Dazed Beauty x Lydia Dupra Interview 11/29/19
Lydia Dupra lost everything when her home was burgled and vandalised in 2016. She hit rock bottom lying in a hotel room wondering what to do next. Then she decided to write about the one thing she knew how to do professionally: escorting.
Since then Dupra, AKA The Heaux (yes, that’s pronounced ‘hoe’) Mentor, has forged a business empire out of mentoring sex workers. After launching the Heaux app – described as “the VIP social network for heauxs” – the latest string to her bow is Heaux Cosmetics, a make-up brand founded on the principle of making sex workers’ working lives easier. “I want to deliver my message to one of the most marginalised groups in America where it is literally illegal to do your job,” says Dupra. “With the make-up I want everyone to know what it feels like to be a high-class escort. That will spread my vision for our culture and make the world more beautiful. Who doesn’t want that?”
Dupra’s vision is to simplify sex workers’ beauty routines and help them finesse their clients. Her best-seller is a liquified social hormone that increases persuasiveness and empathy. She also sells a scent that increases testosterone levels in men, affecting both their sex drive and their brain. Dupra launched the brand while experiencing crippling joint pain and brain fog brought on by breast implant illness, the result of chemicals from her implants leaking into her body over a number of years. She recently got these implants removed in a surgery that she filmed and shared on YouTube. Here, Dupra shares details of her illness, her journey as a mentor, and how her relationship with beauty has changed over the course of more than 10 cosmetic procedures.
What do you do and why do you do it?
Lydia Dupra: When I meet strangers, I tell them I mentor heauxs. That’s my slogan. Whenever I start a YouTube video, I say: ‘I mentor heauxs. That’s right. Heaux’. I do it because no one else will. When most people retire from the industry, they run really far away from it because of bad experiences but I’m lucky enough to have retired and still love the community that gave me the life that I have now so it’s just how I give back.
What does beauty mean to you?
Lydia Dupra: To me, beauty is calming. It’s a feeling of wholeness. When I feel beautiful, I feel complete. When I see something beautiful, I don’t want to change it. I just admire it because it’s complete.
How has your relationship with beauty changed throughout your life and your surgeries?
Lydia Dupra: What I’ve always been going for is a sense of inner peace. Being calm, feeling complete. When you hate the way that you look, you don’t feel complete and you feel an anxiety, a chaos. What I’ve always been focused on in life is to stop chaos. I don’t worry about my looks in an extreme way anymore. I look in the mirror and I’m like yeah that’s done, great. Now I can focus on everything else that’s wrong in my life.
What has been the biggest surgical change to your appearance?
Lydia Dupra: My nose was definitely the biggest one. It changed not only the way I look but the way I breathe. And aesthetically it really helped me heal emotionally because I had some childhood trauma associated with my father and I had my father’s nose so every time I looked in the mirror, I saw my abuser. Imagine every time you look in the mirror you have a PTSD meltdown. That’s pretty hard for someone who’s in front of a camera all day. It transformed my ability to love myself and to succeed in life. I knew there was a much prettier person beneath my nose so when the nose was taken away and I got this new one it was like I was seeing my true self for the first time.
When you were younger did you ever try to create the appearance you have now using make-up?
Lydia Dupra: 100 per cent. Make-up was always frowned upon. I was shamed for it. Every time I looked good my stepdad would go in on me. I would do my hair and he would call me vain. Then when I was bad, my parents would take away my make-up as punishment, so I felt publicly humiliated. I would go to school and I would try to borrow make-up from other girls and wear it at school and then wipe it off my face to go home. Make-up was really important to me.
Liquid finesse is your most successful Heaux Cosmetics product. Can you talk me through how and why you developed it?
Lydia Dupra: It’s been a massive, massive hit. I teach people how to finesse, how to evoke feelings of trust, how to be more persuasive so when I found out that this chemical, this hormone, could be liquified I thought ‘Oh my god this is perfect’. Now, I don’t have to teach people how to do this. You can just buy it in a bottle. It seemed like such a solution and ultimately that’s what I do. I create solutions.
I’ve tested it out myself for a long time. I tested it out on my friends, in different social situations. It’s almost dangerous. If you don’t want people to talk to you, don’t ever buy it. I was in a restaurant the other day and this guy came up to me and told me his whole life story. He just wouldn’t stop talking. I found out that his best friend tried to kill him and how he wanted to learn how to start a weed company. In spy movies, they have truth serum. I’d say this is as close to it as you can get.
There have been a lot of cosmetic brands launching recently. Did you feel there was a niche to fill in marketing specifically to ‘heaux’?
Lydia Dupra: Absolutely. I just bought a make-up palette that has 16 colours in it. They’re pink and they’re blue and they’re purple and it looks pretty. The aesthetic is there but, when I go to put it on, I’m confused, and I’m frustrated. I still think like a heaux. Make-up is not fun for me. It’s a tool. I need it to do my job. It’s like how a construction worker has a hard hat. We need make-up. I don’t see any other brands treating make-up like an essential.