This is Bettie Tiniebla, a drag queen who lives in Mexico City.

We’ve been friends for a long time. She has been an inspiration of mine since I first saw her getting ready and I thought, Is that a mask? Some say that’s her real face because of an accident; some say that she’s wearing a mask to cover the scars from that accident–we don’t know for sure. But since my car accident last year, that mask has taken on new meaning. When I can’t look in the mirror and see my own crooked eye, I think about Bettie, her surety and strength, and her absolute conviction that beauty is what we make it. We shot these photos to document her visit to my house. She was taking care of the garden, talking to the flowers, looking beautiful just for herself, taking pictures of herself, spying on the neighbor–she even did my hair that day. At the end of the day, what her face looks like is kind of irrelevant–her beauty lies in the incontrovertible truth of Bettie Tiniebla. ♦