Benefit, On The Big Screen
Benefit has made a name for itself as the beauty brand that serves up stellar, complexion-enhancing face-savers—and a little dose of humor, free of charge. The idea of blending cosmetics and comedy stems from founders Jean and Jane Ford’s own lighthearted approach to a life that has taken them from small-time Indiana to the fast-paced world of New York modeling, and then finally to San Francisco, where they’ve built Benefit into a global business over the last 30-plus years. And with a cult-favorite cheek and lip stain cleverly called Benetint, which was originally made for a San Fran-based stripper who wanted her nipples to look more red, and a velvety complexion balm known simply as Dr. Feelgood, it’s unsurprising that the film version of the Fords’ road to success would be anything but normal.
“It’s like a seventies variety show,” Geremy Jasper said of Glamouriety, a new movie that he directed with Georgie Greville in partnership with Legs, Milk Studios’ motion and creative division that premiered in Tribeca last night. “It’s sort of like Sonny and Cher,” Greville chimed in of the project that combines animation, skits, and original musical numbers, composed by Jasper. “[Jean and Jane] opened up their eccentric and colorful past and they let us walk down memory lane with them,” he said, describing the plotline, which features vignettes about the creation of Benetint via a “Streisand-esque” ballad—”My mom is the voice of the old stripper!” Jasper effused—and a live-action short about Ralph, a cross-dressing farmer that used to send away for Benefit cosmetics through the Fords’ mail-order catalog.
“Ralph is my favorite,” Jean divulged before the tape rolled, adding that she was also particularly proud of Hervé Lopez’ animation. “All of them are real stories, and they are only really three or four of the massive amount of stories that we have,” she said of the sketches. So why not do a book? “Words may not be able to capture the spontaneity and the spirit of the brand,” Jane surmised before revealing that she’s not ruling it out. The material is there; “when a person works retail, every minute is a potential story.”
Glamouriety will be premiering in Shanghai, Seoul, and Paris before it makes its online debut at www.benefitcosmetics.com later this year.—Celia Ellenberg