Holiday Story: My Alter Alias, @chrliechaz, and Her Feline Domestic, Ampersand, Wish You a Happy Holiday
If you hadn’t noticed, my online alias is @chrliechaz. This idea originally came from a character makeup I did back in my undergrad days when I was studying costume design and makeup.
I actually ventilated* the mustache myself from some of my own hair (from a braid cut off earlier, not plucked individually from my head).^ I also checked out a wig from the costume shop and Chaplin’s signature hat—a bowler—so that I could be truly stylin’.
The stippled beard looked surprisingly realistic, but, note that you don’t want to use purple makeup when giving yourself a beard shadow. It tends to look bruisy (technical term).
Mustaches were also having a serious cultural moment at this time, at least in the more underground counter culture. I think they will always be classic, but they were highlighted in moments like Movember (getting men to grow a mustache to show awareness for prostate cancer) and other such things.
Merry Holiday Wishes Yo’
The tagline, Merry Holiday Wishes Yo’, was just a holiday greeting mash-up intended to invoke a laugh, or at the very least, a smile. This was in the years right after the pop-culture phenomenon Breaking Bad, where one of the main characters, Jesse, says “yo” after almost every sentence.
The conceit made me laugh, and I couldn’t help but pass on the cheeky affectation to others.
I shot these photos on a digital SLR as well with a timer. I got up and down from the chair so many times to check whether or not I had gotten the pics I wanted that my thighs were sore for the next couple days.
You can also see that I used wrapping paper for a backdrop stretched across my massive bookshelves. I played with photo frames held up in front of myself as a portrait, but I couldn’t get the camera to focus on me when I was holding a frame. That was a definite fail!
Lighting is also minimal. Definitely needed to do something about that.
Ampersand had also come into my life at this time and was almost a young adult. While it’s hard to see, he has on a sequined bowtie and collar specially made for his uncle Taffy Cat. He was not necessarily a great model, and in the picture I’m trying to get him to look at the camera.
I left a card out for my co-workers with some cookies. I don’t think they, as yet, quite got the zeitgeist that was Jen/chrlichaz, but don’t worry—that time was coming.
Book Recommendation: Btws, I would highly recommend the autobiography of Charlie Chaplin. It was a fun read (though it might be a bit long) and such a great dive into the Edwardian period and the ’20s.
*Ventilating is a method of tying individual hairs (or two at a time) onto a piece of lace (miniature net). This technique is used for mustaches and beards and wig fronts. It gives a softer blend line along with a much more realistic appearance.
^Did you know that Charlie Chaplin’s mustache so inspired Hitler that he determined to imitate it? When I was younger, if you saw a mustache of that shape, you thought Hitler first and Charlie Chaplin second, but, thankfully, those associations have started to fade.