MUA and YouTube star, Bretman Rock, should actually start a career in motivational speaking
We are so excited to announce that Galore’s newest Cover Boy for our Proud To Be Issue is the makeup queen and YouTube star, Bretman Rock!
Bretman is famous for his amazing makeup skills, yes, but he also offers up so much more. His outgoing and larger-than-life personality, mixed with his determination to be wholly himself, is inspiring – his fans, arguably, are fans mainly because of this.
The MUA rose to fame pretty quickly, and if you follow any of his social media, it’s obvious why. The world definitely feels like it’s lacking on positivity, and Bretman brings a bright light to the Internet that people instantly gravitate to.
On top of his stunning presence, he is also an extremely talented makeup artist. You can see for yourself on his socials and in the photoshoot (yes, he does all his own stunts!). His insane makeup skills are obviously another big reason that the Internet is obsessed with Bretman.
We sat down with Bretman to discuss gays being goddesses, guys in the makeup world, his must-have beauty items, and where tf to highlight. Check out the exclusive interview and cover shoot below!
When you first began on YouTube, would you have expected to be as successful as you are now?
Yes. I have always dreamed about this. I’ve always wanted to be known for something, and when I started YouTube, the minute I pressed “upload,” I said, “I’m going to be famous.” And when it came, I wasn’t even surprised.
How does your personality play a role and set you apart in your success?
I think my personality is very outlandish and very out there. I say things that people don’t want to say. I like to think that I am everyone’s alter ego in their head. I say things that you know you want to say, and I damn well say it, too.
You’ve documented most of your adolescence on social media – what is the biggest difference you’ve noticed about yourself from when you started filming to now?
Physically, I feel like my nose lost weight. Like, my nose was definitely fatter before. And mentally, I never thought I was this mentally strong. I thought I was going to be a pussy ass bitch and let haters get to me but it’s gotten better over time – I literally don’t give a fuck.
You just released a collaboration with Morphe, what was the experience like creating a highlight palette? What’s your favorite highlight?
It was honestly such a long process. I never really ever thought that making a palette, or any product at all, would take almost two years. But I mean, perfection takes time and diamonds are definitely made out of pressure – so I think I made a diamond. My favorite highlight palette is obviously ‘Babe in Paradise.’
But, my favorite specific highlight depends on my skin tone, moment in time, and when you ask me. Right now, I’m a medium to tan skin tone, so I really, really, really love the shade ‘Mahu,’ which comes from the term “the third gender,” which was inspired by the Hawaiian language.
In history, gay people were looked up to as goddesses. So, when I wear ‘Mahu,’ I feel like a gay ass, motherfuckin’ goddess. Buy it now at MorpheBrushes.com and in Ulta Beauty stores nationwide through August 15.
Chains: The Gold Gods, Trench coat and briefs: Versace, Boots: Helmut Lang
Crown: Leciel Design, Chains: The Gold Gods, Train coat and briefs: Versace, Boots: Helmut Lang
How important is it to you to be representing the gay community, especially through something like beauty and makeup (which is still so polarizing for some reason)?
The fact that this is still a thing boggles me. We are stuck in a time and place where people are told makeup is just for girls – I don’t want to limit this generation. If you want to say, “boys can’t wear makeup,” go live in the 70s, 80s or 90s, bitch. I think that the representation of male beauty gurus, or beauty gurus in general, is very important.
When I was growing up, I didn’t have any access to gay beauty gurus to look up to, and now it’s so cool to see little boys want to pursue something I could never dream of as a kid. It means so much to me when little boys come up to me and say, “I want to do what you do,” or, “I want to be like you.” That is amazing because I never had that.
What does Pride month mean to you?
A month for everyone who is involved with gayness, you don’t have to be gay, but as long as you accept it and support it. It’s a month to be yourself. I think it speaks for itself. It’s a Pride month. It’s a month to be loud, and a month to be proud. To be gay as fuck. It’s also a time to honor gay people who have fought for our community in the past.
I would not be on the cover of Galore if the first gay people were not there to fight for my life. Sometimes, I think people forget there is a history behind Pride month, but it’s more than that. It’s the whole history of how our community has evolved.
What was it like growing up gay in Hawaii?
Well, literally this is a gay state. Our license plate is a rainbow. A lot of people here are very accepting of gays, so it’s very hard for people to judge me too, too much. I was never really bullied about being gay, but more about my flamboyance.
I grew up in the Philippines with my dad, and my mom was in Hawaii. I remember my dad sitting me down and asking me why I was dancing around like a ballerina, and asked if I wanted to be a ballerina, and I said, “Yes, of course!” I remember on my fourth or fifth birthday, he got me a toy car with Barbies inside, and this was the first time I felt accepted and that I didn’t have to like boy stuff.
What do you have to say to anyone who says that boys can’t or shouldn’t wear makeup?
The contrast between having a career that took off digitally and growing up in one of the most beautiful landscapes worldwide is pretty surreal. How do you think the contrast shaped you? If you had to choose, would you pick the digital world or beaches?
Bitch…I would pick beaches any day.
What were your favorite things to do growing up?
I was always making videos when I was growing up. I used to take my mom’s skincare and make practice videos selling the product. So when I was younger I always loved pretending I was in a big production. I would always watch every single “America’s Next Top Model” marathon and do poses. I would always practice Tyra’s lines, “I have 5 photos in my hand, and only 4 of you will continue.”
I would do photo shoots with my guinea pigs, spend my hard-earned money to develop the pictures, and then line my guinea pigs up and read to them, “I have 4 pictures in my hands, and only 3 of you will continue in the hopes of being the Next..Top..Ginnybitch.” There were a lot of things I did when I was younger which shaped me into who I am today. Who the hell takes pictures of their guinea pigs?
If you had to pick one song as your theme song, what would it be?
“Lucky,” by Britney motherfuckin’ Spears. When my parents were getting divorced and they would be arguing, I would just be minding my own business on the side and play my dad’s cassette tapes.
He had a Britney one, and I would always look in the mirror and lip-sync for my life. It doesn’t necessarily relate to my life, but I think because I kept playing from such a young age, I believe my life was an entire music video to “Lucky.”
Do you have any advice for someone who is struggling with their identity?
Once you are true to yourself, and have found the person that you are, you are unstoppable. Once you are in love with yourself and put yourself first, nobody can tell you otherwise. I think people lack self-love.
A lot of people who struggle with who they are is because they don’t like themselves, and let themselves love themselves. You can be straight but also hate yourself. I think it’s more than finding who you are as a person – but loving yourself.
What is one issue you are passionate about improving in today’s society?
I really want to start donating my extra makeup to women who are domestically abused. I am really passionate about this because I am very close with women in my life who were abused. I don’t tell them to wear makeup, but when they do, I feel that it gives them confidence.
If I can give confidence to someone, that is really important to me as an influencer. I really want to help any woman who was domestically abused. You can never know what makeup can do to someone’s confidence.
Your family is a big part of your life – how do you balance both your career and personal life?
I used to post videos with my mom – but it’s different reading comments about myself vs. reading comments about your parents, so that is a big reason I stopped making videos with her. I am able to handle the comments received for myself, but it really starts to affect me when people say my mom, “should go kill herself” or she is a “bad mom.”
I know that if I can’t handle the hate on what I have to say, or know I shouldn’t be talking about it. I just don’t put it out. I think you need to find the balance of what you want people to see and what you don’t want them to see.
Crown: Leciel Design, Chains: The Gold Gods, Briefs: Versace, Long, gold chain: Moschino, Earrings: Replika Vintage, Boots: Charles and Ron
Crown: Leciel Design, Chains: The Gold Gods, Briefs: Versace, Long chain: Moschino, Earrings: Replika Vintage, Boots: Charles and Ron
For someone who is struggling to come out, what would be the best piece of advice you have for them?
I know everyone will say it gets better, and it honestly really does, but if I was closeted, that is the last thing that I would want to hear, because you hear that from everyone. But, it also takes time. I think a lot of people who are scared to come out are not ready. Just take your time and come out when you are ready.
What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome throughout this journey?
Taxes. That shit they did not teach in high school – very rude and fuckin’ disrespectful. I started filing taxes while I was in school and I had nobody to ask about it. Even with an accountant and financial advisor, it’s still such a hard thing to do.
You recently became an uncle to your adorable niece, Cleo, what do you hope she learns from you and your cultural background?
Cleo is Samoan and Filipino. Cultural background-wise, I want her to understand Ilocano, because growing up I was always shy about this. But, now that I’m grown, I’m like, “I’m talented as fuck! Half of ya’ll can only speak one language, and here I am being that bitch that can speak three.”
So, I just want her to love herself and appreciate herself as a person. If I could teach Cleo something it would be to put herself first all the time, and be happy and love yourself. This is the same thing I want for anyone in my life.
Top 5 must-have beauty items right now?
Right now, I recommend the Bretman Rock x Morphe ‘Babe in Paradise’ highlighter palette. I also like my brow pencil, blush, lip balm, and a moisturizer.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you imagine your life be like today?
Honestly, I’ve always thought I was going to be success, so even though I might not be doing this now I would be still continuing to work for this now. However, for when I’m 21, I signed up for fire school in Atlanta to train as a firefighter.
In school, during career days, I always loved the firefighters which has made me want to become one. Imagine me going to work as a firefighter – with a smokey eye.
What is your dream collaboration?
Right now I live for Ms. Rihanna, so maybe Fenty Beauty x Bretman Rock!
You’ve been super into working out lately. What is your workout regime like?
I work out 5 times a week and extra cardio on the weekends. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I do body weight lifting, including Olympic training. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to Crossfit.
In your opinion, what are the most important places to highlight?
It’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. I would say your cheeks, of course, to add drama, your upper lip (that cupid’s-bow moment), tip of your nose/ nose bridge, and most important is your ears. I really recommend highlighting your ears, because hearing aids are very expensive and if you highlight your ears, it helps with your hearing. I can hear bitches talking shit from all the way here in Hawaii.
Who are some of your biggest makeup inspirations?
Growing up in the Philippines, I was always watching pageant shows and was always mesmerized with how cute and simple their makeup was. I think this is why my makeup today is natural, humble beat. I like to look regal and pageant-ready.
What are some things that people don’t typically know about you?
Some people might know that I ran track, but people don’t know that I was actually good at running. I placed at the state level in high school for hurdles and originally planned to go to college for it.
What are some goals you’re hoping to accomplish soon?
I want to give back. Give back to my lova hoes and get back at these haters. I really want to start a show. I want to do a reality Bretman Rock show and just continue to be myself.
Brows or lips?
Highlight or contour?
Damn, you already know the answer. It’s highlight!
Do you have any words of advice for young adults in the LGBTQ who are out there trying to chase their dreams?
Chasing your dreams starts with chasing it. Some of y’all be saying you have dreams, but none of y’all are chasing shit. Your dream is not going to land in your lap. So, get the fuck up, be gay, and start. Cause chasing a dream starts with chasing, and some of yall are jogging – even crawling. Chase after that, because everyone else wants your dream.
Someone else out there wants to do the exact same thing, and it’s going to be whoever starts first, and at the end of the day which bitch finishes. I’m not trying to talk like this because I did track, but run. Sometimes people get so comfortable with where they are in life when they hit a certain success they don’t see how far they can go.
Just keep chasing.
Chains: The Gold Gods, Earrings: Replika Vintage, Gloves: Maison the Faux, Boots: Stylist’s own
Chains: The Gold Gods, Coat: Michael Ngo, Earrings: Replika Vintage, Gloves: Maison the Faux
Chains: The Gold Gods, Gloves: Maison the Faux
Chains: The Gold Gods, Trench coat and briefs: Versace, Boots: Helmut Lang
Chains: The Gold Gods, Gloves: Maison the Faux, Boots: Stylist’s own
Photos by Jacqueline Kulla
Art Direction / Artwork by Lisa Yoo
Styling by Drew Manares @ Wilhelmina Artists
Assistant Styling by Jon Fierro
Production Design by Kade Jones
Makeup and Hair by Bretman Rock