When she pressed ‘record’ on her GoPro a few years ago, YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous said she wasn’t sure what would come next.
“I didn’t know I’d be sharing my transition with the world as a documentary in film festivals,” Gigi said during an interview last week. “I thought it would just be something I’d keep for my entire life, for myself.”
Gigi, who began life as Gregory Lazzarato, first hit the spotlight as a Canadian National 3-Meter Diving champion. He was just 13. After giving up the sport two years later, he began posting beauty and fashion videos on YouTube. His transition on screen presaged a transition that was also happening offline; one that would take several years and a family tragedy to see through.
“We choose who we want to be,” Gigi said in a video titled I Am Transgender. “There is a point in your life when you reach deep down who you want to be, and what you want people to associate you with. This video is kind of me telling you guys that I want to be female.” She uploaded that video on Dec. 16, 2013.
Gigi’s transition, nearly six years in the making, is documented in This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous. It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and is now available to subscribers of YouTube Red.
“There was tons of original footage from Gigi herself filming in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto, but the production of the film started a little under a year and a half ago with director Barbara Kopple,” said Adam Wescott, the executive producer of the documentary and co-founder of Select Management Group.
“I’m not necessarily a big fan of documentaries,” said Gigi. “But this feels so different, and I’m thrilled with the outcome of it.”
Gigi describes the film as more of a life story with vivid characters, than a humdrum documentary. “It’s really a film about love and acceptance,” she said. “There’s funny parts, there’s the journey my family takes with me.”
Gigi, who was then uploading videos as Gregory Gorgeous, stopped posting for time as her mother, Judy, battled leukemia. Judy died in February 2012.
“There’s no other point in my life that I’d want to have her back, than right now,” Gigi said in that coming out video.
But it was that new reality that shifted her perspective and made her realize life was too short to not live the one you want.
The film showcases Gigi’s hormone treatments and various surgeries, as well as how her family interacted with her before, during, and after her transition. A constant theme throughout the film, and Gigi’s own YouTube channel, is the support she gets from all sides of her family.
“Having Gigi happy is way more important than me having old Greg,” Gigi’s father, David, says in the documentary.
“Every single person out there could learn something from this film,” she said. “It’s extremely educational about the trans movement, and really shows how important it is to be your authentic self for the world.”
“I wish I had role models like this to see while I was growing up, because it would’ve made my transition much easier,” she said.
“We hope to tell this extremely personal story to a global audience and maybe have a bigger impact on the community than we originally hoped to achieve,” said Wescott. “We’ve already seen tons of responses from people who have seen the film on YouTube Red already, just bawling or laughing or sharing their own stories with us.”
Gigi was recently named a part of Revlon’s upcoming campaign, becoming the brand’s first transgender ambassador; brands like Maybelline, CoverGirl and many others have also embraced inclusiveness with social influencers. Taking bold steps in different directions is the new normal, and Gigi continues to show those lessons to her audience.
“It was definitely nerve wracking to see the film for the first time at Sundance,” she said. “But I had my entire family, my girlfriend, and my best friends with me. Plus a whole room full of strangers. The story is amazing.”