UPDATE: Feb. 22, 2010 9:00 AM - SFGN has learned that this event has been cancelled.
Miss Veronica Vera is out to feminize the world—one man at a time.
Vera, who founded Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to be Girls in New York City, will appear in Fort Lauderdale next weekend at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, a component of the museum’s glamorous Edward Steichen photographic exhibition.
Vera, a GG (genetic girl) who was also a model for Robert Mapplethorpe, founded her academy in 1992 as a way to finance a book on her own sexplorations. The school’s website is flirty and fun, but Vera thinks of herself as a nurturer to the men who come to her.
“I think I encourage people to explore and I hold their hands through this exploration,” says Vera. “It can be a little scary and they can feel very alone. I believe in creating a supportive environment for people and I believe in people’s right to explore who they are.”
Vera’s appearance at the museum came about through her association with Roberto Santiago, the museum’s director of communications and strategic marketing. Fifteen years ago, Santiago was a contributing editor for Time Out New York Magazine.
“It just wasn’t a magazine story assignment,” says Santiago. “As a heterosexual man, I did it as a means to broaden my understanding of women by literally becoming one for a day.”
Santiago says the idea of being transformed was threatening to him at first.
“Miss Vera’s transformation course turned out to be an amazing educational experience into the female process of fashion, beauty, glamour; made me examine long-held prejudices,” Santiago says. “I also learned that my counter-part, Roberta, would likely be a stern, matronly lesbian who stays at home with her cats—the kind of woman that men stand at attention when she walks into a room, and never wolf-whistle at.”
Vera’s school features classes in make-up application, manicures and pedicures, corset training, understanding the female body and walking in high heels, just to name a few. The high heels class became so popular that it is now offered to straight women as well.
Her museum appearances will include two workshops: Amazing Grace: How to Walk, Sit and Pose in High Heels; and Cross-dress for Success: A Transformation Salon for Men and Women on Saturday, Feb. 27. Advance registration is required.
Vera will be accompanied by her partner Stu, aka Misty Madison. Yep, Vera has been romantically involved with a cross-dresser for two years. They met at a party—he overheard her telling some women about the school and he told her about his cross-dressing, a declaration she found refreshing.
“Our relationship adds a whole element to my education as to what it’s like to be the partner of a cross-dresser,” says Vera. “There’s a balance in the amount of time he’s Misty and the amount of time he’s Stu, and it works for me. And he knows how to do his own make-up, which is very important.”
To purchase tickets for Miss Veronica Vera’s workshops, visit www.moafl.org. For more information about Miss Veronica Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to be Girls, visit MissVera.com.