 

“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.” 

But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”

For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this. 

While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community. 

As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people. 

That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth. 

They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity. 

“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”

READ: Our FIERCE Readers Share Some of the Most Outrageous Lies They’ve Told To Get Some Time Away With Their Boo

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Madonna’s Daughter Lourdes Embraces Natural Body Hair In Beautiful Selfie With Mom

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Madonna’s Daughter Lourdes Embraces Natural Body Hair In Beautiful Selfie With Mom

Grooming habits should be a matter of personal choice, but thanks to generations of the patriarchy telling women how they should look, what they should wear, and how they should take care of their bodies, that isn’t always the case. Thankfully, more and more brave women are embracing their natural beauty and that includes their own body hair.

Lourdes Leon showing off her natural arm pit hair is the normalization of body hair we all need.

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A post shared by Madonna (@madonna)

Whether it’s on the red carpet or in a photo with her mom, Madonna, Lourdes Leon has a relationship with her body hair we can all admire. For instance, he two posed for a rare selfie on April 10, and Leon’s natural look moved us another step closer to normalizing visible body hair.

The sweet image is captioned: “Like Pieces of your Heart Walking around outside of you #lola.”

‘Lola’ is the nickname of Madonna’s eldest child, whom she shares with Cuban personal trainer-actor Carlos Leon.

The fashion icon’s post has received more than 440,000 ‘likes’ with many fans praising her daughter’s decision to embrace her natural body hair – with comments including “two beautiful, strong women” and “beautiful mother with her gorgeous daughter.”

Leon has never been shy about embracing her natural beauty.

Her mother has pushed beauty boundaries for decades, so it makes sense the 24-year-old model would choose to do the same. In November 2018, Lourdes generated headlines when she showed off her unshaved armpits and legs on the red carpet at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Gala, just weeks after she turned heads for the same reason on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.

Earlier this year, in February, she also showed off a glimpse of armpit hair in a new fashion campaign for Marc Jacobs. 

It seems that Lourdes may even have been inspired by her famous mom when it comes to ditching the razor. Speaking to Harper’s Bazaar in 2010, the singer said: “Going to high school, I saw how popular girls had to behave to get the boys. I knew I couldn’t fit into that.

“So I decided to do the opposite. I refused to wear makeup, to have a hairstyle. I refused to shave. I had hairy armpits.”

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Kid Cudi Wore A Dress To Pay Tribute To Kurt Cobain During SNL Appearance

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Kid Cudi Wore A Dress To Pay Tribute To Kurt Cobain During SNL Appearance

There’s no doubt that SNL has been the stage of some pretty groundbreaking performances and fashion moments. This past weekend was no different. While appearing as the late-night show’s musical guest the 37-year-old rapper of Mexican-American descent wore outfits a la late Nirvana rocker, Kurt Cobain.

Kid Cudi’s made a pretty big retro fashion statement for his Saturday Night Live musical performances this weekend.

For his first performance, which featured his song “Tequila Shots,” Cudi wore a t-shirt featuring the image of a late SNL cast member Chris Farley. Farley died in 1997 at age 33 from an overdose of cocaine and morphine. Over the shirt, Cudi wore a green cardigan, which many Twitter users were quick to note resembled one Kurt Cobain wore.

Cobain died by suicide in 1994.

During his performance of “Sad People,” Kid Cudi changed into a floral dress, which he confirmed in a tweet was in honor of Cobain.

Cudi’s took place on the same week of the anniversary of Cobain’s death, which occured on April 5.

“Virgil [Abloh] designed the dress for me,” Kid Cudi explained about the dress. “I told him I wanted to show love to Kurt w a floral print sundress and this man-made a masterpiece.”

Cudi also shared that he intends to collaborate with Abloh on his fashion label Off-White. The dress will be included.

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