Cross-Dress for Success

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the show that transforms sloth-like macho men into burgeoning metrosexuals, received the seal of approval from American television audiences this year. But the male makeover is hardly a new phenomenon: Christopher Gradford, a cosmetologist, drag queen and owner of Studio Lites, has been beautifying even the most mannish boys for decades. By turning his clients into the women of their dreams, Chris takes the Queer Eye concept one giant, stiletto-heeled step further.

But think how his expertise could benefit the state of Colorado at large! Imagine how much more exciting life would be if, say, Governor Bill Owens did his budget slashing while garbed in cute little capris. Or if Mayor John Hickenlooper occasionally addressed the Denver City Council from behind a silky set of one-inch lashes. We asked Chris how he would help a few local notables get in touch with their softer sides.

John Hickenlooper, mayor, City and County of Denver: "The mayor is not going to be too much a problem. It's hard if you're starting with someone who is short and fat or who has a real problem facial feature. But he's a pretty good-looking person. He's got a very oval face, so I'd put him in some soft feather bangs -- light brown with golden highlights. If he wanted to be more conservative, I'd go for a nice pageboy, but if we wanted to be a little sexier, I'd put it longer, with a little bit of layering and maybe a little flip. We'd do some soft bangs, which would take care of the forehead: Most men's foreheads need to be covered. I'd make his lips fuller, plumper, because he has thin lips. For his clothes, I think I'd keep him conservative, but with a flair. A nice suit, with pinstripes, and a soft, silk blouse in maroon or burgundy. Something rich and subtle. He's got to be able to move around with ease, so we'll just stick with a nice three-inch heel."

Peter Forsberg, center, Colorado Avalanche: "I see him as a Pamela Lee Anderson type, because he has a very masculine figure and role, and I'd want to do the opposite. He's blond, but I'd make him blonder -- with long hair, wild and tousled. We'd have to break his face down, get some of those rough edges off. The nose is a problem with a lot of athletes, because it tends to get rearranged. He's big across the shoulders, so I'd have to give him big, big boobs, which will make the waist look smaller. I see him in white and silver, with nice, long, red fingernails and stiletto heels."

Bill Owens, governor, State of Colorado: "I'd want to zap him -- give him a little bit of a Shania Twain feel. The hair would be long, and layered, in a rich chocolate brown with butterscotch highlights. He has nice features, but I'd really want to open up those eyes and strengthen the eyebrows with an arch. And pretty lips -- the most important things are eyes and lips. I'd tighten up the waist with a four-inch cincher, add some fullness to the hips and make a very voluptuous derriere. I'd put him in a Western-type boot, with a good stacked heel. For clothes, I could see a nice peasant blouse with a belt to tighten that waist up, and a skirt cut on a diagonal. It would be sexy and playful, but still a little conservative."

Gerry Whitman, chief, Denver Police Department: "He's a nice, average-looking man. I think I'd want to make him a stripper -- a redhead with some soft, fire-red burgundy highlights and a little bit of a curl, a flare that would move his hair off his face, like it's being swept by the wind. I'd give him intense cheeks and big, glamorous eyes and big lips. Nothing gaudy. He'd need large breasts, a cincher on the hips and a short, short dress -- a mini-skirt with a side slit, short and tight. I wouldn't want to put him in hose. We'd have to do some real shaving to get those long legs nice and silky. Long, long fingernails, big hoop earrings and huge heels -- six to seven inches. He would be very glamorous. He'd be in total disguise."

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Laura Bond
Contact: Laura Bond