Patrick Starrr — the makeup artist, musician, and business mogul pushing for inclusivity in the beauty industry — shares a surprising history with Out’s last cover star, Jeremy Pope (Hollywood and Pose). The pair attended Timber Creek High School together in Orlando. “So we were in the production Cats together,” Starrr recalls with a laugh. “And I did his senior pictures.”
The two share a love for musical theater and have stayed in touch over the years; they cheer for each other’s successes along the way, Starrr says. He even attended Pope’s first off-Broadway show.
The power in two gay men of color from Orlando rising to the heights of their respective fields is not lost on either. “We’ve had our different kinds of success,” says Starrr. “So him and I were just like, ‘Dude, how cool!’”
Indeed, the 31-year-old has excelled since his Timber Creek days, having worked with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Katy Perry, Tyra Banks, and Naomi Campbell; collaborated with high-end brands like MAC Cosmetics; landed his own podcast, Say Yas to the Guest; and most recently, launched a successful line of beauty products with Sephora called One/Size.
However, Starrr is no overnight success — a misconception often placed on many a hardworking social media star. Beginning with the musical and theatrical roots of his youth, the multitalented creative has devoted his life to honing his artistic skills and perfecting his various crafts.
“I went to the University of Central Florida to study classical piano when I was 15, 16 years old, but I’ve always had an affinity for music, for art, for beauty, reality television, makeover shows, [and productions like] America’s Next Top Model...As a gay kid, I’ve always loved being a part of that. So once I was in high school, I started to emulate these beauty campaigns…and creating my own ‘easy, breezy, beautiful’ campaigns myself.” Starrr explains he started to dabble in photography, which “turned into playing with Photoshopping...and Photoshopping turned into actually doing makeup.”
Over a decade and 12 million-plus social media followers later, Starrr is a bona fide celebrity himself. But as many online content creators have discovered, that status comes with much scrutiny and unasked-for opinions — also known as trolling. As a femme-presenting gay man, Starrr has often had to deal with people questioning his identity and outright accusing him of being a closeted transgender person.
Starrr’s YouTube videos display an evolution in his feelings on this topic, just in their titles alone. After addressing such comments in a 2016 clip titled “I Am a Man,” Starrr recently revisited the subject in a video called “My Identity.” Rather than vociferously defending his gender identity in this new entry, he shows compassion and empathy for others who may be struggling with theirs, saying, “It’s OK to not have an identity right now.” Additionally, he helps combat social stigmas for makeup-loving men of all backgrounds by declaring that glamour and beauty are simply “how I express myself.”
As a proud Filipino-American, Starrr is also a vocal advocate for the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community. “I’m so blown away by the amount of power in the voice that we have as an Asian-American community, because before...it was deemed very private or timid, where we really didn’t have the power or the mic to have an opinion...But when I say social media is so powerful — with the retweet, with a repost, with a reshare — we’ve grown to become more confident in ourselves, to then be able to afford being confident in each other, to be able to afford trust, to garner this huge voice to command attention from millions of people that we too exist.”
“Filipinos and Asians in general seem to be a little bit more quiet,” he continues. “And that’s how my parents were: ‘Don’t be too loud or too busy to drive too much attention, because we don’t want to get in trouble for this and that.’ But now we’re here with a voice and a platform...And I think it’s so amazing to see people come together through the power of social media, especially during this time, when we feel so apart and distant.”
Even within his family, with whom he now has a “great, beautiful relationship,” Starrr admits the road to acceptance and understanding “wasn’t always easy, it was most definitely a journey.”
“As first-generation Filipino-Americans in the United States, they wanted to protect me from all evil,” Starrr says of his family members. “And so as I grew...I had to explain to them, ‘This was safe. This was OK, we’re in the United States. It’s OK to be able to express yourself...’ And that’s what I feel other parents or Asian-American parents can learn is to listen and to learn and to love with their most positive intent to not break [the] family. And that’s what my parents were willing and able to do for me.”
Now Starrr is focused on the present and future, continuing to grow his blossoming beauty empire. “I think with my brand…I realized it’s taking everything that I’ve learned and loved through my whole entire career and putting that into One/Size beauty,” he says. “And that, for me, was music, movement, and makeup...I’ve done all original music [for our campaigns].”
Ultimately, Starrr says One/Size means that “beauty is one-size-fits-all,” and having fun with makeup should be a safe and inclusive experience for everyone. His own success can serve as an inspiration to others who are from marginalized communities or, like him, exist at the intersection of many identities.
“To be this celebrated Pinoy, plus-sized person that loves to eat and have their dessert — I literally had a tub of ice cream yesterday — I feel like it’s important to celebrate and not just love who we are, but just, like, love our own bodies.” OneSizeBeauty.com
Photographer JESSE TAM @jessetam_ jessetam.com
Talent & Makeup PATRICK STARRR @patrickstarrr
Stylist KARLA MIRANDA @karlaymiranda karlamiranda.studio
Turban FABIAN QUINONEZ @fabianzvon
Makeup (Blonde Hair) GILBERT ESTRADA @makeupbygilly makeupbygilly.com
Wig ANGEL GONZALEZ @princeangelll
This feature is part of Out's 2021 Fashion Issue. The issue is out on newsstands on August 16, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.