My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr


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My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

Director of Photography Ava Benjamin Shorr he has worked on revolutionary shows and movies – including Data discovery, which discusses in detail the Hollywood portrayal of transgender people. Here she shares the secret of shiny skin and what she learned about her native expression …

My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

Documentary Data discovery is remarkable. I have watched it many times. How did it feel to work on this project?
During the interview, my jaw would just open up, because of the beautiful stories that transgender people told. As a trans person, it was difficult for me to find my history because it is not actually in the media and is not taught in schools. It is mostly just transmitted from person to person. To uncover the data, we interviewed trans creatives and thinkers about the Hollywood portrayal of transgender people and how it affected the community. We recorded all the interviews in small series and it was amazing – I had to meet my heroes.

My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

How was it for you to tell stories about trans people?
It was an emotional project. You are often asked as a DP to study the psychological aspects of the characters – that’s where the light and framing choices come from. But in this project, all the emotions were in front of us. It was a pretty intense journey to find out how some of my own transphobia was established, as well as how the media and Hollywood created generations of transphobic people in Western society. I would get memories of my childhood shame.

My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

What did your own trip look like?
I first felt something different around the age of seven or eight. I felt like I woke up from a haze and regained consciousness. Around 11 or 12 I started dressing a lot and I did it privately probably for about 10 years. No one in the family caught me, but the closest I came was alone while I was looking after my brother, and my parents came home, and my mom said, ‘Are you wearing mascara?’ And I said, “No …” I thought I washed it all. After that, I was really careful not to get caught.

How did you find out more about your identity?
Because of the internet, around the age of 14, I started to realize that there are trans people, but I didn’t consider myself one of them. In the early 2000s, many things on the internet were hyper-feminized with pink butterfly gifs. I said, ‘If this is a trance, this is not me.’ Instead, I said, ‘Oh, look at that cool punk girl over there.’ I loved alternative cultures and basketball and skateboarding. Transness and those things never merged into one man I could see. But in my late teens I saw more trans women who were gender variant and a little more like me. I slowly began to abandon this idea that I was not a trance. When I was 24, I started to change.

How did you feel?
I’ve been on hormones for the last seven years and have had bottom surgery, but I still wake up every day with dysphoria around my body. It’s a constant struggle to feel comfortable in my own skin. But I know it’s a journey and I think sometimes it’s healthy to think about how we’d always want to change something and that’s okay.

My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

Who were your role models in beauty as you grew up?
My eyes were constantly collecting all those images, styles and clothing options. They were getting into a big disturbed brain that didn’t know how to handle it all. I was pretty lost. Andreja Pejić it meant a lot to me. When she became a big model, she made both men’s and women’s clothing, and people portrayed her as a man, but she was very androgynous. I remember thinking she was interesting because she wasn’t a sexual object – she was more of a cultural figure. I also think it’s important to share how much I owe to blacks and trans women. Every day I learn from them how to be powerful and how to love myself. Trans women in color have laid a great foundation for the rights and freedoms I have today as a trans person.

My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

What is your morning routine?
I wake up very early. I took on this crazy addiction to this card game called Magic: Gathering, so I will sometimes play online in the morning. I do my skin care routine and then I have a double kick of Starbucks before I start posting.

My beauty uniform: Ava Benjamin Shorr

What skin care products do you swear by?
My serum is the holy grail COSRX advanced snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.

What about snail essence? I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately.
It’s one of the most hydrating serums I’ve used; and with about $ 25, it’s one of the cheapest I’ve found. I live in LA where it is really dry and this helps me save my skin. My face will look so vibrant and shiny. Then, for a moisturizer, I love the way Dermalogica Intense moisture balance it makes my skin feel. For sunscreen I love EltaMD.

Do you have a distinctive scent?
I have two. It’s the first Soulmates Roll On Perfume. I’m almost out and I don’t want to use it anymore because it smells so good. Then a friend gave me a the scent of roll-on vanilla from Whole Foods, which I also love. I’ve spent so much money on scents, and one of my favorites is $ 10 from Whole Foods!

Ava Benjamin Shorr

What is your philosophy of beauty?
Individualization is a big part of culture and all people want to do to decorate is something to celebrate. I think we are only now beginning to accept individual beauty in all its forms. Taking control of my own body was the most powerful and positive thing I have ever done.

Thank you very much, Ava!!

PS Three transgender kids share their stories i “small gay house” tour.

(Photos by: Ava Benjamin Shorr / Instagram i Queer Review.)

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