With an unparalleled success that is by all indications soaring by many standards, Patrick Starrr is staking his claim on the world of beauty.
If this were any other year, then the wispy tufts of bubblegum pink against a backdrop in a similar, but ever so light a shade would prove to be a sight visibly startling, until it eventually settles to a pleasant sense of calm. But this is 2020, a frame of time once heralded as one of abundant possibility, precise clarity, and sterling vision, until the violent wrath of nature’s revenge fanned its talons and bared its fangs in a revelation so sharp that it has dug itself deep into the dermis of our collective existence. Clinging unbelievably hard, the pandemic continues to ravage the very foundations our realities are built on, tearing away at our comforts and convenience of what once was. Really, nothing is that shocking anymore. Race supremacy? Check? Political upheaval? Check, check. Gender inequality and discrimination? Check, check, check.
But before a mental doomsday scroll got the better of the context, a force so bubbly and bright comes into focus from the confectionary puffs of pastel, warming up the scene with a big smile. “Happy birthday from the Philippines,” I say, greeting Patrick Starrr even before he could get a breath of a word in—we are time zones ahead after all, as this New York-hosted conversation is traced along the distance of Manila and Los Angeles. Ahead of his actual orbital revolution, it has been quite the week for the Filipino YouTube sensation and indefatigable content creator. In the span of a few days, the Ultimate Setting Powder, the latest addition to the emerging beauty empire of Patrick Starrr that is ONE/SIZE has officially been launched online and in select stores for Sephora, news broke on the highly-anticipated expansion of the brand to the Southeast Asian market (Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines) on a multitude of platforms, including a report from Vogue Business, and he managed to get in a few rounds of a boxing workout all before taking our call from miles away.
“[I’m in a] constant emotion of disbelief that this is something real. I think in the past few years, I’ve been so lucky and blessed to do what I love as a minority, as a gay plus-sized Filipino, makeup wearing man in this industry where I was not deemed the standard of media by any means,” he begins.”I always have to pinch myself every day. Is this real is this happening? Life goes by so fast, you know? It’s my birthday and, you know, we blink and it’s another year. And so, to counteract that that mentality of disbelief, to finally see products in people’s hands and to see the excitement, to see their content, to see them post about it, to see their receipts…It is a dream come true to see them have a little piece of me in their home and in their heart.” In just a span of an astonishing six months, ONE/SIZE, the beauty brand that Patrick Starrr built from the ground-up based off of his enduring nugget of wisdom: “Makeup is a one size fits all,” has grown and hit quite the stride from the initial GO OFF duo offering of juiciest makeup remover wipes and makeup dissolving mist, leaping bounds from the walls of the URL and into the IRL.
DEMOCRACY OF BEAUTY
“It means everything to me, because I had launched this brand not only on the dot com, but not even just in the US, but in Canada, too. To transcend just that border was a disbelief and for Sephora to carry ONE/SIZE Beauty was exciting to me. And ONE/SIZE stands for every brand of beauty, where we are continuing to redefine beauty by elevating voices of the unheard and the unseen. My goal is to create a space for everyone that feels safe. I want everyone, when I say everyone, everyone all around the world to feel like they can belong—and that includes people in the Philippines,” details Patrick Starrr on what it means to soon be able reach the motherland with a beauty line that is of pure imagination made reality. “So, as a Filipino-American, you know, to see other little Patrick Starrr’s that don’t have supportive parents, that don’t have supportive friends or that don’t have support of family, it really means a lot to me that we can share this sentiment of self-acceptance and love. That’s what my brand colors are red and pink, [because they] are the colors of of love.”
From what was initially a one-time collaboration, which to no surprise eventually became a five-part collection with the iconic MAC Cosmetics, the beauty institution that Patrick Starrr credits to have helped him get his start and wedge his foot at the door of makeup, he is now fully equipped to not only helm, but steer the ONE/SIZE dominion into future legendary status. “The difference is what I’ve done in the past was limited time only. There was there was a time stamp to that level of existence with my collaborations in the past. But with this, ONE/SIZE Beauty, where makeup is a one size fits all, I have something that is a legacy brand for me, that people are loving, that people are excited about, that people are willing to support, not just in terms of sales, but through culture and community,” he explains. “So, I hope that my little first step into this big world can hopefully spark change for inclusivity as an LGBTQ+ person in a community that we can shift globally. And even today we’re continuing to see segregation, discrimination, and prejudice, and that’s something that I don’t tolerate. If ONE/SIZE can do that through my GO OFF Makeup Dissolving Mist, and my Juiciest Makeup Removing Wipes, maybe we’re not here to just remove makeup, we can remove stigma, prejudice, and racism as an inclusive brand.”
It seems like a tall order by most standards, going against the deep-seated systemic institutional injustices, especially towards the LGBTQ+ community, but Patrick Starrr is determined to soldier on with his proposition of equality and acceptance through makeup. Carving out pockets of representation in a space that is fundamentally unkind to the marginalized, there is a steely sense of drive to this passion enshrined in the democracy of beauty. “It means a lot that there’s representation, not for just me, because I do have a lot of international followers you know? I’ll go live and I’ll see people from Peru, El Salvador, or Thailand or Vietnam…to see these individuals that are not of the same culture or the same walks of life, see themselves in me, it really means something special. With that, I want to take action to make sure that I’m continuing to represent those people and with us, and for Sephora, who has a movement called, ‘We Belong To Something Beautiful’—I want to make sure that with their aid in going globally through Sephora on December 3, and also in January, as we continue to expand more, we continue that same strong sentiment of inclusivity passivity through the power of media, through the power of celebrity, through the power of social media, which is where I am,” he outlines.
As ideal as all this sounds, practically singing a symphony to the ears of a socially attuned and entrenched generation, there is a cautionary danger of falling prey to posturing on the filtered lens and curated aesthetics of social media. But Patrick Starrr, an intersection of many margins is a living and breathing testament to going through the rigors of the hustle, as well as of the rejection and triumphs that come along with it, and emerging even stronger and more determined than before. “There’s no one like Patrick Starrr. No one,” he reiterates when describing what sets himself and his brand apart from the rest. “I think that’s what makes it different—the one leading this organization, this brand—there is literally no one as transformative as Patrick Starrr. You see me here with no makeup, no turban. Kalbo ako, you know? So, it’s very, very transformative for me as a person of color and a person of emotions, too.”
Then it dawns on me, it barely registered into my pervasive consciousness that Patrick Starrr, typically fashioned in textbook flamboyance that evokes an unequalled joy for living, is uncharacteristically pared down in a nude tank top with just a face fully baked and beat, presumably to the arsenal of ONE/SIZE Beauty, naturally.
YOURSELF FIRST, ALWAYS
“The irony with what I do and where I live, not literally, but digitally, is I live in the land of digital media where we have filters, we have standards being set, where we have a lot of influence that is inspirational, but on the other side, you know, it’s scary for one’s mental health. Now, if I can show myself without a filter, without makeup, and demystify this ideology of this perfect world and glamour, It’s important to me to continue to celebrate your unique beauty, because I think a lot of the kids now feel so much pressure,” contemplates Patrick Starrr, affirming that while the power of makeup does wonders in how one looks, dispelling how one navigates the usually far from ideal social influences on different platforms, it is how one feels inside that is paramount to be able to interact human-to-human in the best way possible.
“You know, we’ve seen the rise of mental health awareness, and if I can really showcase my unfiltered transparent self and show them from start to finish my beauty routine, they can see that I am real,” he asserts. “I can only hope that people can be inspired to continue that self-confidence and self-awareness. I think with me, as a person who was continually worked to be self-aware, I hope that they can see that given my brand and what I stand for as a person, in makeup and lover of beauty and most of all, a lover of people, it’s that I hope to empower people.”
In a landscape that is often too harsh and hateful for its own good, Patrick Starrr has managed to build an oasis in the midst of all the noise online, functioning as a refuge for many lost and weary souls to connect with him, his message, and in some cases, his family and chosen tribe. “I think that’s a part of the unfiltered self-awareness that I have built is that I’m not just this narcissistic beauty, vanity influencer. I’m a person with real problems with real people with real struggles, but yet I have a family to support me and I know that kind of makes them happy. In terms of escape and reality that, that there is something real between me and them as my parents and my family and chosen family,” he says. “[This is] important to me, because I do know that there are many viewers that don’t have that support system—and I’ve had to work on that support system to support me. If I can allow my viewers to have a sneak peek of a Mama Starrr or a Papa Starrr or Tito or Tita, then they can feel a sense of hope for themselves, even though they don’t necessarily have it in the strictest sense. I understand that my platform and my videos have given a sense of hope for people that want to have an escape from their daily struggles to see aspiration, but beyond that, what I have done in my career is personify product, you know? Not just product of beauty, but a product of family, and they’ve been able to showcase their love for me through and through, and me to them, and hopefully, that synergy between what I have with them hopefully gives them a sense of hope, and belonging to something big.”
Apart from an inescapable gravitational force that comes with the allure of Patick Starrr, it is in the puzzle piece of genuine honesty that not only charms his audience, but more importantly sustains a sense of belonging that is constantly and consistently nurtured in heaping doses of unapologetic and unequivocal truth.
FULL STEAM AHEAD
Contrary to popular belief, beneath wide smiles, fluttering lashes, and smears of colors painted on his face, Patrick Starrr gets tired, too. In the continuing intimacy of this conversation, he peels of the festooned façade and becomes a little bit more distilled as Patrick Simondac. Settled as he is in his own skin, there is still a cheery candor and charm that emanates from Filipino social media superstar. “Of course I get tired. Of course I get burned out. But when I wake up every morning, I start my day with gratitude knowing I have been given another day to just be, and ironically, another year as my birthdays always have a sense of purpose,” he says. “I think the best thing you can do is listen to the beats of your own drum and march to your own rhythm, because [for example,] if I were to pay attention to others or being influenced by other brands, then what’s the point of making your own mark for your own legacy? There is a pressure, but the only competition I have is with myself and how I’m able to exceed what I’ve done in the past. By going into Southeast Asia on December 3, and in January, furthermore, in Australia and New Zealand, in less than a year, less than six months is so, so crazy, overwhelming, and exciting, and really exhilarating to the point where I can’t even believe it.”
But it is real—and there is definitely no signs of slowing down on the tracks of the Patrick Starrr enterprise going full steam ahead. There is no formula to soaring success, especially one in the mold of Patrick Starrr. Many years, fears, and tears in the making, he is where he is supposed to be, blazing trails and casting a light for others to follow suit. “To anyone who dares to dream, I would say, keep going. You are so beautiful, find friends that love you, and just know that the friends you have now that don’t support you or the family that don’t support you or don’t love you aren’t for you,” he cautions. “You should keep going, and listen, and pray. Know that there’s such a big world out there for you, and that you can become a star, if you believe in yourself, because I believe in you.”
But from this point forward, Patrick Starrr is dreaming even bigger than he has ever done before, reaching for greater heights, and setting sights on paths of passion to pursue. This settle of hope casts itself a brighter light, one that expands the discourse into the world as we look into the future from today. “I think personally, we are able to accept one or the other as we are, as we are different, and hopefully that starts in media. Hopefully that starts with politics, hopefully that starts in business and humanity,” he says earnestly. “That’s such a big ask, but hopefully, we can find ways. I think, for now, through the power of media, social media, we have to celebrate inclusivity one social media at a time, one person at a time.”
And just like that, the day draws to a close. But unlike the cyclical relenting of time oscillating between darkness and light, he sits in a contented perch that is secure in the swirling clouds of white and pink. Replete of anything gleaming, glinting, and glittering, he is but the shining and shimmering sass of sparkle, lighting up an entire galaxy in a space where he says everyone can be a star, too.
Over on the other side of the world, the clock ticks closer to his birthday, prompting Patrick Starrr to call it a day. A timely but temporary halt to his typically powered days, now, he can ultimately exhale—and perhaps take time off, which is always wonderful in his book, he says. While he still has a lot more celebrating to do, even the brightest need to leave a little light on, casting a glow of assurance and promise that while points were obviously made, the best is yet to come.