The name says it all: Patrick Starrr is a beauty world superstar.
The Orlando native first became interested in beauty in high school, after he began shooting headshots for friends and experimenting with Photoshop to add makeup and erase blemishes. After he graduated, he continued both passions, working as a freelance photographer and at MAC Cosmetics, among other gigs. In 2014, he started his YouTube channel, which today has almost 4.5 million subscribers.
Since then, he's worked with everyone from Kim Kardashian, Kris and Kylie Jenner to Paris Hilton, Katie Perry and Naomi Campbell. And, with the launch of Beauty Coop, Patrick's agency and incubator for beauty influencers, he's now mentoring and managing talent, shaping their careers and brokering deals with cosmetics companies.
In the midst of it all, he's a breath of body positivity and inclusivity on the internet, loving his size, not hiding his baldness and inspiring plus size followers to love themselves. PAPER caught up with him to hear all about what it's like to be a makeup maestro, how he believes that makeup is a one-size fits all scenario and what he's been doing to stay amused during quarantine.
How do you feel about being plus size?
I love being able to show other plus size girls and boys that they can do it. I do want to maintain a healthy weight long-term, too. Sometimes I actually forget that I am plus size. Lol.
In terms of body positivity, I love it. I am able to express myself through fashion anytime I get the chance to step on a red carpet or at a photo shoot! I love that I am able to dress in my own unique personal style with my body type. I believe in mental health first. Am I happy? Am I doing what I love? Am I doing this for the right reasons? I'm checking in with myself mentally before checking in physically in the mirror. I think that's most important.
Has your size ever been an issue for you or have you always loved yourself?
I think even as people see me being confident and body positive, I still second guess myself. But I think for the fans, checking that and acknowledging that I have a platform, it's important for me to just be myself. Even being bald is a thing. And now I'm snapping and taking Instagram pictures and stories with my bald head fully out in the open. But I think it's just something, even at my age at 29, that the youth need to see.
You talk about growing up in a Filipino family and you're certainly one of the most famous Filipino Americans. What kind of feedback do you get from Filipinos around the world?
I just march to the beat of my own damn drum. I had an interview with a very, very, very famous Filipino celebrity, Kris Aquino. She's one of the former president's daughters. She's the most endorsed woman in the Philippines. She makes a cameo in the wedding scene of Crazy Rich Asians. She's the one that's like, "Hello!" to the main actress. And she said to me, "Wow, you are just so tan!" Because in Asia, the bright, light skin is so popular. But to have seen me on a global campaign in cosmetics plastered in every country beyond the Philippines, beyond the US, spooked her! Yes, I'm tan. Yes, I'm plus sized. Yes, I'm wearing a turban. I'm literally breaking all the laws of beauty in her face. And she was just so shocked. The video has lots of views and a lot of traditional Filipino people that are superfans of hers and watch her have recognized me. So, I think just being visible in that regard, to not just a global audience but the Philippines' audience too, really made an impression on her and viewers that are traditionally Filipino.
Do people in the Philippines generally appreciate what a global sensation you are? I mean, Kris Aquino aside?
Yeah, Filipinos are so prideful. We've had two Miss Universes already.
Does having gotten such acclaim help you with your insecurities or does it almost reinforce your insecurities because you're under a microscope?
I don't feel like I'm under a microscope at all. I have friends around me that humble my ass...
That tell me I ain't shit and—
What good friends! [laughs]
It's the best because they keep me grounded. They're super honest with me. It's all in good fun. I'd rather have people that aren't yes-men because I've been around celebrities and I've been around friends that have had yes-men around them. It's such a high totem pole instead of this structured building, that they fall really easily and that's not what I'm there for. But, in regards to being confident in my insecurities, does social media put pressure on it? No, because when I meet these people that come up and say hello and how I've changed their lives, I look at my portal of social media like a refugee center for people that are disowned or that don't have a place to go. They can come to my space and my portal and feel safe. I've taken steps to take away negative comments, to take away bad words, inappropriate language off my social media on purpose so there is a space for them.
What is your typical fan like? Do you have many plus size fans?
Oh my gosh, it is just all over. I go to this food market in LA, Smorgasburg, and every time there's always someone traveling and I'll see a little white girl, a little Asian girl. I'll see this big 'ole buff husband: "Yo, my wife loves you!" It's really cool to see that people are recognizing me or noticing me from YouTube and social media.
When you leave the house do you always have to have a full look going?
No. I... pshh, barely! Barely! When I first got recognized, I was so taken aback. Believe it or not, I was lifting weights at the gym in Orlando and this girl goes, "Oh my god, are you Patrick Starrr?" and I blinked and was like, "How the hell did she recognize me without all the makeup?" But because of the power of Instagram [Stories], it's inevitable that people recognize me without makeup. It's so funny, one time I went to this wig store in Santee Alley in Los Angeles and I told my assistant that was with me: "If I buy these clip-on bangs and tuck them into my turban... I can just get away with [not getting recognized]." Just to be stupid, just out of fun. As soon as I paid cash, $20, for these bangs, I slipped it under the turban, ruffled my bangs, turned around and paid...the store girl goes, "Are you Patrick Starrr?" I said: "Give me my fucking money back, girl!" [laughs] It was so hilarious. It was all fun.
[James] is a force to be reckoned with. He's a new kind of voice for the generation and with beauty in general, this industry is going to be forever progressive. You're going to learn. You're going to make mistakes. Are there enough shades? Are there not enough shades? Is there enough drama? Is there enough xyz? In regards to James, cancel culture is just a trend, but I think it's how you handle it post-trauma. I think he handled it very well. He's been socially active among his peers, among his brands, and most importantly, his fans. I think that's what's really important when it comes to being a person blessed with a large platform. It's how you handle it and to not take it for granted. He hasn't done that.
Interesting. It's funny because when I go around the world, young people ask me a lot about the Kardashian/ Jenners and also Jeffree Star. What are your thoughts about Jeffree?
He's an amazing businessperson. I know that there's controversy around him and there's controversy around everyone. I think from a business/social standpoint, the numbers are there. The viewership is there. Do some brands [not want] to partner with him? Yes. Do some praise the fact they're with him? Yeah. I think what's most important is even for me being so unconventional, me alone, being brown, being overweight, being bald, being crazy... I get it too. I have my share of haters too. I think what the best thing is about each individual is a strong sense of brand DNA. I'd rather see someone with a strong identity than none at all and that's what resonates with me the most.
She had her first-ever launch at her home. She had her contour and highlight stick. She did the first-ever swatches on me. I Snapchatted it, made it on the show and then she pulled me aside and said, "You know what would be really cool? I really want to see Youtubers do my makeup." I said in my head, "Bullshit. She is bluffing. She's just being so nice." It's my first time meeting her, I was like, "This will never happen." Then I attended VidCon and my brother was like, "Don't look at your emails. I have a surprise." My nosy ass was in my emails before he could run to the green room to tell me. So, I'm looking and it's from Kardashian-Jenner Communications and it's just like: "Kim Kardashian would love for you to do her makeup. Blah Blah Blah. Date." I was still in denial. This is fake. This is fake. This is fake. As soon as she walks in, I said, "Oh my god, you're a hologram." That's the first thing I said: "You're a hologram." It was just unbelievable for her... and she was so willing and able, which I think contributes to her success.
When you were young, did you have people who were beauty icons to you? Who inspired you to even experiment with makeup?
Not necessarily makeup, it was more media. TV shows like The Swan, Extreme Makeover, What Not to Wear, A Makeover Story on TLC. America's Next Top Model was one of my favorites. Tyra Banks specifically... when I started my channel, I didn't know who to blueprint or who to manifest my career after. Seeing Tyra, I literally paralleled my YouTube entrepreneurship after her. Being a minority in her space and myself being a minority in my space, I said, "She is a minority taking modeling to the next level on a platform like her channel and her show to exemplify credibility and authority in her industry." I said, "I have the same kind of starter pack in a different way. I'm a minority. I can show adversity, diversity, credibility, authority, in my space using makeup." As she took America's Next Top Model, I took my YouTube Channel and did the same. I foreshadowed boys in makeup already being a thing. It would be a thing with the power of RuPaul's Drag Race and gays and stylists and makeup artists. I thought how can I show authority? That's when I included my best friend on my channel, doing makeup on my mom, having my brothers do my makeup. It showed a sense of credibility in the sense that I could do more than just my own makeup and that's what happened. I think I've had the most celebrity collaborations on my beauty channel alone with Naomi Campbell, Paris Hilton, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian. It's crazy looking back on it.
It is crazy. Are there any people you are still fantasizing about collaborating with?
I just want to breathe in the same room as Oprah. She's life's greatest teacher and just to continue the sentiment, not only to me, but to the kids of what it takes to persevere through what she's gone through and to be successful... just to pass it on. The beauty community could use a little bit of Oprah.
A lot of the kids today are horrified by retouching. I'm a little bit more old school and I always felt like if we're going to be in a magazine, we want to look our best and have a little bit of help. What do you think about that?
I'm fine with retouching. The gag is when they see my ass in person and how ultimate the Patrick Starrr look is because people are like, "Wow you look so much better in person." I'm like, "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
I'm okay with retouching as long as you can back it up in person. I think there is a point of over-retouching, but for me...I Facetune. We all Facetune. That's what the new generation is. I just love when people get to see my makeup and my whole regalia in person and be shocked that I look just as good.
Do you have any plans for the future that you want to share or conquer?
I am just trying to take the wheel and inspire these kids with campaigning with The Beauty Coop. I think it's really cool because, at the end of the day, I cannot buy respect. I cannot pay these kids to respect me, but they can see that I created a campaign for two of my clients in Sephora, with their products, with their signature! All the new younger generation is like, "Damn, Patrick Starrr is doing the damn thing." I really don't have the time but make the time for them to show the industry as a leader in having run the gamut in beauty from MAC to Benefit to NYX to Ole Henriksen. It's amazing and it's possible. I could really shed light to these newcomers in the industry that they can make it too.
Finally, have you developed a beauty look for Zoom or Houseparty chats during quarantine? What's the look?
I'm happy to be giving my skin a break from all the full coverage I'm used to! If I do decide to wear makeup for virtual meetings, you can catch me wearing the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter all over my face applied and massaged with my hands with a little dusting of loose powder, mascara and a tinted lip balm from Tatcha!
How are you keeping busy and entertained during quarantine?
It doesn't get better than Disney+ and being quarantined. I love watching That's So Raven — literally my favorite show! I also enjoy making matcha from home with a little agave syrup to start my day
Photography: Patrick Starr