Influence Peddler: Bretman Rock Rolls Into Ulta Beauty

Bretman Rock was ecstatic with the news from Ulta Beauty about his limited-edition Babe in Paradise collaboration with Morphe. Posting on his Instagram stories, the 19-year-old makeup artist told his 9.6 million followers that his palette was the number-one sku. "Whatever that means," Rock joked about the retail jargon.
The Philippine-born, Hawaii-raised Rock doesn’t need to know that sku is an acronym for stockkeeping unit. What counts is the highlighter palette moved swiftly, (while Ulta Beauty does not comment on performance of individual brands, a company spokesman said the retailer is extremely pleased with guest response) solidifying his power as a creator as well as a content provider.
The collection is inspired by Rock's life in Hawaii. The six-shade palette includes a custom fan brush and retails for $29. Bretman started making videos on Vine and YouTube in 2011. He’s known for breaking boundaries with a “never hold back” personality and frank vocabulary (one shade in his Babe In Paradise palette is called Shady Bitch) that have built his YouTube channel to 2.9 million subscribers. Morphe, he said, was the first company to ever send him product. “I was living my best life, I was like ‘girl I made it!’ I really did grow up with Morphe.”
Rock is one of a growing cadre of male makeup influencers, joining Patrick Starrr, Manny Gutierrez and Jeffree Star. He’ll be at the Beautycon Festival Los Angeles in July where he will speak on “Redefining Masculinity.”
Here, Rock talks about Babe In Paradise, his drive to have beauty brands embrace boys who wear makeup and why he liked getting a Roomba vacuum.
WWD: What was the inspiration behind your collaboration with Morphe?
Bretman Rock: I really wanted to create something that was representative of the people around me and at my school. Hawaii is a melting pot of people and my school specifically has a lot of diversity that personally inspires me in everything I do. It was really important to me to create something that included that diversity.
WWD: What is next?
B.R.: Honestly, I’m taking things day by day. I hate thinking about what’s next because I start getting anxiety. I usually wait for opportunities and act on them if I like them or I like to really think through any new ideas I have. I’m focusing on traveling more right now and maybe doing some shows.
WWD: What products can you not live without?
B.R.: Highlighter is a given. I’m also an eyebrow person, I always have to have them on fleek. I do my eyebrows every single day, so I really wouldn’t be able to live without those products.
WWD: How can beauty brands work better with you?
B.R.: I like brands that are very open to new ideas. I know some brands second-guess working with me because I’m a boy that likes makeup. I think brands shouldn’t just appreciate boys that wear makeup, but they should embrace it. And I feel like some brands forget they need personality. I have plenty of it.
WWD: What is the strangest product you ever received?
B.R.: I really love it when brands get very creative with products. A couple months ago I got a Roomba vacuum cleaner. That really caught my attention.
WWD: Where do you shop for beauty, apparel?
B.R.: For beauty, Sephora, of course. If we had Ulta in Hawaii I would go there too, but Sephora is everything to me. I shop where any teenager shops — H&M, Forever 21, but when I do wear brand stuff I love Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
WWD: Do you feel you can ever share too much?
B.R.: Of course, there should always be a line between your real life and your social media life. You can’t share everything because it gets too blurry and you still need some level of privacy. I think there’s a fine line.
WWD: Dream beauty company to collaborate with?
B.R.: Sephora. I want to work with brands that are in Sephora. Any brand that is in Sephora — hit me up. That would be such a dream come true.
WWD: Talk about your Fenty connection.
B.R.: I love everything and anything they put out there. I love them. I love everything they stand for. I got to work with them at Coachella and it was honestly my favorite part, maybe other than Beyoncé. Their team is so collaborative and cool, really the best.
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