Cecille Baun: The Living Legend You Should Already Know About
Utter her name amidst those in the entertainment-know and you’ll hear endless praise
Cecille Baun is a name most of us are probably unfamiliar with, despite the strides and innovations that she pioneered in the Philippine film industry. Her story is one of despair, hope, utmost perseverance and inevitable success.
She sits with the poise and grace that most women her age just seem to carry. When she tells us her story, she speaks quietly in a tone of nostalgia that brings us to a time before digital became the norm. Things were simpler then, thanks to her.
When Cecille’s husband unexpectedly died young, she knew she had to find a way to provide for her children. She dabbled in what women with vocational education could do then—she sold makeup, did demos and expanded her network. In mastering her craft, she started to get invited to work on actors’ makeup in movie sets. And when the directors saw her talent, she was asked to do much more.
It was the little things at first like a wound here, a scar there and maybe some oozing blood. Then the love of prosthetics just seemed to come naturally. Cecille was never formally trained; her talent was innate and she just needed the opportunity to let it grow.
"Gusto ko yung kusang dumadating sakin na hindi ko pinag-aralan sa ano na kaya kong gawin"
We owe the world’s first glimpses of the tianaks, the manananggals and the kapres to Cecille. It was her mind and hands that molded the landscape for some of the scariest beings in Philippine cinema. It’s hard to believe that most of it was a result of experimentation, but that’s just how she worked.
"Nagkaron ako ng idea. Basta alam mo lang ang gagamitin mo at hindi makakapinsala, pwede"
With decades in the industry behind her, Cecille now lives a slower-paced life. She no longer works hours upon hours on gruesome monsters and torn bodies. Once in a while, she will teach, consult and get her hands dirty, but the years have done their part in slowing down this legend in cinema.
Now, it’s her children that lap up the opportunity to work on a movie set. It’s her children that are helping keep prosthetics alive. It seems, no matter how advanced technology will get, there will always be a need for human touch.