This is Everything is a good doco for the fans.
With a sprinkle of interest for everyone else.
A friend of mine who’s a big Gigi Gorgeous fan recommended this YouTube Red documentary. I am not a fan of Gigi — makeup tutorials aren’t my thing — but I’m always keen to learn about people who have led interesting lives. Finding out that it was directed by excellent documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple cinched it.
Just a note: I might use a wrong word here or there. I’m doing my level best to edit well, but a wrong pronoun or something might make it through by mistake — apologies if it does.
This is Everything tells the story of Gigi, who began life as Gregory Lazzarato. Young Greg was a budding diving champion and almost made it to the Olympics. But around 2008, Greg’s attention shifted. Greg began making makeup tutorials for YouTube. Then (at the time) Greg came out as gay. And then finally began her journey towards becoming a transgender woman.
Along the way we meet Gigi’s family, an everyday Canadian clan who have varying reactions to Gigi and her journey. Gigi’s mother dies which of course has a profound effect on her. Gigi’s online empire continues to grow, as we follow her on the transgender process.
What’s interesting about making documentaries about YouTube stars is that a lot of the footage is already there. Kopple pieces it together of course, and gives it more of a structured narrative with newly shot scenes. But fundamentally, the footage is in the can. In fact, it’s been narrated, for the last 9 years. This makes it a very complete documentary — we see Gigi’s entire journey, right back to her original vlogs.
For me, the most fascinating parts of the documentary were the glimpses at family life. It would have been easy to just make a Gigi Gorgeous fan film, all positive and joyous. So seeing genuine reactions from people like Gigi’s father told a more unique story. He’s a conservative fellow, so takes a bit to really understand what’s going on. He’s openly sad about losing a son, but fundamentally supportive of what Gigi is going through. It’s heartwarming to see Gigi’s father go from mildly confused tears to taking Gigi along to cosmetic surgery clinics and helping her heal after procedures.
In fact her whole family is pleasantly average, about as un-noteworthy as a group of people can get. So seeing young Gregory start to come out, rock makeup, and begin a YouTube career while her family dealt with it in different ways is some of the most fun in the doco.
That’s all a very different story from what we usually see: the conservative father kicking his son out of the house, the school bullies. There’s little of that here. So it’s refreshing from that perspective.
Unfortunately, the 2nd half of the doco portrays Gigi as more of an E!-like celebrity, and for me it made the documentary a whole lot less interesting than it could have been. Coming out as a transgender woman? Awesome. Driving a car through LA that has “Gigi” emblazoned on every surface? Ehh. Good for you, but not my scene.
I think the broader problem with This is Everything is that there’s no… controversy. I mean, that’s great for Gigi. And it’s inspirational for people with identity issues of their own — seeing someone come out, and then transition, with full support from everyone must be very comforting. And it comes through when Gigi meets her fans. But it doesn’t make for an especially intriguing doco.
Hey look, I’m being a bit harsh. Massive fans of Gigi Gorgeous will probably gush over this . It’s like a condensed version of her YouTube channel over the last few years, with a professional documentarian giving it some forward momentum. And there’s some entertainment to be had — Gigi is a big personality and instantly likeable. But if you aren’t a megafan, This is Everything doesn’t go much further than surface deep.