No matter how much we try to discount it, appearances affect so many aspects of our lives. Although physical, its influence reaches our mindset and the way we perceive and even feel about people and things. Tapping deeper into how appearance can affect our confidence and view of others, John Livesay interviews Dr. George Baxter-Holder of SkinSpirit. As a board-certified Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice, he shares with us his knowledge of beauty, giving us a peek into how jawlines make someone look smart or strong and how you can reverse some signs of aging. Reminding you of what is important, Dr. George then talks about the importance of focusing on looking your best now and not what you used to look like ten or fifteen years ago. He also discusses being in business, sharing about the need for having an entrepreneur’s mindset, especially when you are planning to grow what you have already created. From skin to business, this episode is going to give you great insights and advice. Join John and Dr. George to know more.
Listen To The Episode Here:
The Spirit Of SkinSpirit With Dr. George Baxter-Holder
Our guest is Dr. George Baxter-Holder. He talks about how our appearance can affect our confidence and how we’re perceived as someone who’s smart or even strong depending on our jawline. He always said, “Focus on looking your best now, not what you used to look like 10 or 15 years ago.” He also talks about the importance of mindset in someone who’s an entrepreneur that’s growing what they’ve already created. When you’re all about that, I think Dr. George is the Elon Musk of faces with his technique and his creativity. You’re going to enjoy learning more about entrepreneurship and how to pull in ideal clients.
Our guest is Dr. George Baxter-Holder. He has firsthand knowledge of how beauty-obsessed nowadays Hollywood actors are. As a child actor in Hollywood, he played the role of a genetically perfect boy on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His bad-boy character made all around him start to age prematurely. In real life, George plays the good guy role, trained as a board-certified Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice. He helps patients reverse the signs of aging at Skin Spirit Medical Spa in Austin, Texas. He has a Doctorate from Duke University and a Master’s from the University of Washington. While he is no longer “genetically” perfect, he is working on aging well. George, welcome to the show.
Thank you, John. I appreciate you having me on and having a conversation.
We met through a mutual friend when I moved from Los Angeles to Austin, so we have that LA to Austin similarity. The people who are reading this are going to want to have a sense of who you are before we get into some of your insights. Your own story of origin is fascinating just from the little tidbit. Growing up, you can go back to childhood or you can take us right to the set of Star Trek, whatever you want to do.
It’s funny because it feels like it has been this windy, curvy, up and down, dark woods, light mountain travels. When I look back on it though, it’s a straight line. I understand exactly how I got here. I was born on Long Island, New York. I was twelve or so when my parents moved me out to Seattle, Washington in a little island. I went from Long Island to a little short island called Vashon Island. I grew up there knowing that I wanted more out of life. We could spend hours going into all the little ins and outs and details, but to make a long story short, I went to the University of Washington. I did well at school but still I yearn to be an actor. I ended up dropping out of school and moving to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of being on the silver screen. I didn’t do a whole lot of that except for Star Trek which is funny because that has had some legs. I filmed that at the end of 1988 and it’s still talked about many years later.
That show has rabid fans and I’m one of them. Now with the new Picard show, it continues to stay in people’s consciousness. It’s fascinating that sometimes art imitates life. You’re playing a genetically perfect person and everyone else is aging around you. You get into the field of helping people to look their best and not have the ravages of age take over.Do you look differently than you feel? Dr. George is the Elon Musk of Faces. Click To Tweet
The irony is amazing. It’s season two, episode seven, if anyone’s interested in Star Trek: The Next Generation. This innocent genetically perfect boy who Dr. Pulaski beams up to the ship and takes out of this stasis and immediately she starts getting impacted with signs and symptoms of rapid aging. Fast forward to the real-life George Baxter-Holder as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Nurse Practitioner, I’m in facial aesthetics and work with my clients to reverse the signs of aging and the juxtaposition of that is so fun.
Let’s talk about confidence because that is such a key element to being successful in any area of your life, whether you’re an actor going up against all the other actors for a particular role, and you have to audition. I know in the sales world, you have to go in with some confidence that you believe in your product and what you’re selling. You’re now in the confidence business because how we look, whether we like it or not, whether an actor or not, in order for us to feel confident and at our best, we can’t be worried about our appearance. We have to take care of it and then forget it is my mindset. Talk to me about your tips on confidence from a mindset standpoint, because you and I share that same philosophy of our thoughts, beliefs, and create our experiences. Do you have any affirmations or mantras that you tell yourself before you give a talk or you’re stretching yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new?
The funny thing is I have a lot of things that I say on a daily basis. My first two words every morning are thank you. Forgive me when I started talking about this stuff, I get emotional and I’ll start to choke up. I’ll try not to do that too much, but it does happen. It’s about well-up of the universal spirit that’s within all of us. It burst out in liquid form. The thing about it is before I do anything on stage, podcasts, or whatever, I say this little thing that God and I have said together for a long time. That is, “God, please don’t let me suck.” It’s become this funny little goofy thing that I don’t take it too seriously, I don’t feel like that’s going to happen but that’s what I want. I want to come off okay. I’d love to be exceptional but I’m okay with adequate. I feel like I strive too hard to be perfect. That striving for perfectionism is such a trap.
Dr. George, you’re singing my song. I talk about this all the time from the standpoint of helping people get off the self-esteem roller coaster where they feel good about themselves if their numbers are up or they’re looking great. They don’t have any acne, wrinkles, or whatever and doubt about themselves if their numbers are down or things are going wrong. This need to be a perfectionist isolates us because nobody is perfect and we can’t relate to somebody who looks or acts perfect. We have to be vulnerable and let people see that we’re not always perfect nor do we need them to be perfect.
Let me tell you a little story exactly about this. It’s funny because what you said is we need to let people see that we’re not perfect. We also need to see it ourselves and being able to laugh at ourselves. I bought the iPhone 11. I was so proud of it. I’m so excited to have these three little cameras. Travis and I are in the middle of moving. I stopped at the title company, I’ve got the trunk open, and got this broom in my trunk, I set my phone down, and I think to myself, “Don’t set your phone down there. You’re going to lock your phone in the trunk.” That was my thought. I didn’t listen to it and that’s the key. I set my phone down and I’m monkeying with this broom handle to try to get the trunk closed. I pushed the broom handle, I slammed the trunk and it wouldn’t close.
I pushed the broom handle in a different way and I slammed the trunk. I did that seven times until I looked over and I had completely obliterated my phone. It’s one after another. The old George would have freaked out and swore. I completely broke down laughing realizing that once again, I didn’t listen to my inner voice. I didn’t heed that and it’s important that when we’re talking about confidence and pride, you have to listen to your innermost self to know that it was good. I did well there and be able to say that to yourself and not feel like, “I’m coming off as arrogant, I’m coming off as too confident,” or “People are going to look down on me because I looked too up at myself.” It’s this weird dichotomy of there’s nothing wrong with being confident.
There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance and that’s the big distinction. I’ve talked to people about perfectionism and I’ve often found that it’s not enough to tell people, “Don’t do this.” You have to give them something to replace it with. What I do is I say, “Become a progressionist.” It’s a new word I made up. We celebrate our progress. When we’re climbing Mount Everest and we’re halfway up, we can look down and go, “Look how much progress we’ve made,” or you can look up and go, “Look how much further I have to go.” Because you’re in the confidence business through skincare and anti-aging, I’m sure you have to work with your patients on this premise that our goal is not perfectionism and there’s going to be a healing process. We need to start celebrating our progress, and I know you take pictures to document the whole experience. Talk to us about that concept of progress and celebrating it.
It starts in the first consult. To bring out what people love about themselves is important. A lot of my peers in the business will hand someone a mirror and say, “Tell me what brings you in? What bothers you?” I don’t want to know what bothers you about your face. I want to know what you love about yourself and how I can take you to the next level of accentuating that brilliance. It’s always going to be a journey. If I have the opportunity to do everything at once, I usually don’t. Only because I want to see you in two weeks or a month after that and celebrate with you. What you said, that progress, that’s important. I also know if we’re off track.
I have struggled with comparing myself to the younger version of myself. I talk about it in my talks to companies about when we focus on our progress, we succeed. I used to be a swimmer and I remember beating somebody once in breaststroke. You keep your head up and I kept focused on the wall, hit the wall, he turned his head half a second to look to see if he was ahead, and that half a second of looking and I stayed focused caused me to win. Intellectually, I know in business, you need to focus on your progress and not compare yourself to your competitors. You’re the perfect person to help people with this. I’ve heard other people do this, “My best days are behind me,” or “Will I ever have that jawline again? Do I need that jawline to feel successful?” Most people are not underwear models so we don’t need to judge our self-esteem so much on our appearance, and yet we still want to show that we love ourselves enough to take care of ourselves. What advice do you have for people who might be comparing themselves to their younger selves?
That is a fantastic topic because we all do that. We have an image of ourselves. I’ve got my senior pictures from high school and I look at that kid and I’m like, “I want that chin and cheeks back.” The thing about it is I also look good for 54 years old, and I don’t have a problem telling people my age. Clearly, it is an inner glow that shines on the outer surface and that is where it starts. That’s why I start my day with gratitude. That’s why thank you are the first two words out of my mouth. That’s why I do affirmations in the mirror especially on those days where I’m not feeling like that eighteen-year-old and then the aches and the pains. We can’t get caught up in that because that negativity shines also on our face and in our eyes.
If we’re in pain, imagine how scrunched up everything gets.
Doing it with my clients, I only need to do a little bit for people to feel a large impact from what we’re doing because we don’t need to take them back twenty years. We take them back six years. I say that all the time and I picked the number six, I don’t even know why. I picked the number six because it’s not five and it’s not ten. It’s like, “Let me erase six years. I’m good with 48.”We can't get caught up in the negative because the negativity shines also on our face and in our eyes. Click To Tweet
Some people do too much and you’re like, “I don’t know if you’re 40 or 70.” It’s also frozen. You work at Skin Spirit in Austin, but it is part of a larger national brand and expanding. That seems to be the philosophy for the whole brand. Is that why you chose to work with them?
I remember going for my interview down in Palo Alto. I walked around and I met everybody. Everybody had this glow about them. I am not talking about they all looked pretty because if you lined them all up, you could find flaws if you wanted to. The thing about it is everyone had a glow from within. I asked everybody the same question, “What is the spirit of Skin Spirit?” People hadn’t been asked that before and people understood what I was going for. I got a myriad of answers but there’s a difference in the company that I work for than any other skincare company that I’ve ever been involved with. I teach and train all over the country. I’ve been in a lot of different clinics and there’s something extra special about Skin Spirit you can feel when you walk in.
I felt that when I walked in. There’s a warmth, caring, and energy. You can tell the people they like and respect each other, and are working together. For everyone reading, that’s a great question for you to ask yourself even if you’re a one-person entrepreneur, let alone, if you’re working for a company, “What is the spirit of,” and then insert your company name. You need to have that defined as a brand so that that brand stands for certain values, cultures, and celebrations. I know Skin Spirit is very much about embracing diversity, making a statement about that, and making people feel welcome regardless of anything so that it’s inclusive and not exclusive. I would say it’s one of the brand attributes that I’ve seen and experienced.
What are some of the new techniques? For people who are reading, saying, “People know that they can get a facial,” but it’s not just a normal facial. The facial I got there was off the charts. The word ‘glow’ is even in the name of it. There’s Botox that people know about. That’s that whole artistry of too much, too little and then there are all kinds of other new things going on. Let’s go through the three. Let’s start with a facial and a little bit of description of what’s new in the world of wrinkles. Who should get it? All the other things will be the third bucket. A lot of people who read this are in tech and you’re such an expert in the combination of artistry and technology. If you think of yourself as the Elon Musk for faces because Tesla isn’t just the electric car. It’s the look, design, and artistry of it. What makes a unique facial at Skin Spirit?
I love the fact that you’re starting with the facial because that is where it starts. When I’m doing my consult, I use the tent analogy. I’m talking about the fabric of the tent. The poles of the tent. How the tent is tied down in the foundation of the tent. If we remember that the fabric is the most important thing. The facial is the fabric. It’s taking care of that surface and getting the surface glow. It’s getting your own dermas and collagen to regenerate. That happens with things like the diamond glow or the signature facials. Our facials are not fluffy, feel good. They may feel good for you but that’s not their point. Their point is medical-grade to get results. They’re all results-based, science-based, and medical-grade. In order to get a facial, you have to have a good face exam with one of the medical providers first because they’re that significant. We have experts that are awesome at the office. Tammy and Lynzy are out of this world as exceptional providers. They understand the skin and they understand how to get it to glow and bring out your best.
It’s almost like if you think of your body and your face like a car, people will say, “Do I get I my car washed? Sometimes I need to get my car detailed.” We wash our face every day, hopefully, like brushing your teeth. If you want to make your car looking great, you’re going to get that detailed every so often. The same thing with your face and a facial. That’s the analogy I use. We move into Botox. Whether you’re a man or woman, let’s tie that into confidence. We look in the mirror and we’re not trying to be 40 years younger, but there’s something going on that’s challenging for us to feel 100% confident if there’s something furrow in the brow or there are a lot of wrinkles in your forehead and we’re not even lifting our eyebrows, all that stuff.
It’s key, John. Your audience out there may have an idea in their head when they hear the word Botox. Botox is a brand name, it’s like Kleenex. It was brought to us from the Allergan Corporation. I applaud them for all the direct-to-consumer marketing that’s done. It is a neuromodulator. It modulates the way that the nerve communicates with the muscle. There are other brand names out there. There’s Dysport from Galderma and Xeomin from Merz. What happens is we don’t even know when we’re making micro-movements. When we’re furrowing our brow, we don’t even realize it.
I’m concentrating and concerned right now, then somebody comes and says, “Why are you so mad?” It’s like, “People think I’m unhappy or mad,” or “People think I look different than I feel.” This is the key right here. I want you, my client, to have a better grasp and better control to express how you feel on the outside. When I look concerned, I look concerned. Fully treated, not over-treated or frozen. I have full mobility in my face but fully treated with neuromodulator. To understand that a provider like myself can treat and rejuvenate you without over-treatment or botched look. They haven’t done any benefit to our industry. Most of my clients don’t even know that they’ve been treated. They just look great.
We want to look the way we feel on the inside, which is beautiful and at least peaceful, if not happy all the time but certainly not angry or mad because of our face and gravity. You and I had a conversation that fascinated me about the psychology of how we interpret things when we see them. One of the signs of aging is that our temples get hollow. If you see elderly people, you’ll notice that. It starts 40s or 50s, I don’t know when it starts. People make assumptions about you. The stereotype that if you wear glasses, you must be smart. You’ve got this great bow tie on that’s part of your brand. People will go, “He’s a professor, he’s an honor, he’s teaching around the country.” If we don’t have a fully filled out forehead, then you said something that shocked me. Tell us what are the unconscious thoughts there?
There’s a level of intelligence that’s held in the upper third of the face. That’s where your brain is. When you look and you are getting hollowed out in that area, especially for men, and this is key. This is why you and I were having this conversation because we were talking about men. Men can be full here. What that says is, “I’ve got a big brain.” “That man is intelligent, he’s got a big brain.” Look at the picture of you right now. You look like you’ve got a big brain. You’re smart, intelligent, and you help people. It’s not dark, foreboding, and skeletonized. We make those assumptions about the jaws as well.
If we think about some of the characters, going back to your acting experience and the expertise, look at how they do villains in Star Wars. Those people are big. There’s no empathy in them and no intelligence. The other thing you said is a defined jawline isn’t just youthful, it also connotates confidence.
Strength and confidence. They’ve done studies on that. The Kybella is a fat dissolver under the chin. I use it in my practice off label in the jowls as well, because the jowls mask a very tight and sharpened jawline. When you have that sharp jaw, it says to the world that you’re confident, strong, and assertive. If we look to TV or cartoons or things, you have Dudley Do-Right that’s got that sharp, confident chin. You think about these individuals like a strong military man. You think he’s got a sharpened jaw, the salespeople and lawyers.Bring in your personality to your business. No one else has it. Click To Tweet
If we want to seem smarter, we need to come to you and get our temples full. If we want to seem stronger, we need to come to you and get our jawline as defined as possible. It all starts with the fabric of the facial and this whole journey. Do you have any last thoughts for people who are entrepreneurs? In a way, even though you’re connected with Skin Spirit, you’re responsible for generating your clientele, I see your wonderful Instagram posts. Your personality is coming through and you also pull in some of the other staff that you work with. You’re continuing that spirit of we’re having fun here implies you’ll have fun here as well as getting the results you want.
Entrepreneurship gets misunderstood and if I’m an entrepreneur, I’m starting a new business. It’s a growth mindset. Being an entrepreneur means that I am going to collaborate with the community. I am going to provide innovation. I’m going to provide a personality that is new and exciting. That’s what entrepreneurship means to me. I’m even dabbling right now and thinking about doing an MBA in Entrepreneurship, like I need more letters after my name. It’s something that excites me enough to want to go get more information about it. For your audience that are entrepreneurs, I would say to them, bring in your personality. No one else has it. That’s the one thing that you can bring to your business that’s uniquely you. You might make widgets. There are plenty of people making widgets. Go ahead, make the best widgets you can be, but you can’t make John’s widgets because only I can make John’s widgets.
When I wrote my first book, there are a lot of books out there on selling. I thought, “I’ve got my version of it, my story.” That’s the same thing. It goes back to your confidence that what I have to say is worth hearing and the right people will find it. What a great place to end that on. Dr. George, if people want to find you and Skin Spirit, tells us where all your social media handles and all that good stuff.
My social media handle is easy. It’s @Gorgeous_ByGeorge. You can also look it up by my name, George Baxter-Holder. There’s also an old website. You can go to GeorgeBaxter-Holder.com. There’s a little bit more of my personal life and stuff. I have a past. There’s more than Star Trek in my past.
Thank you so much for enlightening us on confidence, strengths, and most importantly, the importance of gratitude.
Thank you, John. Thanks for having me.
I’m talking with Dr. George Baxter-Holder and George is a board-certified Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice at Skin Spirit Medical Spa here in Austin, Texas, where I also live. We’re here to talk about LGBT Pride and the importance of getting comfortable with who you are. The more people who share who we are, come out of the closet, let other people know the importance of loving yourself, and accepting yourself. The more other people will be encouraged to know that you can still have a happy life, career, and relationships. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. Welcome, Dr. George. You and your husband, Travis are here. We could celebrate pride together and also inspire some other people to do the same.
I can’t thank you enough. This is a great opportunity. To share this message is critical and crucial. It seems like the younger people get it. It’s the more experienced people that need to lighten up.
I wasn’t around during the Stonewall riots to have a memory of them but that is part of our history. At one time, it was illegal to hold hands with somebody in a gay bar, let alone hold hands with somebody on the street. People could get fired, teachers, the military, and all kinds of things. We’ve come a long way and yet, we’ve got people Ellen, Neil Patrick Harris, and Anderson Cooper that are all great role models. Growing up, we had Paul Lynde in the Hollywood Squares with that, “I’m probably gay but I’m not like that, so I don’t relate. I can be funny.” Now, there are many different choices and you don’t feel like you have to “necessarily” stay in the closet for your career to be successful.
Now more than ever, the need to be authentic is what people are buying. You do have such a fascinating past, not only being on Star Trek, but then having your own challenges around sobriety. That is certainly a very common challenge that a lot of people in the LGBT community have. Part of it has to do with messages from childhood or society saying you’re not good enough and you feel guilty or ashamed so you want to numb some of that. Share with us as much or as little as you want about that journey and how you have arrived now to this happy, openly gay life, and a loving relationship with a wonderful husband.
This is one of my favorite love stories. As a young boy, I felt so different. I remember early on feeling that something was not right, my life was not right. I didn’t have a word or a name for it but I knew that I felt different than my peers. Not just different in a funny gregarious way, but different as in there’s something wrong with me. I wanted to numb that feeling. To make a long story short, I did everything I could to numb that feeling from fantasy to sexual exploits. Finally, I dove into the drugs and alcohol world.
I don’t regret any of it looking back on it. I’ve said before when you look at my life, it looks like it’s got lots of ups and downs, peaks and valleys. There was a prison sentence, drug addiction, and hospitalizations in there. When I look at all of that stuff, what I see is a straight line to where I am right now. I wouldn’t change any of it. I have a book out that I wrote in 2013 called Drugs, Food, Sex and God. I remember when I was working on the book, I always talking to Wayne Dyer at one of his symposia. He said, “I’d put God first.”If you're getting a message of shame about being the person you know you are inside, go find different messengers. Click To Tweet
I looked at him. I said, “Wayne, I always put God first, but that’s not a sexy title.” I broke out of all of that. I went to prison. I was in prison in Y2K. I was praying that the whole Y2K bug would open the doors then I would be free, but that didn’t happen. What happened is when I got out, I realized that this was not the life that I had set out to live. In all my life of fantasy and whatever, this was not it. I needed to make a change. Some people helped me a little forcefully to make a change.
July 8th is an anniversary day for me. I had my first 24 hours clean in July 8th, 2000. There are two other things wrapped up in all of this. We have time for one of them, I don’t know if we have time for the other one. Wrapped up in all of this is that I’m gay and not fitting in with the society that I was raised in because of that. My drug addiction and homosexuality. My sisters were married and I was never going to have that. I was never going to be happy. I was always going to be in this lifestyle that I tried to make myself fit into.
It’s underbelly lifestyle that I felt. In the ‘80s, that’s what we did. We were in dark bars and we didn’t come out of dark bars. As I progressed in my recovery, I met this man, Travis. We were at this party. It was an Alcoholic Anonymous celebration for someone celebrating 25 years. The minute our eyes met, or he saw me, I saw him, but both of us were with other people at this party. We didn’t get introduced, but there was a spark, there was something there. About a month and a half later, we had our first date. Twenty-two days later, I bought his ring and matching one to this one. A couple of months later, I asked him to be my husband. We were engaged for a long time but years later we still have a fairytale life. I have everything that I’ve ever wanted out of life.
You’re describing the darkness. It’s a great metaphor for where you were spiritualy, as well as the darkness of being in a bar because you have to hide. The opposite of pride is shame. That’s why we’re creating this to show and thanks to Skin Spirit for its willingness to celebrate pride and celebrate diversity. The best way to do that is to share stories of people and to let other people know that they’re not alone. If you happen to be in a place of shame or darkness, it doesn’t have to stay like that. That would be our message for everybody. We would certainly have had done something to make the world a tad better.
My feeling is if you’re getting a message of shame about being the person you know you are inside, go and find different messengers.
If you were an openly gay person or an ally, put your money into companies and people who are part of the community and support your beliefs. That’s a nice thank you to Skin Spirit for celebrating and welcoming people of all diversity.
- Allergan Corporation
- @Gorgeous_ByGeorge on Instagram
- Drugs, Food, Sex and God
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