Cinema Secrets, the Burbank destination for pros in the know, celebrates an amazing 30 years in business this year. This family run business created my makeup master Maurice Stein and his wife Barbara has been at the center of the makeup community since the day it opened its doors. Full of personality and the combination of an at-home feeling combined with on-set professionalism, Maurice and his team have managed, since day one, to make everyone who enters the world of Cinema Secrets welcome and part of the family.
The first time I met Maurice Stein, and truly began to understand the impact of the culture of Cinema Secrets on our industry, was at The Makeup Show NYC. Maurice was demonstrating his eyelash curler to an assembled group of artists and paused to learn each person’s name before launching in to a story about doing makeup on elephants, fighting a drunk Bea Arthur and flirting with Betty White. Having grown up on shows like Soap and Land of the Lost I laughed at his stories of those experiences and could not believe I was in the presence of such a legend. I wondered at that time if he was truly aware of the impact he had made on the lives of so many artists. I could not have known it at that moment, but Maurice would soon become a mentor for me and Cinema Secrets would become like a second home.
The brand could not be what it is today, and has been over the past 30 years, without the master himself at the helm through the years. With a career that spans decades, Maurice is decidedly one of the most important figures in our makeup industry and Cinema Secrets is still — as it heads into its fourth decade – one of the most important companies in the business. In the pro artist arena, from a product and education position as well as culturally and emotionally, there is only one Cinema Secrets. From his first job in makeup, Maurice took on the makeup industry head on. He earned a reputation as a problem solver and was always looking for new ways to make applications easier and keep clients comfortable. This was really the basis for his developing Cinema Secrets, along with some of the company’s most iconic products.
Early on, Maurice discovered the need for products that would mitigate the danger of cross contamination from sharing product between clients. He began to experiment with scooping the makeup from the primary package with a metal spatula and placing it on a palette to prevent spreading germs. Inspiration struck when he had the brilliant idea to try his old army signal mirror. It was a magical moment – that product is now the noted Maurice Stein Cinema Secrets palette.
Throughout the last four decades, Maurice continued to grow his career working on iconic products and projects including Star Trek, The Flying Nun, The Golden Girls and Planet of the Apes. It was his work on Planet of the Apes, in fact, that turned Maurice on to teaching and became the start of an entirely new area of work for Cinema Secrets.
During the production of the film, Maurice was asked to join a group of six other artists who would be teaching the now legendary ape makeup look to a large team hired to make up the overwhelming number of actors. Maurice realized how much he loved teaching these artists. Watching them as they started to grasp the technique and the understanding of product brought back memories of his first makeup and how he had taught himself on the first day of his career. While Planet of the Apes is considered one of Maurice’s biggest film projects, he also looks back on that as his very first teaching job and the day he decided to educate fellow artists.
With his generous nature and need to always try new things, Maurice would soon look to bring the transformative power of makeup, and Cinema Secrets, to the medical community. Maurice’s work with burn-survivors, including a 9-year-old from Norway, revealed the industry’s need for longer-lasting, fuller coverage foundation. Once again Maurice was inspired to add something new to his resume: thus was born the Cinema Secrets Foundation, created to cover look like a second skin while covering two to three times better than what was on the market at that time. Cinema Secrets foundation was also the first cosmetic line created to be inclusive of each and every skin tone, helping makeup artists do their job better and faster.
In 1985, Maurice and Barbara opened the Cinema Secrets store in Burbank. Their sons, Michael and Danny, and their daughter, Deborah, soon joined the team and Maurice retired from working in film and television to focus on the family business. But he didn’t stray far from studio-life as he would often be brought onto sets to show makeup artists and teams how they could do the job in half the time and save the production money along with that time.
Thirty years later, Cinema Secrets is still an integral part of so much of our industry and the man behind it all still makes his way to the Cinema Secrets store and offices every day. Retirement for a visionary, fixer, storyteller and idea man does not come easily. Nor does a day go by without some of the biggest stars from both sides of the camera stopping in to see him. This year Cinema Secrets celebrates 30 years of being a place where artists come together and find the resources they need to be successful in their artistry and career. We are all so grateful to Maurice and the family for being not only a resource and product line, but a family to so many of us along the way.
Words James Vincent
Photos Provided by Cinema Secrets