Growing up gay usually means that family and friends are convinced it's just a phase.
For 30-year-old Chicagoan Casseita Sutton, better known as Missy, that phase has turned slowly into her upcoming holy matrimony. Missy said she knew since she was 10 that she was gay. However, what she did not know at that young age was that she was a gifted makeup artist. That revelation didn't come until 10 years later, and when Missy stumbled across her first set of makeup brusheswhile an undergraduate at Southern Illinois Universityher life would never be the same.
Sutton currently works as a full-time makeup artist at So Bella Beauty Bar, 5937 W. North Ave., and said that makeup adds a level of fashion that's an absolute asset to any outfit, shoes or hairstyle. Sutton had no idea how vital makeup was; for her, it was it was just part of having a good time with friends. She had no idea that she was emerging into an actual industry, and what her gifted hands meant to fashion.
"My friends in college would let me do their makeup, and I kept being told that I was pretty good at it," said Sutton. "People kept telling me to take it to the next level."
She didn't realize what the next level meant, or if it was even meant for her. At that time, she was studying psychology and trying to come to terms with her sexuality.
"I came out when I was 20 years old to my cousin," Sutton recalled. "We are really close and that was a relieving moment and good feeling."
But being gay and accepted by some isn't all rainbows. Sutton has memories of being shunned by many, including her own father, who lives in Minnesota.
"He was furious after he had learned from my mom that I had come out," she recalled. "He didn't talk to me for three months. It was extremely devastating because, before that, we were really close and would talk on the phone every day."
Additionally, she said several friends who were unhappy to hear that she had come out and were uncomfortable to see her dating women.
"People would tell me I was too pretty to be gay," Sutton said. "I don't get that. And it started to not matter. I stuck to who I was then and who I am now."
Her future wife is what she calls "an escape," adding that she fondly remembers the proposal and didn't see this part of her life coming. After being in a few prior abusive relationships with women, Missy never imagined a life where not only she was free to express her love for a woman, but respected and loved as well.
"Everything that was lacking is fulfilled now," said Sutton. "This is my gateway."
Sutton now has a partner on her side to encourage her talents as a makeup artist, in an industry that is currently very competitive.
"This experience is helping me service the community and open doors to give back," she added. "When my clients are in my chair, I get to know them. We open up and it makes the experience of doing their makeup even more fulfilling. When in my chair, I get to know them and they get to know me."
Sutton realizes that mentioning that she is marrying a woman possibly rubs her older clients the wrong way, and has even lost some clientele.
"I don't let that impact my work," she said. "But it does bother me to lose clients. It's like a light get turned off when certain clients learn that I'm gay. The conversation gets dry."
None of that has dampened her excitement over her upcoming wedding. Sutton said she is especially excited for all of her clients that are soon to be brides. Her makeup chair is a place to transform, discuss and exhale.
"I wake up every morning excited to see what the day has to offer and how I can service people with my gift of makeup artistry," she added. "I practice constantly and I notice that I'm coming more into myself, in so many ways."
Follow Sutton on Facebook at Missy Le'Rohn, on Instagram at don't_miss_ur_beat, or book an appointment to sit in her chair at DontMissUrBeat.com .