A portrait of a beloved celebrity makeup artist.
Recognized as a celebrity in his own right, Kevyn Aucoin crafted a wildly successful career working with supermodels, actresses, performers, and cosmetics companies, and as an author of beauty books beginning in the early 1980s. After his untimely death in 2002, a treasure trove of video recordings taped by Aucoin were discovered, providing an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at his life and work. Kaye combines these with period interviews with the artist and with family, past boyfriends, and a host of celebrity clients/friends, including Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Paulina Porizkova, Andie MacDowell, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Elevating her project from simple tribute, however, the filmmaker grounds much of the narrative in an exploration of Aucoin’s feelings of being an outsider: given away for adoption as a newborn, realizing at the age of six that he was gay, and growing up in conservative Louisiana worked a number on him. While his adoptive parents came to accept his sexuality, his biological mother, interviewed here, re-scarred Aucoin after he found her as an adult when she rejected him due to her religious beliefs. Kaye constructs an insightful look at Aucoin’s life and career spent battling these demons.