Photographer: Carly Wollaert ©
Make-up artist: Sharmila Vooren
“We believe it’s important to take up space and create visibility for people who are often not getting the recognition they deserve. The fact that we’re a company founded and run by a disabled trans woman shouldn’t have to be an inspiring one-in-a-million kind of story; it should become normal for us to see people, like the ones featured in this campaign, be able to achieve their dreams and see themselves represented.”
Founder of VAIN Beauty
My name is Sharmila, and I’m the founder of VAIN Beauty. I’m an Indonesian-Dutch, disabled, trans woman who at this time is 20 years old. With VAIN Beauty I strive to help people with finding products and techniques that make them feel more secure in themselves, rather than following the societal beauty standards. We provide services and accessible products for marginalized groups looking for a safer space to learn about make-up, and specifically gender affirming make-up for anyone within or outside the gender binary. At the same time, we give back to the community through donations, time, a platform, and our energy.
What or Who inspired you to pursue your chosen career?
I knew I wanted to become a make-up artist from the moment I touched my first product, but I honestly could have never made the decision to pursue my dreams if it weren’t for the phenomenal trans women who came before me and have fought their way up to success. Think about women like Laverne Cox, Dominique Jackson, Angelica Ross; all examples of trans women who have dedicated their lives to not only lifting themselves up, but also all the people around them. Trans women, especially Black and brown trans women, have been at the forefront of many liberation movements for decades and it doesn’t get acknowledged enough.