Jeffree Star might be the most famous person you've never heard of. Unless you're one of the millions of people who have already stumbled onto his MySpace page, Twitter account, or any of his other assorted Internet properties and been mesmerized by his dirty mouth, shameless self-promotion, and aggro, in-your-face antics. The self-proclaimed "Queen of the Internet" began his bid for the spotlight when he was still in high school. The son of a model, Star wore his outrageous get ups to class and -- with the help of a fake ID -- Los Angeles's hottest night clubs, and soon he was doing makeup for celebrities like Kelly Osborne, Paris Hilton, and Nicole Richie, securing DJing gigs, and modeling. But it was after he converted his MySpace page into a music page -- featuring songs like "Cunt" and "Straight Boys" -- that Star's popularity truly rocketed.
We caught up with Star, who recently released his new CD Beauty Killer, to chat about Kim from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, sexual politics, and why Tila Tequila might want to stay (far, far) away from him.
I'll give Kim [from the Real Housewives of Atlanta] a call and arrange it.Out: Hi, Jeffree.
Jeffree Star: [Singing] "Don't be tardy for the party..." That should be in the background of my interview!
[Laughs.] I twittered her. I was like, "Bitch, your song's amazing!" and she's like, "Thanks, gorgeous."
You haven't met her, have you?
No. But when they have like this type of interview and she's wearing the wig and it's all defused glow and her tits are all oiled up, she looks so --
Do think she's really only 30 or 31 years old?
I don't know.
She looks --
She wears more makeup than I do.
She cakes it on.
I love it though -- it's like tranny out of control.
So, moving on to you. You've been a model, you've been a DJ, you've been a fashion designer, a musician. Is there one of those that you consider to be your primary role? Who is Jeffree Star?
Well, Jeffree Star used to be a bunch of things, and I still kind of am -- I still DJ for fun, or I fake DJ like Samantha Ronson. I used to be a makeup artist for a lot of bands and now I just do my own makeup, but right now my main focus is my music career. I'm in love with recording and writing music so that's what I'm gonna stick to for right now.
How would you describe your sound?
I kind of made up my own genre. I'm like the anti-pop star music, where it's like Britney Sears and all that stuff, but it's more dirty and more edgy. I feel like the first time you listen to a Jeffree Star song it's kind of like the first time you lose your virginity -- you're not sure if the guy's ever gonna call you back and you're really nervous about it.
How do you go about the writing process?
I was really inspired by not always being overly sexual -- like my last CDs. I kind of want to dig deeper and kind of show people the more real Jeffree. Because no one really knows who I am. Everyone makes judgments and says things like, "Jeffree's a bitch, he's conceited," and you know, I might be all those things, but I don't want to let everyone in on the secret just yet. So when I was recording the record I was really inspired by love in general. I had never really talked about love, I usually talk about like sucking dick and licking vagina, which can get old after two CDs. So there are a lot of songs on the record about love and what my take on it and it's mixed with a lot of like violence, because I don't like the whole Kelly Clarkson "Since U Been Gone" crap. I want to, like, sing things that a guy's going to sing back to me while he's killing me.
You were one of the stand-out stars of the Warped Tour this summer. How did the frat boys react to you?
It was actually a really crazy, huge response for me. I played in front of thousands of people every day and it even surprised me how many people and what kind of crowd was in the audience. People always think that I only have a gay fan base because of who I am, but it's actually like 90% females who listen to, like, Hannah Montana and are probably doing anal with their boyfriends at age 12, so, it was cool to see a lot of like the punk rock guys support me and a lot of the punk rock bands on the tour have my back. There were a few instances where straight boys would try and antagonize me -- one guy sprayed me in the face with water, and it's like, you can spray me in the face with a lot of shit, but when I'm in full makeup and there's 100 degree weather? No. So, I ran after him and I tazed him to the floor and I kicked him in the head. Bitches be warned! [Laughs.]
People have called you a tranny, a cross-dresser, faggot --
All of the above.
How do you define yourself and how important are sexual politics to who you are and what you do?
I think everyone doesn't know what Jeffree Star is -- like are you a man, are you a girl? What are you trying to be? And at the end of the day I'm just all about pro-expression. I don't wear fake tits or wigs, so I don't really consider myself a drag queen, but I am really obsessed and inspired by fashion in general. I started as a makeup artist, looking through magazines and being obsessed with the idea of just changing how you look with just some makeup brushes. So I don't really call myself anything. I am a guy, I don't want to have a sex-change -- you know, my mom blessed me -- so, I'm going to stay a man and look like a girl and everyone's gonna fuckin' like it! [Laughs.]
When did you start becoming Jeffree Star? Is Jeffree Star a character or a persona or is this who you are 24-7?
Jeffree Star is a character that I made up when I was bored. You know, I'm from Orange County -- it was really boring there. It's like spray tan and beaches and football games -- and I was not about to be any part of that. So I changed my name, which I now have legally changed, and this is who I am now. I wanted to get away from being the boring California kid and be glamorous.
Do you consider yourself a role model for queer youth?
I don't consider myself a role model, but a lot of kids have told me that I am their role model. Which is a very weird thing to say because everyone probably thinks that I get off on that -- that I'm a conceited -- but in reality it's like, if my music or my being myself can help other people, that's all that really matters to me, you know? Past the money and all that other shit, there are kids across the world who e-mail me everyday telling me, "My mom hates me because I'm gay," or "My dad beats me because I want to change my hair color" and it makes me so sad. So if me living my life and people seeing it online or on TV, if it helps their lives, then that's the most important thing I think.
How has the Internet impacted your career?
[Laughs.] The Internet! Somehow me and a few other people discovered MySpace before anyone else. It was based out of California, so I think living there did help me a lot, and I think, for me, in the beginning, it was like networking and always keeping people like updated because so many musicians have their one little press shot with their CD and then they kind of disappear. I'm constantly doing photo shoots, I was constantly posting stuff on like 500 different websites, like "Judge me, look at my crazy pictures," and always writing blogs about everything from the news to what I thought about certain subjects and it just kind of like caught on like wildfire. All of the sudden I had like millions of people like clicking my page. It was really weird, so as a joke I did some music with some friends, put it on MySpace and all of the sudden it, like, blew up really crazy. So I was like, "Oh, shit I better do something with this." [Laughs.]
Tell me about your tattoos. When did you start getting them? Are there any themes?
Oh, you can't see any today.
Yeah, you're all covered up. So demure.
Even if you can't see any right now, I have tattoos over my body. A lot of them were inspired by psychology and death and beauty queens. I have a JonBen't Ramsey and Sharon Tate and Princess Diana -- the whole being beautiful and dying was always like really intriguing to me, which is kind of what Beauty Killer is partly about. My best friend, Kat Von D, is an amazing tattoo artist, so I was always wanted to get portraits. After I met her I got like 25, and now my whole my body is almost covered. It's pretty cool. I'm obsessed with art and you know when you're younger and someone tells you that you can't change your appearance you're going to want change it more than normal. So [laughs] now I'm like a walking canvas.
Do you have any that you regret getting?
I do regret one tattoo, it's on my right arm. It was the first one I ever got. I'm actually getting it lasered right now, which is like the worst pain ever. It smells like chicken, so think before get a tattoo! Because that shit hurts!
What's your beef with Tila Tequila?
[Laughs.] Everyone always asks me, "What do you think of Tila Tequila? Are you guys friends?" We used to be friends, like I'd hang out with her at parties and stuff, but I think when you're trying to be an Asian prostitute and a gay superstar your heads clash. I'm just not for people trying to pretend that they're bisexual and thinking that they're empowering the gay community when you're just exploiting it and trying to make money off it. I fully don't back anything that she's doing. I kind of want to take a knife and stab her implants until they go pop, pop, pop.
Jeffree Star's new CD, Beauty Killer, is now available in stores and digitally. Star will perform at the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival on October 31 and is slated to launch a full U.S. tour in December. For more info, check out his MySpace page.