Patrick Starrr on gaining confidence through identity, Mama Starrr's best advice
MANILA, Philippines – MAC Key Artist Collaborator and social media star Patrick Starrr has a larger-than-life personality, but he's a lot quieter in person than you'd think. (LOOK: MAC x Patrick Starrr will glam up your basic makeup kit)
In an interview with the press for his collection with MAC on Saturday, February 24, Patrick said the most common misconception about him is that he's a loud personality.
On the contrary, he credits his success to his ability to listen: "I think anyone that meets me or gets to speak to me or hang out with me [knows] I'm so relaxed, I'm so chill, I'm an observer, I love learning from people."
Whenever he does someone's makeup – like on celebrities Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Pia Wurtzbach – he lets them speak, which both his clients and his viewers appreciate. As a result, he said, "I think people can see me as their gay best friend."
Another secret to his success: his identity, or more specifically, grounding his identity, which has empowered him to pursue his dreams, speak up on social media, and be vulnerable on top of that.
But finding his identity wasn't easy, and Patrick shared it was the lowest point in his life.
Before he had 4 million followers on Instagram and a makeup collection with MAC with his name on it, Patrick Starrr was Patrick Simondac, a gay Filipino man in America who wore makeup, and was working the counter at MAC Cosmetics in Orlando, Florida. Patrick is the eldest of 3 boys and his parents are Filipino immigrants to the US (known to his fans as "Papa Starrr" and "Mama Starrr").
"I think there was a fire in me growing up as a little boy, but there was also a balance of guilt at the same time because I'm the oldest of 3," Patrick admitted.
Later, he said: "I think the lowest [point in my life] was maybe 14 or 15 [years old]. I think shaping my identity was really hard because my parents wanted me to do one thing and I was fighting so hard, and you know, you don't wanna disappoint your parents, but you know, it looks bad before it looks good."
Patrick recounted that he and his dad would disagree about his buying expensive makeup – his dad thought it was a waste of money, but Patrick saw it as an opportunity to earn more in the future. He also didn't want to set a "bad example" to his brothers by not finishing his bachelor's degree.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, I don't wanna be that bad example, yet I'm creating a massive entrepreneurship.' But you know He had a plan for me," said Patrick, sharing that he had a full circle moment recently when Tyra Banks herself asked him to be on America's Next Top Model (ANTM) – one of his early inspirations – on the day he launched his first collection with MAC.
Finding his identity
Finding his identity may have been difficult, but it set the foundation for Patrick's confidence and, later, his success.
"My mantra last year was self-awareness – life opens up when you do. So being vulnerable, when you open up to life, it comes back at you," said Patrick. "And you're able to grab these moments and these experiences through your life to store them in your pocket and say, 'Okay, this is a little bit of me. I'm a little bit fabulous. I'm a little bit funny. I'm a little bit chubby,'" he said, smiling, as chuckles resounded through the room. "I'm a little bit pretty."
It helps as well to surround yourself with people who you love, who love you, and who "do what you do."
That's where MAC comes in, he told the press. He couldn't meet anyone on ANTM, fashion magazines, or on the runways, but he knew that the artists at MAC could teach him how to do makeup: "I think when I wanted to pursue makeup, shopping in a makeup store was so important to me because that was the closest thing to an artist or a professional makeup artist that I knew."
Just as MAC empowered him, Patrick now empowers others through his platform. "Beauty and makeup is beyond aesthetics, beyond looks," he said. "I literally cried on the day of my launch party [while] doing an interview because we're changing lives. I literally get emails and messages almost everyday, [that say] like, 'I got kicked out' or 'Someone beat me' but they look to my channel or to my social media as refuge, and that's beyond the lashes that I wear, beyond the makeup, beyond the lipstick. And for MAC to trust me and for them to amplify my persona, my messaging, my meaning, we're changing lives one at a time."
Because Mama Starrr was in the room when Patrick was answering questions, a reporter asked him what her greatest advice was.
"The best tip that I've learned from her is… I think it's don't wait for tomorrow what you can do today, and that's really because if I had waited I wouldn't have this career and I wouldn't be able to fly them out here," said an emotional Patrick.
On Monday, Patrick, his brother Peter, and their parents, went to Bacolod to visit his maternal grandmother's grave. The last time he and his family were in the Philippines was 18 years ago, when his grandmother was laid to rest.
"She (his mother) had us and she didn't see her mom for 30 years… she sacrificed so much for us that when we landed [in the Philippines 18 years ago] my lola (grandmother) passed away, and so it's like a burden that you know, she took care of us for so long that she couldn't see her own mother," Patrick continued.
It's his family and his closest friends that keep him grounded in light of his success. His brother and his best friend are part of his core team, and his closest friends are those who knew him before he was Patrick Starrr.
It's this support system that he credits for getting him to where he is today, and they'll be what will carry him through in the months to come, as the collection he released with MAC was just the beginning. As a Key Artist Collaborator, he's set to release 4 more collections with the brand over the course of 2018. – Rappler.com