“This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous”
.In 2008, Gregory Lazzarato, a young, nationally ranked Canadian diver, walked away from diving and began a YouTube channel focused on makeup tutorials. He would never allow himself to be intimidated by bullies either online or in school. Lazzarato became the fierce, outspoken Gregory Gorgeous, amassing a loyal following who found strength and inspiration from his public coming out as a gay male.
Despite this success, there was a secret that was revealed in a December 2013 video titled “I Am Transgender.” Motivated by the death of her mother, the YouTube star took on the new name Gigi Gorgeous. Gigi had the support of her father and brothers and now gives us a candid look at her transition. Two-time Academy Award–winning director Barbara Kopple (“Harlan County U.S.A”., 1976; “American Dream”, 1990) shines a spotlight on her subject’s uplifting, empowering message of self-acceptance and Gigi becomes a self-assured, happy and, gorgeous young woman.
Gender transition processes are of interest to those going through them. However we have seen this portrayed in so many nonfiction and narrative forms that we now question if this is as compelling to everyone else.
Documentarian Barbara Kopple thinks it is and profiles Gigi Gorgeous who began attracting a following and is a celebrity and an LGBTQ role model with the very simple message of “Be Yourself”. This glossy documentary fails to show conflict or depth in a personality who should be very interesting.
Transgender rights are a major social-justice issue today but Gigi Gorgeous is not a particularly articulate spokesperson, nor does she seem to have experienced any real problems aside from trolls on the Internet. She’s a transgender celebrity and a self-made princess primarily interested in being glamorous, and with the means to get there first-class. It’s easy to see why people in more challenging circumstances might see that image as encouraging, something to aspire to — but such individuals would be much more interesting than Gigi.
Greg Lazzarato was born in 1994 in Toronto, a middle child and an extrovert at an early age. His mother died of leukemia in 2012. Gregg was a competitive high-diver and might have made it to the Olympics if he hadn’t walked away from it. Identity issues were already taking precedence and he expressed there in makeup tutorials that he began posting on YouTube at age 14. Naturally he got his share of homophobic insults but these videos won a fast-growing following and it did not take long before “Gregory Gorgeous” attracted a manager and was making money from product endorsements. He came-out online as gay (but not seen in this film), and later as transgender and others saw him as an inspiration for some fans.
The gender transition began after an announcement in late 2013, with various surgical and other procedures following. Her father David was supportive. We see Gigi doing some modeling, but mostly she is just a professional celebrity and loves buying lingerie and really aspires to be a mainstream commodity.
Much of “This Is Everything” consists of YouTube, home-movie, broadcast, and other preexisting footage and the original footage doesn’t go any deeper into Gigi’s personality so I can only think that there is really nothing newsworthy there. However, there is on scene shown under the closing credits when Gigi was detained at the airport and refused entry to Dubai last August because the United Arab Emirates classifies transgender persons as an illegal “imitation” of gender. We do see Gigi Gorgeous as a human-rights spokeswoman. She is the champion only of herself.