An 8-year-old boy named Ethan realized one of his dreams this week when a MAC cosmetics artist taught him the art of drag makeup.
Florida makeup artist Joey Killmeyer has worked in the makeup industry for the better part of 15 years, having honed his skill-set in the likes of the Miss America pageant. When Ethan and his mother walked into the MAC store, he told Killmeyer that he wanted to learn how to do makeup like he had seen on the Internet through various YouTube videos, such as Jeffree Star's makeup tutorials.
"When Ethan and his mom, Season, came into the store, I felt an immediate connection," Killmeyer told The Huffington Post. "He reminded me of myself at that age. It touched my heart that I was able to help him learn what he wanted to know."
Ethan's mom, Season Wilwert, told The Huffington Post that she hoped her openness with her son's creative desires would inspire other parents to embrace the unique qualities of their own children.
"Children need to be loved unconditionally, nurtured and encouraged to discover themselves through their true talents and passions," she said. "By doing so, and receiving the necessary support from parents, they are building confidence and security in who they are. We as parents should be our child's biggest cheerleader."
Killmeyer told The Huffington Post that he painted half of Ethan's face, and then Ethan replicated the steps on the other side. "I was so touched by his mom and that she was allowing him to do this," he said. "He also wants to learn to do makeup on others. He thought learning to do makeup on himself that it may be easier to do on others... It is about being creative, having fun and being yourself. And that is what Ethan's mom is letting him do."
Ethan's mom told The Huffington Post that she hopes people will break out of their binary thinking when it comes to gender, and instead see gender expression as a spectrum.
"Society needs to steer away from what is typically known as the gender roles and stereotypes and accept the fact that it's OK for a boy to wear makeup to express himself as an artist," the mom said. "This does not define his gender identity nor his sexual preference. He's just exploring and being a kid! Being judgmental and close-minded on such issues not only is hurtful to our children, but it also inhibits their freedom of self-expression and prevents the opportunity for them to embrace their true identities."
Thanks for being you, Ethan. We think you look stunning.
Also on HuffPost:
How will Donald Trump’s first 100 days impact YOU? Subscribe, choose the community that you most identify with or want to learn more about and we’ll send you the news that matters most once a week throughout Trump’s first 100 days in office. Learn more