My name is Alexandra Michelle Forbes. Of course, that’s not my real name; it’s the one I picked for my alter ego who I chose to manifest as now and then. In 2006, I picked “Andrea” as a name in order to set up a Flickr account. “Michelle Forbes” was a name I had recently seen—an actress on Battlestar Galactica, as I recall. I have since changed the first name to Alexandra, as that has always been a personal favorite.

A few months ago, I published an article that went into when I became a crossdresser, why I do it, and how it evolved over time to resonate as more of an art form. Today’s article elaborates on this idea further, serving as an introduction to an ongoing series dedicated to perpetuating this art form. I’m hopeful they will provide you with ideas on the technical aspects and serve as inspiration in achieving your own look.

Crossdressing as an art form is not commonly discussed. Typically, the focus is on crossdressing as a stage of gender dysphoria or a type of sexual fetish. I think crossdressing represents a diverse range of male expressions, which in some instances can reveal gender dysphoria but usually doesn’t. Given my own experience and many discussions over the years with fellow crossdressers, I’ve formed an opinion that crossdressing is very common, usually sexual in its genesis, and for many, it becomes something more deeply satisfying.

For me, it evolved from a sexual fetish to a kind of performance art, a means to use my body to superficially reflect an ideal female form to the best of my ability. In a tongue-in-cheek manner, I like to refer to this as The Craft as “crossdressing” just isn’t descriptive enough.

In a way, “Alex” is a label for a character. It represents a body of work, an artistic adventure with a complicated beginning and uncertain future. When I dress en femme, it is an exercise in artistic expression that is skin deep. My objective is not to become a woman or even pass myself off as one when in public, but to use my body as a canvas. It complements my other forms of artistic expression, including drawing, painting, sculpture, and scale models.

I feel I am probably like most artists in that I consciously observe and study my surroundings, taking mental notes. As a crossdresser, this means I study women, specifically their manner, style, makeup, and hairstyles. As a heterosexual male, I also see beauty in the female form and appreciate the same attributes of a woman that all superficial males hold in high regard. All of this comes together, over time, to produce an archetype, a mental model of what I want to look like.

When executing a particular look, the most important thing I consider is in remaining true to myself. By that I mean, Alex’s persona is not one of a fantasy girl; rather, it reflects my personality and preferences. I also like to explore new looks within an envelope of comfort, perhaps in a similar way as in trying new paint colors or entirely new media.

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It’s been just over 15 years since I started practicing The Craft in a serious way. Before 2006, I dabbled. Since that time, I’ve made lots of mistakes but mostly I’ve learned how to achieve a convincing look through my practice. In the articles that follow, I’ll be taking a particular aspect of the artform and discussing the inspiration, technical execution, and desired outcome. I will also highlight makeup challenges, wardrobe malfunctions, and failed experiments, always in the context of self-improvement and, frankly, with a sense of humor because this thing I do can be quite funny at times.

I’m also interested to know what you are thinking about and welcome your suggestions for article topics. I look forward to the questions you may have about The Craft. Although I have some transgender friends, I can’t really weigh in on transgender-related matters, as I don’t have any direct experience with the subject.

To start things off, my next article will focus on the total package, the big picture: What is the look I’m seeking to achieve and why?

I’m off to buy some Craft supplies… be back soon!

More Articles by Alexandra Forbes

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Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 month ago

I have also referred to the idea that I am not this body but it is my canvas as well to decorate in which ever way I choose. I decorate it with the many things I find beautiful, fun, expressive and colorful, such as nails, make up and clothes. All too often we take life so seriously that it becomes less fun; I am an expressive, creative being decorating my body to reflect what ever character I feel like being in the moment. Am I transgender? I don’t know, I do know that being playful with dressing fun has freed… Read more »

Ruby O’Shea
Duchess
8 days ago
Reply to  Char

Whoa Char! Exactly, my dear, beyond expression. Yet so well expressed. Thank you! Big hugs Ruby

Michelle Jamison
Ambassador
Active Member
1 month ago

Wow. Totally blown away by this article. So many good points and questions to ponder. I would ask how we gravitate to the style we show and how does that reflect our ” inner feminine self”?

Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Awe Thaaanks Michelle, I agree with what Alexandra wrote below, and add, I’m not sure I “gravitate” towards a “style” as much as the style evolves as I evolve and
dis – cover what it is emerging from within me if that makes sense?

I think I am simply exploring how to decorate my body in such a way that it looks as close to how I see me, under my skin as possible.

Does that help dear? Thaaaank you so much for asking great questions Hon, I am grateful.

Huggles for you Michelle
Namaste’
Char

Emily Frances
Member
1 month ago

considering myself and many others like me I would say that Alexandra is in a very slim minority. most of us really have a deep seated desire to be a woman and therefore emulate women as we dress up. many of us may describe crossdressing as an on again off again activity but if they are true to themselves they would admit to a strong desire to be a woman

Marie Chandler
Baroness
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Frances

I don’t believe Alexandra is in the minority at all. Since joining CDH, I’ve personally noticed that we tend to fall into two general camps. Those of us who are comfortable with our gender, but love to express our feminine selves through crossdressing and those of us who are transgendered or on a path to coming to terms with the fact that they are transgendered. I agree with Alex, it doesn’t matter what motivates us. What matters is that we respect, encourage and support our sisters.

Sophe Satin
Duchess
1 month ago
Reply to  Marie Chandler

these things are as varied as each of us has our own feelings bubbling to the surface , personally i want to be both genders integrated that would be the highest acheivement .

Marie Chandler
Baroness
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Sophe Satin

Well said, Sophe. To be clear, gender is a complicated and varied thing with many shades and I hope I didn’t come across as being too rigid with my observation.

Sophe Satin
Duchess
1 month ago
Reply to  Marie Chandler

Magic ,
art and illusion .

Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Sophe Satin

…aaaaand a whole lot of fun once we reax into it hahaha   

Sophe Satin
Duchess
1 month ago
Reply to  Marie Chandler

we are the evolution .

Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Sophe Satin

hahaha When I was a young teen, I was walking alng a road to school and recall saying out loud; “I don’t want be a “boy or a girl” I want to be both…and here I Am hehehe
 Thanks Sophe, I wish you magic dear soul
Namaste’
n huggles for you
Char

Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Marie Chandler

I agree Chandler, above all else, respect and support for self And others as we all find our way along this very interesting path hehehe
Namaste’
n huggles Hon, thank you
Char

Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Frances

Thankyou for saying Emily; I don’t know the statistics on that or if there are any, but I believe its certainly an individual experience. I dress full time now and I’m using a supplement to help create breasts but I don’t change my voice; I think I am both masculine And femanin, not one or,,make sense Hon?
Thank you for this Emily
Namaste’
n huggles for you dear
Char

Sophe Satin
Duchess
1 month ago
Reply to  Char

a blend .

Char
Ambassador
Trusted Member
28 days ago
Reply to  Sophe Satin

Yep, exactly, I remember walking to school at around 12 or 24 years old and saying out loud, “I don’t want to be a boy or a girl, I want to be right down the middle, why should we have to choose one OR when we can choose both? lol
So I choose both because I am lol
Namaste’ dear n huggles
Char

T.J. Byron
Duchess
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Alex… I found your article interesting…since my wife and I have an Instructional School for just what you discuss…The “ART” of CDing. I have always seen this ” hobby” as a form of artistic expression. Of course…paint, brushes, fabrics, textures, colors, with jewled earrings bouncing in constantly moving forms. Oh yes, an art form for sure. I have written a syllabus for my clients/ art students. No need to take notes in class ( usually 2-3 days). The wife, a Westmores of Hollywood grad, MUA. Color analysis offered to everyone. Wigs, of all appropriate colors and arrangements. Yep, definitely an… Read more »

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Gabriela Romani
Managing Ambassador
Active Member
1 month ago

Hi Alexandra. It is very nice when we can get to learn more about others and see some common aspects and some of the differences as well.

I look forward to your next articles!

Gabriela

Christine V
Active Member
1 month ago

Very well spoken, I see crossdressing as a form of art too!

Marie Chandler
Baroness
Trusted Member
1 month ago

Nicely written, Alex. I look forward to the series. I definitely feel a kinship with you when it comes to The Craft. Art and artistic expression have always played an important role in my life, both personally and professionally. Crossdressing is a way to express my femme self, but it’s also a hobby that lets me explore the intersection of art, photography, makeup and fashion. All things I love! It’s funny, I think back to my teen years. I was deeply interested in fashion photography and my girlfriend at the time was my go-to model. These days, I get to… Read more »

Tina Munda
1 month ago

I see it also as an art form
well said !

Julie Clarke
1 month ago

You are a superb writer, and, as always, you never fail with such perceptive analysis of this thing we do. To keep this brief….YES, it is a form of art.

Ruby O’Shea
Duchess
8 days ago

Your last two articles combined, Alexandra, are a treasure of human insight…

Your discussion of cross dressing as a Personal art form is stunning as well as necessary for us to realize how richly therapeutic our lives increasingly become.

And your piece discussing archetype is rich with meaning for each of us on many personal levels.

Your articles combined light up the entire psychic spectrum of the many ways our sense of well-being is enriched as cd-ers.

To me what you have done for us is an amazing accomplishment. thank you… And big hugs ruby

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