By Ellen Zoe Golden
On any given night in Tamarindo, out and about is a beautiful man, often with makeup, platform shoes or some other look. Meet Walter Solis Chavaria hair and make-up artist extraordinaire. As a young gay man in San Jose, Solis knew he had to make his handsome self even more outstanding. But others aree not to be left out. Back from Madrid where he glamorized a whole community of men and women, he fulfills his life dream at his own shop called Chic-Is/Studio. For appointment call 8347-8333, email firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook Chic-is/studio or visit the shop in front of Tamarindo Inn Hotel.
THE Tamarindo News talked with Walter with no topic off limits.
Ellen Zoe Golden: What exactly is a wild night to you?
Walter Solis Chavaria: Get crazy, have fun, dance, dance, dance dance. I don’t mind dancing alone. I think it’s best to be yourself on the dance floor. Sometimes, I love just being home dancing in front of the mirror. That is crazy for me. I do this non-stop for hours.
EZG: Have you always been a riotous person enjoying life?
WSC: Yes, for sure. Since I discovered I was gay my life changed, released me. As a child, I knew I was different, mysterious. I am a tireless dreamer I do not think life has limits and rules are made to be broken.
EZG: Which came first: Making yourself beautiful or making other people beautiful?
WSC: I believe that beauty comes from within, so first if I’m okay and I feel beautiful, then I can convey my art to others. Beauty can be natural or artificial; it depends on how you look or what you think.
EZG: Do you remember the first time you dressed up? Was that around the time you discovered you were gay?
WSC: It was when I was 17 years and I did a little show like Whitney Houston in a San Pedro bar. I’d see Madonna in her shows, it made me what to be like her in an artistic sense, a chameleon. I always wanted to be on stage, and to have people admire my work. Madonna has always been my inspiration.
EZG: Is she the reason you dress up?
WSC: Yes, and to free my other self. She is a person who has much to say and it seems that people take her very seriously . I explore other horizons with my personalities, I am freer, more artistic. I enjoy surprising other people with my work.
Is this why you decided to learn to do hair and makeup?
I started my career at the Adalia Acadamy, where I took my first steps at age 15. I told mom I did not have time to study anything that I didn’t want and that I wanted to follow in her footsteps, she’s a cosmetologist. So the dryer and brushes were going to lead me to success. I prepared with the best stylist of the time, what we call the old school, and used a lot of hairspray and made a lot of hair volume. I was there until 18. After I got my degree I went to school to learn alfa-parf Italian color and from there I started flying. I went to Europe for 10 years and specialized in colorful makeup and graduated from a Loreal technical school in Madrid, Spain.
EZG: Is there anything you can’t do in the beauty world?
WSC: Sometimes it is very difficult to try and change the attitude of others regarding a new look. I love having the power to change the minds of others with respect to a new look and it is very hard for people to accept your opinion as a professional.
EZG: What is the craziest look you’ve given someone else or yourself? And the most beautiful?
WSC: I was naked except for precious gems, with a giant teddy bear and a white dog walking through the port of Ibiza to promote Bar 22. The most beautiful was Madrid for Gay Pride.
EZG: Is it difficult being a gay man in Tamarindo?
WSC: It is not so difficult. The problem is the double standard. Tamarindo has changed over the last years, but I remember when you could not talk about being gay. No one respected you. It has never been difficult for me, and I have never denied who I am, but others live in the shadows to avoid being shamed. There is still is machismo in a large part in Tamarindo. Especially after 3 a.m. there are some that will criticize you. They will not change the gays. It has changed a lot, but there will always be discrimination. It is sad.
EZG: Any final words for us?
WSC: I have 38 years and made many of my dreams come true. I love life, and I want to be a better person every day, I feel blessed to work doing what I like, and there is so much that remains to be discovered. We must live today to the fullest, tomorrow is unknown.