Patrick Starrr gets real while taking off his makeup.
The YouTuber chatted with ET for our Unfiltered series, opening up about his teenage years, how he started his channel and facing his biggest insecurity head-on.
Starrr has amassed a huge following of 4.2 million subscribers and 4.7 million followers on Instagram. His signature turban, larger-than-life personality and ultra-glam makeup make him one of the most recognizable faces in the beauty community. Before the fame, Starrr grew up in Florida in a small Filipino household. His love for makeup began as a child as he became enamored by all the transformations he saw on Disney movies, America's Next Top Model and beauty pageants.
His fascination became a side gig as he started to do hair and makeup for girls at his high school for dances and events, which helped him gain confidence when he often felt the opposite growing up.
"So when I was a freshman I was asked by seniors to do their homecoming hair or their prom hair or their makeup," he says. "I feel like that's when I sort of felt a little bit of confidence because trust is a big thing now in people and friends, and my peers in school were asking me to help them on such a big day like prom or homecoming or their sweet 16 or their quinceañera. It really instilled confidence in me that they trusted me."
In addition to doing photography, Starrr soon landed at a MAC counter where he worked as a freelance artist. He craved an outlet where he could consistently express his passion and skills for makeup, which led him to start his YouTube channel in 2013.
For his first video, Starrr created the classic winged eye-and-red lip combo which caught the eye of Talia Joy Castellano, the late YouTuber and CoverGirl who died from cancer at age 13.
"We became friends on Instagram and we met once," he recalls. "She had passed away and when everyone had sent her condolences to her, one of the videos that she had last liked on her activity feed was my video and when Ellen DeGeneres and YouTube rewind and all of these YouTubers in the community were sending their condolences, they would see my video there."
Castellano constantly expressed that makeup was her wig, which rang true for Starrr as well.
"Talia said makeup is my wig and till this day makeup is my wig too," Starrr says. "And, well, I have my turban on every day but I think it's just ever since I started up until now, vulnerability and being open is something that I have learned and have kept early on as a theme in my career."
Starrr's channel and following grew immensely and he began to work with the biggest beauty brands, collaborating on videos with fellow YouTubers and celebs, launching five collections with MAC and finding his way on red carpets and the runway. Most recently, he fiercely walked in a fashion show as Ursula from The Little Mermaid for The Blond's collaboration with Disney Villains during New York Fashion Week in September, for which he shaved his head so the icy finger-wave 'do could stay put.
"I was, like, just shave it and just knowing what was guaranteed to happen to me walking down the runway wasn't going to change anything about my hair," he says. "And I think that was just such a pinnacle moment for me changing my hair. I was like, you know, let's just shave it and do it, and Shalom Blac was front and center at that fashion show and she didn't even know I shaved my head that day and two months later we were doing our video together being bald beauties."
In the video, he puts his new bald head on display for the first time after struggling with hair loss from age 17. But he's not ditching the turban anytime soon.
"I think at this moment I haven't found the confidence to go without a turban," Starrr shares. "Also, I feel like it's kind of like my cape and kind of like Mickey Mouse ears to the beauty community. So you see the three rolls, right? You see the first roll, the head, then the belly that's Patrick Starrr and Patrick Starrr is coming to town. He's in the room. You see the little snowman silhouette that's P Starrr and also it's branding for me -- it's my staple. It's been in all of my MAC campaigns and multiple beauty campaigns on commercial and TV, so it's kind of a part of me."
Starrr's followers look to him for empowerment to be their true self, but with such an expansive following comes haters.
"A lot of people were finding refuge on my channel like women of color or older women, older men, younger boys, younger girls, siblings, kids that haven't even come out to their own family yet," he notes. "I said if they're going to come and look at my comments and look at my content, I want to make sure that it's a safe space for them and not a space that they're afraid to engage in, so I made sure I would block words, block hateful words, hateful comments, hateful people and I think that's what made my Patrick Starrr social media -- my YouTube, my Instagram, my Snapchat, my Twitter -- such a safe place for people to just be entertained and for me to be their gay best friend."
So what's the biggest advice Starrr has for his fans on persevering through negativity?
"You deserve to be on this earth. You have a purpose and like a flower you have to push through dirt before you blossom," he shares. "There's a quote from Dolly Parton, 'You can't have a rainbow without rain,' so just know that tomorrow or the next day or the day after is going to be a better day because there's nowhere to go but up."