PA­TRICK STARRR

With over four mil­lion ador­ing sub­scribers on YouTube, and a host of A-list fans in­clud­ing Katy Perry and Kim Kar­dashian, this trail­blazer is lead­ing the rev­o­lu­tion of men em­brac­ing the power of makeup.

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“I may be a big girl, but a big girl can move, honey! One leg at a time,” Pa­trick Starrr laughs as he re­calls film­ing the mu­sic video for his de­but sin­gle Got The Glam. The sur­prise re­lease saw him serve lewks for days, a face beat for the gods (as al­ways), and even some sick­en­ing vogue-in­spired chore­og­ra­phy – and don’t even get us started on his fierce fol­lowup sin­gle Don’t.

“A lot of peo­ple don’t know that I’m very much a busi­ness and mar­ket­ing-savvy per­son,” he says,”so for Diva Feva, which was my third col­lec­tion with MAC Cos­met­ics, I didn’t want The Kids – that’s what I call my sub­scribers – to be bored, y’know? I was like, ‘Let me’ – dare I say it – ‘shit on th­ese kids. Let me put some cre­ative juices out and let them be floored. Let me just drop this thing out of nowhere.’ That was my mar­ket­ing strat­egy, to have fun and do some­thing Pa­trick Starrr has never done be­fore.”

Makeup tu­to­ri­als with A-list celebri­ties, col­lab­o­ra­tions with one of the bižest beauty brands in the world, and a series of glam­orous mu­sic videos; it may look ef­fort­less now, but it’s taken hard work and plenty of ded­i­ca­tion to get here. Pa­trick first dis­cov­ered his pas­sion for makeup when he was just 15 years old, a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion from a love of makeover and fash­ion shows like The Swan and Amer­ica’s Next Top Model. “I was re­ally in­spired by that first gen­er­a­tion of makeover shows,” he re­calls, “they would al­ways use makeup, and that’s when I re­ally fell in love with it.”

But like many young queer peo­ple dis­cov­er­ing hob­bies and in­ter­ests out­side of gen­der norms, Pa­trick ini­tially kept his new­found love of makeup a se­cret from his par­ents. “Of course I hid it,” he con­fesses. “I would steal what was in my mom’s makeup drawer and just play with makeup when­ever I could.” His par­ents are his bižest sup­port­ers now – they even ap­peared in his Don’t mu­sic video – but they were ini­tially un­sure what to think of their son wear­ing makeup.

“They didn’t un­der­stand,” he says. “I started wear­ing makeup be­cause I wanted to know how prod­ucts worked on me. I was frus­trated that I didn’t know how makeup felt or what the ex­pe­ri­ence was when it came to my skin type or tex­ture, so that’s when I started wear­ing it, and my par­ents were so con­fused. My rea­son­ing to my par­ents for wear­ing makeup was to tell them, ‘Hey, I’m wear­ing it be­cause it’s a job and I can make money from this’.”

Pa­trick first found fame through YouTube, like many so­cial me­dia in­flu­encers from his gen­er­a­tion. What started with a sim­ple, low-bud­get morn­ing makeup rou­tine video back in 2013 has rapidly trans­formed into a busi­ness for the gifted in­di­vid­ual, with over 4 mil­lion sub­scribers and 250 mil­lion video views racked up on the plat­form. But it wasn’t in­ten­tional, as he was ini­tially just look­ing for an out­let for his cre­ativ­ity, and hop­ing to spread that pos­i­tiv­ity to oth­ers.

“When I started YouTube it wasn’t to have fol­low­ers or any­thing, it was be­cause a lot of my friends told me to start a chan­nel,” he says. “It wasn’t for me, it was more for the peo­ple who don’t have the means to do it, or the con­fi­dence, or the proper sup­port to do so. When I see peo­ple who find refuge in my chan­nel, that speaks more to me, be­cause the makeup comes off at the end of the day.”

It wasn’t un­til brands started reach­ing out to him to col­lab­o­rate that he re­alised be­ing a fig­ure­head for the male makeup com­mu­nity could be a le­git­i­mate ca­reer path. But be­ing a trail­blazer comes with in­evitable back­lash, and the YouTube com­ments sec­tion has a no­to­ri­ously poor

rep­u­ta­tion for bring­ing out the worst in big­oted view­ers.

“Oh my God, I get thou­sands of nasty com­ments ev­ery day,” Pa­trick says, seem­ingly un­both­ered. “But for me to be able to con­trol what peo­ple see and fil­ter that hate out, I’m able to cre­ate a pos­i­tive space for peo­ple to come into. So yeah, I do get thou­sands of nasty com­ments, but they’re fil­tered, and they go straight into the trash bin. So let’s say a 10 year old watches my videos and they want to look for hate­ful com­ments, they’re not gonna find them on my page, be­cause I’ve con­trolled it so much and fil­tered so many words out that par­ents can find con­fi­dence for their chil­dren to watch my chan­nel and see only pos­i­tiv­ity.”

YouTube has faced con­tro­versy from some queer cre­ators over re­cent years, who claim that their con­tent has been de­mon­e­tised, put be­hind an age re­stric­tion, or hid­den en­tirely just for speak­ing about LGBTQ top­ics – par­tic­u­larly those re­gard­ing trans­gen­der is­sues. Oth­ers say an­tiLGBTQ ad­verts have been placed on videos geared to­wards the com­mu­nity. YouTube in­sists that its plat­form isn’t bi­ased, blam­ing sys­tem er­rors for any such in­stances, and the de­bate is on­go­ing. But for Pa­trick, the web­site has been a bless­ing, and has opened his tal­ent up to the world.

“It’s an amaz­ing plat­form,” he says, “It not only lets me be recog­nised by mil­lions of peo­ple around the world, but also by celebri­ties. To be able to col­lab­o­rate with some of the bižest names of our time like Kim Kar­dashian, Katy Perry and Tyra Banks is in­cred­i­ble. Th­ese are pow­er­ful women from all dif­fer­ent gen­res. Kim’s a mogul, Katy’s a pop star and Tyra’s a su­per­model, so to have them be in­ter­ested in me, and want to col­lab­o­rate with me, that only am­pli­fies my vis­i­bil­ity with their fol­low­ing. For them to trust a space like YouTube, let alone some­one like me on that plat­form, speaks vol­umes for the plat­form and the in­flu­ence that YouTube has.”

The best part of work­ing with A-lis­ters, Pa­trick says, is “de-mys­ti­fy­ing” the aura that sur­rounds them and al­low­ing view­ers to see them on a hu­man level. It’s cer­tainly some­thing he has a tal­ent for, with the likes of Keke Palmer and Paris Hil­ton mak­ing laid-back, makeup-free ap­pear­ances on his YouTube chan­nel for his adored tu­to­ri­als – and a good old-fash­ioned kiki while they’re at it.

“I think peo­ple see me as a nor­mal per­son, and then for me to in­ter­act with them, just the chem­istry above all with each celebrity, it nor­malises them,” he ex­plains. “Kim was just beyond com­pare, and for her mother, I just slid into her DMs like, ‘Hey Kris, do you wanna do a video?’ and she was like, ‘Let me ask Kylie... sure, Kylie loves that idea!’ I was like, ‘Holy shit, this is crazy!’ I had so much fun with Kris, and for me to have two of the Kar­dashi­ans on my chan­nel is in­cred­i­ble. Katy was so sweet too, and I even got to do her makeup again af­ter that ex­pe­ri­ence, and with Tyra I got to be on Amer­ica’s Next Top Model af­ter that. So for me to cre­ate those amaz­ing re­la­tion­ships, and for them to trust a mere mor­tal like me, it says a lot. When Tyra asked me to be on her show, Amer­ica’s Next Top Model, I was shook. That was just amaz­ing.”

Be­ing a role model with the plat­form he has is also im­por­tant to Pa­trick. “I preach about self-love, self-care, pos­i­tiv­ity and I think a lot of peo­ple don’t have that in their lives,” he says. “It’s some­thing you can’t buy, but it’s also some­thing that peo­ple want. So if it’s me on their phone or their com­puter telling them that they’re wor­thy, then that’s enough for me, and I feel like I have that gift to help peo­ple see what they don’t see in them­selves. It’s al­most like makeup, y’know? I think when it comes to makeup, that’s what I’m good at, and I can look at some­one and say, ‘She would look so great in a lash and brows’, but to see beyond the face and see the in­ner beauty in peo­ple is also im­por­tant.”

Un­for­tu­nately, while the beauty world has ac­cepted male makeup artists like Pa­trick with open arms, the gay com­mu­nity still stružles with its own bar­ri­ers of in­ter­nalised ho­mo­pho­bia and femme-sham­ing. While Pa­trick may (for the most part) have es­caped the first-hand ef­fects of this prej­u­dice, it’s still a con­cern for him – es­pe­cially when it comes to look­ing for a re­la­tion­ship.

“I def­i­nitely see it,” he says. “I wouldn’t say that I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced it per­son­ally, but I do know that it’s out there, and that’s def­i­nitely one of my in­se­cu­ri­ties about be­ing some­one in makeup. But I don’t wake up with lashes and con­tour, look­ing plas­tic, y’know? I’m a man at the end of the day, and I want love and I want a hus­band. But I feel like there is dis­crim­i­na­tion, and it’s a lit­tle dis­heart­en­ing for a com­mu­nity within the com­mu­nity to have that di­vide.”

What would he say to the peo­ple who don’t agree with him wear­ing makeup? “The makeup comes off at the end of the day,” he replies. “It’s a choice, and makeup is no dif­fer­ent to choos­ing what we eat or what we wear, it’s a choice, and it’s just a style. That’s all I have to say.”

It’s dis­ap­point­ing – but not sur­pris­ing – that

I don’t wake up with lashes and con­tour, look­ing plas­tic, y’know? I’m a man at the end of the day, and I want love

and I want a hus­band.

stigma still re­mains around men wear­ing makeup. While younger gen­er­a­tions of both gay and straight men have started to em­brace beauty rou­tines and self-care (and per­haps even a dab of con­cealer un­der the eyes), makeup for many is still a no-go zone, through fear of shat­ter­ing that oh-so-frag­ile im­age of mas­culin­ity. “I think it’s just be­gin­ning, it’s just the start of a move­ment, it’s still very new. Even be­ing [openly] gay is still very new, let alone men wear­ing makeup,” Pa­trick says, al­though he does be­lieve that men wear­ing makeup is “slowly” be­com­ing more ac­cepted.

“Us men in makeup who wear a full face, we’re not re­quir­ing men to step out in the same way,” he re­as­sures, “but I think it’s just a move­ment to say it’s OK for men to wear a lit­tle bit of makeup, and to take care of them­selves and look pre­sentable. There’s noth­ing wrong with that. I think slowly but surely it is start­ing to get ac­cepted, and a lot of that is thanks to the power of so­cial me­dia, but also on the busi­ness end of things, there’s the power of brand­ing.

“For ex­am­ple, with MAC Cos­met­ics be­ing a global brand, for them to part­ner with a gay man like my­self and do mul­ti­ple col­lec­tions, and then put me in stores around the world in ev­ery con­ti­nent, it’s just re­ally in­sane that they’re able to lever­age my voice and give me vis­i­bil­ity for who I am, what I stand for, and also just be­cause I love makeup too. That speaks vol­umes, and I think hav­ing that cred­i­ble source of a huge brand like MAC is one of the ways to nor­malise men in makeup.”

Now on his fourth col­lec­tion with MAC Cos­met­ics, aptly named Des­ti­na­tion Diva, Pa­trick has es­tab­lished him­self as a sta­ple in the makeup in­dus­try. Nat­u­rally, with so­cial me­dia moguls like Ri­hanna and Kim Kar­dashian gar­ner­ing im­mense suc­cess with their beauty lines, the next thing on Pa­trick’s bucket list is his own branded makeup range – “That’s the dream,” he says – and like ev­ery­thing else in his ca­reer, he’s de­ter­mined to make it hap­pen.

“I think what I have beyond any other in­flu­encer is all the in­tel that I’ve gained from work­ing with MAC,” he ex­plains. “I’ve been a sponge and I’ve learned the ins-and-outs of busi­ness and the whole she­bang. I feel like I would have a very suc­cess­ful makeup line, but I’m just try­ing to get through this year, and all the col­lab­o­ra­tions I have, and this next col­lec­tion com­ing up with MAC to flour­ish and fly. But yeah, that is my end goal. Once an idea goes off in my head, there’s no stop­ping me.”

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