Tommy Dorfman on the power of makeup and coming out as trans

Tommy Dorfman is opening up about what makeup means to her.

The “13 Reasons Why” star, who reintroduced herself as a trans woman in July, covers a special subscriber copy of InStyle’s October Beauty issue.

Dorfman discussed the magic of makeup in the accompanying interview, calling it “a powerful way to transform everything from your bone structure to how you’re viewed in the world to your own aesthetic.”

Continued the 29-year-old actress, “It can be an amazing tool for affirmation, and I think a lot of the makeup techniques that trans women developed to hyperfeminize their faces have been appropriated by certain cis influencers, celebrities and makeup artists.”

Dorfman cited the “carved-out big face” as an example of a look that “comes from the queer community.”

“It’s funny to see cis women beat their faces and not know the process behind it,” she said. “But none of those women are standing up for trans women.”

For her cover shoot, Dorfman got glammed up in a series of designer looks, ranging from a plunging purple St. John dress to a gold Michael Kors gown.

She’s been experimenting with fashion from a young age, revealing that she wore girls’ clothes her “whole childhood” and often accompanied her mom to department stores in Atlanta.

The mother-daughter duo are even the “same size,” so they can share special pieces.

“After I came out, my mom sent me hand-me-downs, which were clothes that I had chosen for her,” Dorfman shared. “So now at 29, I have a collection of dresses, skirts, tops, and jackets that I picked out when I was in high school.”

Anthony Maule
Dorfman donned a corseted Marni dress, Grace Lee earrings and a Retrouvai necklace for her shoot.
Anthony Maule

The star has certainly come a long way from her department store days, however, revealing to InStyle that she’s set to star in a limited series for Balmain during Fashion Week in September.

Dorfman is also “working on a book,” and shared her advice for young trans kids with the magazine.

“You are divinely held,” she said. “I have that tattooed on me — and for anyone who’s struggling, it’s a nice reminder.”

The interview will be featured in InStyle’s October issue, hitting newsstands on September 24.

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