Biography

Kevyn Aucoin


Kevyn James Aucoin (/oʊˈkwã/ Feb 14, 1962 – May 7, 2002) was a united states make-up artist, professional photographer and author. Within the 1990s, Aucoin was wholly accountable for the “sculpted” appearance of many celebrities and top models, including Whitney Houston, Cher, Madonna, Cindy Crawford, Liza Minnelli, Courtney Love, Tina Turner, Jesse Jackson, Naomi Campbell, and Vanessa Johnson. He authored several industry-defining books with makeup techniques including facial contouring, that was relatively unknown in popular culture at that time, but pioneered and utilized in drag culture and stage makeup for many years prior. Aucoin, frequently noted to be decades in front of his contemporaries, is regarded as certainly one of finest make-up artists from the modern day.

Aucoin was created in Shreveport, Louisiana and increased in Lafayette, Louisiana. Born to some teenage single mom, he was utilized being an infant by Isidore Adrian Aucoin and Thelma (nee Melancon) Aucoin. His three brothers and sisters, Carla, Kim, and Keith, were adopted too.

Aucoin was thinking about makeup from the moment he would be a child, and sometimes did his sisters’ makeup and photographed the outcomes having a Polaroid camera—something he’d do throughout his career. Afraid to purchase makeup, he’d shoplift it. The guilt of stealing and anxiety about getting caught made him stop.

He recognized he was gay at six. His parents were not aware of the son’s sexual orientation his mother later stated, “I did not think Kevyn would be a sissy I simply thought he would be a gentle child.” Years later, his parents grew to become staunch advocates for LBGTQ legal rights, and began an instalment of P-FLAG in Lafayette.

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Aucoin was non-stop bullied in class. In a single instance, an instructor spanked his bare bottom at school, which Aucoin later considered as sexual abuse. The bullying escalated in senior high school. As he was chased by a few classmates inside a truck, he dropped out. Then he signed up for cosmetology school, to consider a makeup class. Rather, his self-trained skills led to him becoming the teacher at 18.

Aucoin then labored in a tiny corner of the exclusive women’s store in Lafayette. But women were uncomfortable having a man doing their makeup. His mother Thelma remembered, “It had been $30 for any makeup lesson, which were ladies who compensated $3,000 for any dress, but they’d never allow him to.”

In 1982, Aucoin gone to live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thinking a bigger city may help build his career like a makeup artist. He soon experienced the homophobia he’d suffered in Lafayette. Kevyn and 2 male buddies visited Godchaux’s, a nearby mall, to see the newest makeup. A burglar guard contacted them and stated “upstairs or downtown”—meaning they may be come to the store’s security office or perhaps be arrested. The 3 men chosen the safety office, where these were beaten by security personnel. Fearing for his existence if he remained in Louisiana, he gone to live in New You are able to City together with his then-boyfriend Jed Root, who sometimes posed as his manager.

The very first year he is at New You are able to, Aucoin did makeup on test models free of charge to develop his portfolio. He and Root were broke, residing in a condo that frequently didn’t have heat. Word of his makeup skills started circulating, and that he was contacted by Vogue. For the following year . 5, he labored daily with Vogue professional photographer Steven Meisel. Within the 3 years following his first Vogue shoot, he did as many as 18 more. Back In 1984, he collaborated on Revlon’s Nakeds line, the very first line based exclusively on skin color. However, his Vogue cover shoot with emerging supermodel Cindy Crawford in 1986 skyrocketed his career. During 1987-89, he did nine Vogue covers consecutively, as well as an additional seven Cosmopolitan covers. At his peak, he’d be booked several weeks ahead of time and may command around $6,000 for any makeup session. He grew to become among the best-compensated celebrity makeup artists ever. Unlike most makeup artists at that time, he’d won’t do makeup on models he felt were too youthful.

Sometimes within an industry with a few of the meanest those who have ever walked the face area of the world, who live and die for that surface. But generate income view it, I’ve got a responsibility to complete probably the most I’m able to do, generate income understand how. Since I understand how to use makeup, that is what I actually do and employ it like a platform.

— Kevyn Aucoin

Aucoin’s philosophy was that each lady is gorgeous within, and makeup was simply his tool in order to her uncover that beauty. He authored a normal column relating to this philosophy for Allure. A remark he earned inside a 2000 column, calling people from the National Rifle Association “morons”, came an archive quantity of mail along with a couple of dying threats.

Ultima II

In 1983, Revlon hired Aucoin, at age 21, as Creative Director for his or her prestige Ultima II type of cosmetics. Annually later, Aucoin would launch The Brand New Nakeds (later renamed The Nakeds), a groundbreaking line which was a powerful counterpoint to cosmetics available at that time. States Linda Wells, editor of Allure magazine, from the line: “It might not appear enjoy it, however it would be a effective moment. Before, there have been makeup lines for white-colored ladies and others for black women. But he labored to create makeup for those skin color. The concept ended up being to empower a lady by revealing her natural splendor, and never to pay for her track of layers of product.”

The Brand New Nakeds accepted a significantly different aesthetic compared to norm of times: foundations that featured a yellow undertone, rather of pink or peach eyeshadows, lipstick and blushes were brown-based, neutral tones which were free from the pastel, vivid, or sparkly colors. Although Ultima II (and every one of Revlon’s beauty divisions) were inside a decline at that time, the brand new Nakeds resuscitated curiosity about the company and helped re-establish Ultima II like a viable competitor within the prestige arena.

The colours, textures and finishes Aucoin produced within the New Nakeds would function as probably the most influential direction from the latter area of the century, and visual as brands MAC, Bobbi Brown, and Laura Mercier all launched using their form of these products Aucoin produced years earlier.

Later, Aucoin works with Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido on their own Inoui line. He’d later be contacted by Vincent Longo and Laura Mercier to endorse their eponymous lines, but made the decision to produce their own brand, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, in 2001 rather.

Aucoin labored with countless celebrities, including Madonna, Whitney Houston, Cher, Liza Minnelli, Jesse Jackson Tina Turner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lisa Marie Presley, Courtney Love, and Vanessa L. Johnson.

He started publishing his creations in magazines: The skill of Makeup, Making Faces, and Face Forward, a couple of which grew to become Time magazine biggest sellers Making Faces debuted at number 1. The books featured celebrities, together with people (including his mother), in makeup and costumes to resemble other celebrities. He transformed Celine Dion into Maria Callas Lisa Marie Presley into Lana Turner Courtney Love into Jean Harlow Christina Ricci into Edith Piaf Hilary Swank into Raquel Welch Winona Ryder into Bette Davis Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins into Josephine Baker and Martha Stewart into Veronica Lake, amongst others. Face Forward was broadly recognized for presenting makeup sculpting and contouring to everyone the very first time.

Aucoin made appearances on Hello America and also the Oprah Show. He performed as themself within an episode of Sex and also the City known as “The Actual Me” (Season 4, Episode 2), doing Carrie Bradshaw’s makeup for any fashion show during New You are able to Fashion Week. Additionally, he made an appearance with Cher in “Gypsies, Tramps, and Weed” (Season 3, Episode 7) of Will & Elegance.

Aucoin was a job interview subject (together with dancer Bill T. Johnson and explorer Ann Bancroft) in Oliver Button is really a Star!, a relevant video reinterpretation of Tomie dePaola’s children’s book “Oliver Button Is really a Sissy.”

In 1999 he received an honorary diploma from Harvey Milk Senior High School for his support of gay and transgender youth.

Aucoin eventually found his birth parents, and could personally meet them and the half-brothers and sisters.

He is at a lengthy-term relationship with Eric Sakas, who continued to be a detailed friend after their breakup. Sakas later grew to become president and inventive director of Kevyn Aucoin Beauty.

Aucoin started dating Jeremy Antunes in 1999. They married in Hawaii in 2000, within an unofficial ceremony since same-sex marriage wasn’t legally recognized at that time. Aucoin’s 15-year-old niece, Samantha, resided together after Aucoin acquired legal guardianship.

For individuals much like me who loved Kevyn the individual, the center now weeps as though made from watercolor. Earth has lost another light.

— Tori Amos

In September 2001, after growing levels of back discomfort and headaches, Aucoin was identified as having an uncommon pituitary tumor. He’d been struggling with acromegaly caused by the tumor for a lot of his existence, however it choose to go undiagnosed. He went through a effective surgery coupled with the tumor removed, but ongoing to see discomfort.

Aucoin started taking growing levels of prescription and non-prescription painkillers to help ease his mental and physical suffering. Antunes implored Aucoin to obtain help, and Aucoin made many tries to recover, but tend to not steer clear of the drug abuse entirely. Antunes visited Paris for any week to become alone. That very same week, Aucoin’s health quickly declined and that he was hospitalized. Antunes’ departing Aucoin for which grew to become the final week of his existence produced bitterness between Aucoin’s family and Antunes, leading to Antunes being locked from the home he distributed to Aucoin.

Aucoin died on May 7, 2002 at Westchester Clinic in Valhalla, New You are able to of kidney and liver failure because of acetaminophen toxicity, brought on by prescription painkillers. His mother Thelma died soon later on in October 2002, evidently from grief. Despite his instructions that his ashes be scattered in Hawaii, to begin where he and Antunes married, Aucoin’s ashes are interred together with his mother in Louisiana.

The Kevyn Aucoin Beauty brand has continued to be running a business since his dying, and it is still offered in multiple stores, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Space.NK.

Kevyn Aucoin: An Attractive Life—The Success, Struggles, and sweetness Strategies of popular Makeup Artist was printed in 2003 by Atria Books and Simon and Schuster. It was edited by Kerry Gemstone and reviewed Aucoin’s career through celebrity interviews, his beauty techniques, and also over 250 photographs.

Kevyn Aucoin: Beauty & The Animal Within Me, a documentary directed by Lori Kaye, features Aucoin’s personal videos taken throughout his existence. It premiered because the documentary centerpiece at Outfest in This summer 2017 coupled with its TV debut on Emblem TV on September 14, 2017. The show seemed to be featured within the 125th anniversary (September 2017) issue of Vogue Magazine.

Bigger Than Existence: The Kevyn Aucoin Story is feature-length documentary directed by Tiffany Bartok. The show focuses increasing his career and also the legacy he left out. The show also highlights Aucoin’s LGBTQ activism, from his find it difficult to live freely like a youthful gay man in the hometown, to marrying his partner and developing a group of their own. Additionally, it addresses the problems behind Aucoin’s untimely dying. It premiered in the 25th Hamptons Worldwide Film Festival in October 2017, and it is New You are able to City premiere was featured in Doc New york city in November 2017. Aucoin’s former partner, Eric Sakas, is definitely an affiliate producer from the film.

The Tori Amos song “Taxi Ride” from her 2002 album Scarlet’s Walk is really a partial homage to Aucoin. He earned a cameo appearance inside a 4th season episode (Episode 2: “The Actual Me”) from the lengthy-running Cinemax series Sex and also the City. He would be a major fan from the Comedy Central show Other people With Chocolate and made an appearance within an episode alongside Amy Sedaris and Stephen Colbert like a funeral makeup artist (Season 2, Episode 4: The Goodbye Guy). Within the show Fat Actress debut episode “Big Butts”, Kirstie Alley’s female hair and makeup artist passes the name Kevyn after her inspiration Kevyn Aucoin.

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