Bretman Rock is a beauty influencer and YouTube vlogger with more than 20 million social media followers, but at the end of the day, he only wants to save turtles.
On Saturday, the 21-year-old Filipino influencer, who lives in Hawaii, spoke with Yahoo Lifestyle at Beautycon Festival L.A., a glitzy conference in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo, that’s called “The Super Bowl of the beauty industry” by the New York Times. Beauty influencers like Rock, Patrick Star and Tokyo Stylez (Kylie Jenner’s hairstylist) joined Tina Knowles, Priyanka Chopra and Kelly Rowland for an afternoon of live Q&As and makeup demos amid screaming fans.
Rock, whose wrestling-fanatic father named him after Bret Hart and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is known for his video gold: pole dancing while his mother sweeps nonchalantly in the background, mimicking his toddler niece Cleo’s temper tantrums and his athletic prowess, which he demonstrated in a March Nike ad. While jumping hurdles on a track, Rock says in a voiceover, “When I run, I don't ever think about my destination. I get to escape this crazy world that I live in. I think that's the true beauty of running.”
His new marijuana-themed line Da Baddest Merch launched on July 30 at midnight, one minute before his 21st birthday. The $21 paraphernalia — rolling papers, grinders, lighter covers, a canvas bag and reusable metal straws — all feature Rock’s favorite buzzwords: “Or Whatevah," “B*tch,” “Baddest” and “For the turtles.” Some of the proceeds will benefit the environmental nonprofit, The Aloha ‘Āina Support Fund in Hawaii.
Rock already has makeup lines with ColourPop and Morphe, so marijuana branding was an authentic move. As he tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “I’m a stoner and people relate to that.” His passion for wildlife, specifically turtles, inspired the metal straws, which he hopes will replace disposable plasticware that poses a danger to turtles. “Because without turtles, we wouldn’t have turtles,” Rock tells us.
People on Reddit said the line was “overpriced” and “cheap crap”; however, Rock rejects bad energy on principal. “You only get hate if you let yourself get hate,” he says of online bullying. “I don’t read internet comments because I have other things to do, like walk my dog. And I don’t really like reading, so if you’re going to hate on me, send me a video. I don’t have time to read a whole novel about how I’m going to hell.”
Rock has no patience for internet drama. “I can’t stand all these beauty dramas,” he shares. Rock was non-specific, but the influencer space has been drama-infested lately. In May, beauty gurus James Charles and Tati Westbrook had a falling out when Charles promoted a beauty brand that competes with one by Westbrook. Makeup influencer Jeffree Star called Charles “a danger to society” during the feud.
And Rock himself is guilty of tangling with fans. During a recent Mukbang video (involving subjects eating large quantities of food), with fellow influencers Princess Mae (Rock’s little sister) and Nikita Dragun (Rock’s bestie), viewers accused Nikita of being cruel to Princess. Viewers said Rock’s response was passive, instead of defending his sister.
The siblings quickly shot a video revealing that Nikita had indeed apologized. And so did Rock. “We handled everything off-camera — my sister deserved an apology,” Rock says. “People want a public apology so they can tear you up and continue the narrative that we’re bullies, but in reality... I love my sister.”
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