This Man Probably Knows More About Makeup Than You Do

This Man Probably Knows More About Makeup Than You Do
This Man Probably Knows More About Makeup Than You Do

More than 2 million people want to know what Patrick Starr has to say about makeup. That’s how many people subscribe to his YouTube channel, which is a hodgepodge of makeup transformations that range from the practical (a tutorial) to the mind-bending (like when he turned into ). The Cut caught up with the “It” boy of social-media makeup artists to discuss how he rocketed to internet fame and what it’s like working in the super-competitive world of YouTube makeup artists.

Everyone has an origin story. What’s yours?
I was obsessed with reality television growing up, and I was inspired by it. The Swan, Extreme Makeover, makeover stories like that. Later on, when I was into photography, I was Photoshopping makeup on an image and I thought if I were to quit Photoshopping and actually do makeup it would cut my post-production time in half. I started to do makeup, then hair, and then I started doing a hair, makeup, and photography package for weddings. By the time I was 17, I was an entrepreneur. I eventually got a job at M.A.C as a freelancer, or an on-call artist. I had a month without work after the holiday season one year, and that’s when I started my YouTube channel. I was 21.

What was the initial reaction to your YouTube channel?
My parents were like: “Why are you wasting money on this makeup?” But there was a niche community of makeup boys on social media who were really supportive. We’d have this camaraderie over being “M.A.C boys.” I had like 2,000 views in a couple of days after my first video, which was a lot to me at the time. What really popped off my channel was I met Talia Joy [Note: Talia Castellano was a popular YouTube makeup star who went by the username TaliaJoy18. She died in 2013 of a rare nerve cancer.] The crazy part is that she liked my video on her YouTube channel right before she passed away, and that was so emotional for me. Makeup was a wig for her, as makeup was a way for me to give confidence to other people. I think that if I, as a man, can do it and look somewhat decent and beautiful, then anyone can.

When Talia passed away — that’s when she was a CoverGirl — when you went to her channel, all you saw on her feed was: “TaliaJoy likes Patrick Starr’s video.” I think I gained 20,000 followers in like a month. My friend texted me: “It looks like Talia left you a gift.” That was very powerful.

What’s it like working with other majorly famous beauty gurus?
I met Manny, Desi Perkins, and Anastasia Beverly Hills at a trade show — all in one day. It was so eye-opening to me that finally there was a community in social media that got it. What’s powerful for me is that when I first started out, I learned that we needed to stick together because there was no one else like us in our industry at the time. It was very much a camaraderie. The magic instantly sparked when I met Manny and we became “the boys in makeup.”

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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