Welcome back to Hi Femme!, dapperQ’s sibling visibility project celebrating the incredible contributions that stylish femmes make to queer fashion. This edition, we’re featuring Presenter, Candace Lopez, the creator of @thefemme_baker, where makeup meets backing (BAKEUP!)
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Hi Femme!: Tell our readers a bit about yourself.
Candace: I’m a mixed-race Mexicana femme. I’m not really from anywhere because I’ve lived in a lot of places. I grew up in Texas, moved to Idaho when I was in high school, moved to LA for college and then Austin, TX for graduate school. That’s where I met my wife, and we now live in LA with our feisty terrier mix, Sammy Jr (also known as @therealclubsamwich). I have a big family and married into an even bigger Tejano family which is one of my greatest blessings.
I have dedicated over 12 years of my life to fundraising and development for various non-profit organizations, but creatively I’m a baker. I’m currently a part time baking student at my local community college. Through @thefemme_baker I merge two of my favorite things that are central to my femme identity: makeup and baking. I try to draw out the simplistic and accessible side of both.
When I first really got into makeup it felt like it was about survival and just getting through the next day. In some of my lowest points it felt like even if the world around me was falling apart at least I had this perfectly blended eye-shadow. In some ways it made me feel bulletproof in this life that is constantly taking shots.
Similarly, every time I step in my kitchen to bake something it feels like a metaphor for whatever I am going through at the time. There is so much trial and error with baking and sometimes you come out with something perfect or ugly and delicious or maybe a complete failure but its always a lesson learned and its always ok. Right now, The Femme Baker is about growing, learning, and experimenting but eventually baking will become my livelihood. So my bake-up life is fun and creative, but ultimately it is my self-care and totally essential for my mental health and well-being.
Hi Femme!: Can you talk a bit about how you define queer femme style and what makes it transgressive?
Candace: For me, queer femme style is rooted in an unapologetic expression of femininity, and whatever that means for each person is amazing and beautiful – I live to adore femmes. I think its about re-claiming all the BS we have to hear as femmes about who we should be, how we should present ourselves, respectability politics, and how we have always been policed/punished, and taking aaalllll of that and basically saying fuck you I’m going to do it my way and for my own satisfaction. People are afraid of femininity and femme is fearless.
I don’t know that my style is deliberately transgressive – how I am is the only way I know how to be. But I will say this: I’m not afraid of my body, even if the fashion industry is. It doesn’t phase me that the clothes in my closet are anywhere from a size 10 to a 16, from S to XXL. I don’t hate my body or myself for wanting to accentuate all of my blessings with cute looks. So I guess….not hating myself is the transgressive part.
Hi Femme!: How would you describe your personal style?
Candace: At a baseline I love a great pair of heels, bold colors, big prints, and big earrings. I like pieces that go together because they don’t exactly match. I would also describe my style as affordable and meant for my body. Its also always evolving. How I present now is so different than when I was in my 20s. In my 30s, I’m learning how to be more comfortable and conscious about how my body is changing. I’m learning how to adjust to those changes (wearing flats, for example!) without sacrificing my identity expression. I would also say that my style is fit for the occasion. I like to dress for what I’m doing or where I’m going whether that’s work, an international trip, or a visit home in middle America. I don’t see the victory in finding clothes that “day to night” wear. By dressing for a purpose it’s like styling a different persona for different occasions, all within the thread of your personal style.
Hi Femme!: Who are your fashion icon(s)?
Candace: Issa Rae, Dr. Mindy Lahiri (the character), Marsai Martin, Janelle Monae, Felicia Horowitz, and basically anyone styled by Jason Rembert.
Hi Femme!: What item in your style arsenal can you not live without?
Candace: A short flowy summer dress that I can just throw on (these dresses are like sweatpants for me), or high-waisted anything with a cute shirt. In terms of makeup that’s brow liner, pink lipstick, black mascara, and tinted moisturizer.