Bretman Rock Is Kind Of Like A Prettier Jesus
He shares with Elite Daily the secret to his flowing hair, his skin care routine, the beauty trends he hates, and more.
In They’re Lit, Elite Daily highlights the men, trans, and nonbinary creators in the beauty industry who are busting through antiquated gender boundaries and proving beauty is, and always will be, for everyone. In this installment, unforgettable beauty influencer and reality star Bretman Rock talks his plans to conquer the world beyond beauty, his love of coconuts, and the beauty trends he can’t stand.
Bretman Rock is kind of like a prettier Jesus. This isn’t a dig at Lorde; it’s just my observation. He turns eyeshadow into art. He can subconsciously summon hoards of toads to his garden. His long, flowing hair is enough to attract millions of loyal followers. With brand deals soaring past the walls of beauty, the 23-year-old is inching closer and closer to omnipresence. “[Growing up], I just wanted to be a star. I feel like I always knew that beauty was going to be my first stepping stone to achieve everything that I wanted to achieve ... but I also knew that beauty is not where Bretman Rock ends,” Rock tells me over the phone recently. “I just have so many things to offer.”
Among those things? Lewks, to start. Tons of ‘em. Just before our interview, Rock went to the DMV to renew his driver’s license wearing a full ‘fit and glam as if Anna Wintour herself were going to be taking his ID photo. “You know me,” he says, “anything that has to do with pictures, even if it's an ID, I will be taking it like I'm going to the Met [Gala].” Paramount to the beauty and fashion looks on which Rock has built his career, though, is his authenticity. Since joining YouTube in 2012, Rock has offered beauty lovers a space to laugh and to learn — an open community that isn’t smothered by rules, gender binaries, or exclusivity. Regardless of whether or not you’re the spiritual type, that’s a pretty solid cause to get behind.
But while Rock began his career as a beauty influencer, he refuses to sit pretty in a 16x9 box on YouTube with mascara and an eyeshadow palette. As Rock’s influence bleeds past beauty’s boundaries, he “feels a shift in [his] career” and is ready to, hopefully, inspire even more people with his unapologetic personality. And thanks to a number of new opportunities, including his most recent one with coconut water brand Vita Coco, those stars are finally aligning. “We love working with people who are the real deal and not afraid to show who they are,” says a representative for Vita Coco, who notes that the brand and Rock had hoped to partner for years, ever since Vita Coco appeared in Rock’s “coconut water of the day” series on Instagram. “I had gone to a Pacific Food Market, and I noticed that there was a whole aisle of just coconut water, a whole wall, and I literally grabbed one from each brand. I wasn't even looking; I think, in total, I grabbed 32 different brands of coconut water,” he says. “And Vita Coco came out on top.”
Rock could wax on about coconut forever — and he does. He tells me how he eats it, drinks it, and uses it to grow out his long, wavy hair, among other somewhat controversial practices. “B*tch, you know what I did with it? I use it all the time at the beach,” he says. “I use [the Vita Coco coconut oil] as my sunscreen. I know it's really bad for you, but I don't give a f*ck.” (Perhaps that’s one of Rock’s teachings we should all conveniently forget.) But as a Filipino influencer, Rock holds the brand in high regard, as it sources its ingredients from the Philippines and pours its resources back into those communities with its Vita Coco Project. In honor of World Coconut Day, Rock also designed a Vita Coco merch collection, the proceeds from which will benefit the Vita Coco Project.
Ahead, Rock shares his skin care routine, overcoming his fears of breaking into the beauty world, and the big plans he’s ready for fans to see next.
Elite Daily: First of all, drop your current skin care routine.
Bretman Rock: Right now, I'm really going for “simplicity is more.” So to be honest with you, I don't use anything fancy on my face. I notice that whenever I try to do something fancy or buy expensive products, it always does worse for my skin than better. So now I've just been using Curology. But at night, there's a night cream that comes with that, and I just feel like it's so drying, so I put coconut oil on top of it. It just makes it so much better because I'm not trying to go to sleep and wake up dry as hell, you know what I mean?
ED: Yeah, 100%. What is the weirdest skin care trend or treatment you've ever tried?
BR: I think there was a trend going on in 2018 with the squiggly brows or something, and I don't know why people thought that was cute. That was definitely weird.
ED: Name one current beauty trend you absolutely love and one you think is a total scam.
BR: I've been seeing people do a reverse cat-eye on TikTok, and I think it's really cute, especially because I never really tried to put eyeliner underneath my eyes and smudge it out, thinking that wouldn’t look good for my eye shape, but it's actually more perfect for my eye shape than a cut crease would be. One trend that I don't think is cute right now... it's not really a trend, but there are these b*tches out here that think sunscreen is not cute. People are retaliating against sunscreen, and that is not f*cking cute because you need sunscreen at all times. I don't know why that's a trend. I don't know why people want to look like they're 80 years old when they're 18. B*tch, no.
ED: OK, I'm glad we are on board with that, because you scared me a little bit when you were like, "Coconut oil is my sunscreen."
BR: No, I still use sunscreen. Trust me, I still do.
ED: Who taught you what you know about beauty?
BR: I first started in beauty because my grandma was such a beauty star to me. She was my first beauty icon ever. I watched her get ready for church all the time. And also, there was this one time when we went to church and she put blush on me. Girl, I could have sworn I was the most unclockable girl at church. My grandma really taught me everything I know, and she put my first makeup on me, and she's always told me that I could be both beautiful and handsome. And I feel like that's why I live this non-binary life.
ED: That's so sweet. I love her.
BR: That's my girl. That's my beauty guru.
ED: Obviously, you've been in the public eye for a while now. Walk me through your most memorable day since you've blown up.
BR: One of my most memorable moments since blowing up would probably be when I won the [MTV Movie Awards Breakthrough Social Star], and I was the first [influencer] recipient ever ... I just thought it was such a big deal to be the first [influencer] awarded, and come on, it's MTV. MTV literally raised me. I just thought it was such a full-circle moment, and I was hot that day, too. I was really cute at the red carpet and at my speech, so yeah, I remember it because I was cute.
ED: Breaking into the beauty industry is easier for cisgender white women than it is for anybody who identifies as anything else. For you, what was the hardest or scariest part of breaking into the beauty industry?
BR: For me, it would have to be the fact that I started off really young. I was 16 or 17 at the time, going to meetings and events, and who's going to take a 16-year-old seriously? I felt like it took me a minute to be taken seriously in the industry. And on top of that, I'm obviously a boy, a gay man, so that was another thing I had to face. And to be honest with you, you are very much correct. Going into events, a lot of faces didn't look like mine. So it was really easy to feel like I didn't belong.
ED: And look at you now, though. You literally showed everybody.
BR: Yeah, girl, I'm that big.
ED: Looking back and knowing that you felt you were going to be a star, what's the unfiltered, brutally honest advice that you would give your younger self?
BR: I would say, “B*tch, people are going to motherf*cking tell you who you should be, who you are, who your friends should be, how you should walk, how you should talk. They are going to criticize every single thing that you do because you're young and you're stupid, and that's because you obviously put your life out there. Just because people don't understand that, and others don't fully understand you, that doesn't mean what you're doing is wrong. Just keep going, because there's so many more people out there that are rooting for you.”
ED: You've conquered beauty, and you're moving into a bigger lifestyle arena. What can fans expect from you next?
BR: I would say, expect me, Bretman Rock, to be on bigger screens, because he is tired of being on your phones. The phone is too tiny to really see how fat my *ss is. So, yeah, the world is going to see my fat *ss on bigger screens soon.