TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Helena I Am

Annika Glac, Robyn Kershaw



On the eve of a prestigious "Life" magazine interview, the billionaire makeup mogul Helena Rubinstein is brutally attacked in her opulent penthouse. With her global empire on the decline and determined to secure her place in the pantheon of the greats, she covers up her black eye and swans into the interview.

She is shocked to find the young journalist Sarah Lee is not after her polished spin but is digging for Helena’s untold story. How did Helena without education, money or connections build a billion-dollar make-up empire from outback Australia with only the grease from sheep’s wool?

As the battle between truth and fiction begins, we discover the scars at the heart of Helena’s mysterious past and why she has worked so hard to hide them.

This is the untold true story of a woman who made up who she was in her quest to build a technicolor world of glamour – in a world entirely dominated by men – an empire from New York to Paris… only to discover that success came at a staggering price.


What stories do we tell about ourselves, and what
do we hide?

Just like Helena Rubinstein, I am a migrant with two
places I call home – Poland and Australia. So the themes of identity and reinvention have always been close to my heart. Underneath Helena’s determination to recreate herself, is a woman desperate to find her place in the world. This alienation and fear galvanised her to make up stories and hustle at a time in history when women had no real mechanism to financial freedom and personal power. The only thing you have when you have nothing is the power to create your own story. It is remarkable that through her own personal pain and reinvention Helena pioneered a brand-new industry while empowering all women to take
their rightful place in the foreground of the modern world.

This is a complex portrait about a magnificent billionaire trying to do her best, while making other women feel beautiful.

The unbelievable true story of Helena Rubinstein, the outcast, the trickster, the billionaire.
Annika Glac

Film Director, Writer

Robyn Kershaw