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Life as a Living Doll

‘Dress the Part’ meets the makeup artist who's part of a fashion-minded group of “living dolls.”

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Anime, goth, fairy, Barbie — all these adjectives and more have been used to describe Toshi Salvino. But the Brooklyn-based makeup artist describes her aesthetic succinctly as “living doll,” as she uses makeup, clothing, hair dye, and countless other creative tools at her disposal to transform herself into different characters.

“We want to be the fairy princess that we’ve always read about,” she says. For her and other “living dolls,” not to mention those who partake in other subcultures like Lolita fashion, dressing up makes that possible. Salvino’s journey started around nine or ten years old, when she discovered makeup, and she started experimenting with transforming herself into characters with cosmetics.

Her evolving look wasn’t always readily embraced by teachers, family, and peers. But after moving to New York City, Salvino found acceptance from other performers — and herself.

“It’s my right to choose what I want to look like that day,” she says, including a “sparkly fairy doll creature.”

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