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Kevyn Aucoin

From Academic Kids

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Singer Tori Amos transformed by Aucoin into a Native American Princess

Kevyn Aucoin (February 14, 1962 in Shreveport, Louisiana; died May 7, 2002) was a make-up artist and photographer who was well known for catering to the laywoman's need to feel beautiful.

Aucoin was born into poverty and struggled his way to the top of the professional makeup industry by emphasizing the beauty within. His motto was that it was far more important to help a woman feel beautiful no matter what, and that makeup was simply his tool for helping her discover herself. A proponent of the philosophy that every woman is beautiful within, he was one of the most well-paid celebrity make-up artists in history.

He worked with hundreds of A-list celebrities like Cher, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Courtney Love and Winona Ryder. He became a highly in-demand makeup artist, often acquiring $10,000 per session for photo shoots or award shows. As a published author (Making Faces and The Art of Make-Up), he was fond of taking celebrities (and various other women, including his mother) and using makeup and costume (and sometimes prosthetics) to make them look like other celebrities, or like other people entirely. He transformed Tori Amos into Mary Queen of Scots, Courtney Love into Marilyn Monroe, Christina Ricci into Edith Piaf, and Hilary Swank into Raquel Welch, among others.

In October 2001, just one month after launching his own cosmetics line, Aucoin was diagnosed with a rare pituitary tumor. He had been suffering from the effects of the tumor for much of his life, but it had gone undiagnosed. Seven months later, in 2002, Aucoin died from complications relating to the disorder. He is survived by his former long-time male lover, Jeremy Antunes. A musical homage, called "Taxi Ride", was written for him by long-time friend Amos.

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