“Had Kevyn survived, he would have
definitely blown social media out of the water.
He was so ahead of his time.”
Before YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the social media revolution,
Kevyn obsessively self-documented his career and his life.
“Maybe this film is the point, but when Kevyn was shooting it,
who knows what he was thinking? He was just documenting, documenting, documenting... it is like a time capsule to be able
to look back and see those moments... what kids we all were.”
— CINDY CRAWFORD
A young Cindy Crawford at the very start of her career. A giggling young Naomi Campbell doing the hula.
Linda Evangelista eating a bagel while regaling the makeup room with the furor over her famous quote,
“I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day...” Budding Christy Turlington, Paulina Porizkova, Andie MacDowell
and other famous faces were all just hanging out and being themselves while Kevyn’s camera rolled.
Nothing was off limits. Whitney Houston playfully goofs around during a music video shoot.
Intense glamour goddess Grace Jones mugs for the camera. On set Jennifer Lopez, Tina Turner and Janet Jackson
let their hair down. Kevyn mentors gay teens with friend Liza Minnelli in tow.
Kevyn also turned the camera on himself. We see personal, intimate moments as he chronicles friends, lovers, and family.
Particularly poignant is the footage of Kevyn meeting his birth mother for the very first time.
Why did Kevyn videotape his life? Perhaps Kevyn merely wanted to document his work?
Or as a visual artist, like Andy Warhol, Kevyn saw his life as art. But what is most apparent in the footage is that
Kevyn couldn’t believe how far he’d come, that the young gay boy who was a complete outsider in Lafayette, Louisiana
found himself not only working with the idols he dreamt about growing up, but becoming friends with them.
He was in awe of his own climb and sought to prove it was real.
Kevyn’s multilayered story is one that will resonate with anyone who has ever had big dreams in a small town,
felt different, been ostracized, or ever asked the question, “Where do I fit in?”
“There will never be another Kevyn Aucoin.
Never. Never. Never.”
— NAOMI CAMPBELL
I first met Kevyn in April 2000 while producing a television documentary series about stylemakers in the world of fashion and popular culture. My assignment was to produce a documentary portrait of Kevyn as a man and an artist. That project would never be completed.
I spent a great deal of time with Kevyn filming various events in his life over the next several months. I spent time with his family, his friends, business associates and lovers past and present. Through it all, I got to really know Kevyn, and that familiarity created genuine honesty during our in-depth interviews.
When I heard about Kevyn’s death, I was shocked and tremendously saddened. I knew that I had to find a way to tell Kevyn’s story, to share it with the world. I went to Louisiana to visit Kevyn’s father, Isidore Aucoin. He was still grief-stricken over Kevyn’s death as well as the death of Kevyn’s mother Thelma, who passed away very shortly after Kevyn. Over a plate of good ol’ cajun gumbo at Don’s Seafood, I convinced Isidore to allow me to legally obtain Kevyn’s life rights.
And then… I heard about the tapes. I was told that Kevyn had pretty much videotaped his entire life. Of course, I remembered Kevyn always had a video camera going.
He was often filming us while I was filming him. But I was not prepared for the extraordinary amount and depth of Kevyn’s personal footage that I ultimately came across.
There were hundreds of High-8 and DV tapes. There were even tiny answering machine microcassettes. One-by-one, I began to watch and digitize each tape. I was continually amazed by what I was seeing… Never-before-seen footage of fashion history, supermodels, celebrities and photo shoots. And there was all the personal stuff: the birthdays, the family moments, the lovers and friends. With each tape I became more and more blown away: it was Kevyn’s entire life recorded.
These tapes were his legacy and it has taken me nearly a decade to bring his story to life and pay homage to this complicated and beautiful man. I hope this film is both a fascinating glimpse into a dynamic period in fashion and pop culture as well as a compelling personal journey with a strong message. If it can help even one person who struggles with being an outsider, who is ostracized for being gay or different or an artist or who struggles with the pain of adoption or addiction, then I will feel proud to have helped share Kevyn’s story as told through all of his glorious footage.
Kevyn wrote three New York Times best-selling beauty books
Kevyn did makeup for hundreds of covers of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Details, Allure and other magazines
Won a special CFDA award for makeup artistry
Made several appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Good Morning America
Wrote his own column for Allure magazine
Launched the Kevyn Aucoin Beauty brand in 2001
Received an honorary degree from the Harvey Milk School
At his peak, was often booked months in advance and could command as much as $6,000 for a makeup session