When 71-year-old Robert looks in the mirror, which he does often when dolled up, he sees a beautiful blond woman, voluptuous in her yellow halter dress and chunky heels. Her name is Sherry and she passes the time taking selfies in the courtyard of her Orange County mansion and floating topless in the macaroni-shaped pool.
Sans costume, Robert (not his real name) is a property developer, recently divorced, and living with his 19-year-old daughter. But when he powders his latex and silicone suit and climbs in, pulling a frozen, doll-faced mask over his head, and throwing on a wig and a dress, he’s Sherry. “That’s me in there,” he says, gazing entranced at his reflection. “That’s one of the things I have to keep telling myself: That’s me inside that female.”
Robert is a masker, leading two very different lives: one in the so-called vanilla world of his family and coworkers; another dolled up as a life-size figurine in the privacy of his own home, or, occasionally, out with other cross-dressers and fellow mask-wearers.