A new documentary about famed makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin shows us the darkness behind the glamour

Kevyn Aucoin was perhaps the most influential makeup artist ever. Now, there's a new documentary about Aucoin's life, which sheds some light on his struggles with illness, addiction and perfection.

'We needed to dissolve this makeup messiah, untouchable narrative,' says director Tiffany Bartok

Makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin applies makeup to supermodel Naomi Campbell backstage at a Todd Oldham fall line fashion show. (Mitchell Gerber/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Listen13:26

Known as the Michelangelo of maquillage, Kevyn Aucoin was perhaps the most influential makeup artist ever. At the height of his career, Aucoin was the artist of choice for supermodels like Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell 
and superstars like Cher, Madonna and Janet Jackson.

He was an innovator, a rule breaker, and he did something incredibly rare for a makeup artist: he became a celebrity in his own right. But behind all that glamour, there was a lot of darkness. Aucoin was bullied and abused at his Louisiana high school for being gay, and later in his life, he struggled with illness and addiction.

Aucoin died in 2002 at the age of 40 from complications related to those struggles. Now, there's a new documentary about Aucoin's life and it doesn't hold anything back.

Tiffany Bartok is the director of Larger than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story, which is out today on iTunes and video on demand. Today, she joins guest host Ali Hassan live in the q studio to tell us why she's on a mission to tell Aucoin's life story.

Produced by Cora Nijhawan​​​

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.