Inside the mind of internet superstar Bretman Rock 2
Bretman Rock on the cover of his memoir "You're That Bitch."
Culture

Inside the mind of Bretman Rock: ‘I was delusional. I was artista in my head since I was six’

The fascinating world of the never-not-entertaining social media star is now a book
RHIA GRANA | Mar 02 2023

At only 24 years old, Bretman Rock has already achieved superstardom. His numbers provide proof: 8.9 million subscribers on YouTube, 15 million followers on TikTok, and 18.5 million followers on Instagram. He’s the star of his own reality show and he’s made it to the big lists—TIME magazine’s ‘30 Most Influential Teens’ in 2017, and Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ in 2018. Rock has also made history as the first gay man to appear on the digital cover of Playboy magazine. 

This year, the Hawaii-based Philippine-born content creator marks another milestone in his career: he just published a memoir entitled “You’re That Bitch.” Bretman is currently in Manila for a series of book signing events (including March 4 at the SM Megamall Mega Fashion Hall and March 5 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall) but before all that, local media had the chance to get to know the sexy, always snazzy, always with-it social media personality.

The Ilocano is a bret, este breath of fresh air–funny and fierce, charming and sweet, and never not entertaining. His authenticity and bubbly personality always shine thru. Which is why from doing the humble beauty tutorials that started his vlogging career, he’s now doing everything and is a sought-after influencer and certified celebrity. 

When did he realize that he’s already “that b*tch”? Bretman says there’s no specific moment but he sometimes still finds it hard to wrap his head around the fact that he’s already made a name for himself. “Like oh my God. I’m in the Philippines promoting my book. I’m really that b*tch,” he says.

Looking back, Bretman thinks it was the pandemic that really pushed him to crank up his creativity when it came to content production, and not only focus on being a beauty influencer. “That's when I realized I could literally just post me reviewing a cereal and y'all would watch it,” he says. “I could review like coconut water and people would watch it. That made me realize that, ‘Oh my God, I'm not just a beauty girl. I'm more than meets the eye.’” 

And he is. Just read through these scintillating Bretman quotes. 

Bretman Rock
"I'm not just a beauty girl. I'm more than meets the eye.” 

His favorite thing about being a Filipino

“Besides my beautiful moreno skin, I love the personality that I have as a Filipino,” says the Pinoy YouTube star. He was born and spent his early years in Sanchez-Mira, a town in the province of Cagayan. “I'm laughing. I'm always singing. I got the Filipino genes that sing. I’m not that good at it but I love to sing everywhere.” 

He also loves the fact that he has a Filipino mom. He’s a big fan of her cooking and loves to mess around in the kitchen when she’s cooking. Asked about his own specialty, Bretman says, “Eating it. I can microwave my mom's adobo really good. Best time is one minute and 20 seconds.”

His favorite Pinoy shows

His mother has been a solid TFC fan, so Bretman was always updated on Filipino shows. He watched “Mara Clara,” both the Judy Ann-Gladys and the Kathryn-Julia versions. Before moving to Hawaii, his eight-year-old self was an avid follower of “Super Inggo”—yup, the fantaserye that starred Makisig Morales. Rock was also at one point “obsessed with Showtime and ASAP.”

 

“I was such a delusional kid”

“Oh my gosh, I was always auditioning for PBB…in my head,” he offers. Like many Pinoys, Rock also dreamed of becoming an artista at one point or another; he was fond of watching talent shows like Star Circle Quest. “I was such a delusional kid. I always thought I was an artista even if I wasn’t.”

 

Advice to aspiring influencers

“Just post it girl,” he tells those who wish to follow in his footsteps. Some people have so much fun content stored in their gadgets, he says, yet they hesitate to share them with others simply because of insecurity. 

“Especially with the Internet, it's so random (what flies). Like on TikTok, anything goes viral. Literally, the more you post, as long as you're not hurting anybody, obviously, and it comes from a good light and it's Filipino AF, I think it’s bound to go viral. So just post that thing, post that sh*t.”

“You can be gay but…”

It started when he was christened Bretman Rock—after his father’s favorite pro wrestlers Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and The Rock. When he came out, he remembers his dad telling him, “You can be gay but at least do sports.” Which is why he got into different sports such as baseball, soccer, football etc. “[You name it] b*tch I did it,” he tells the media. 

But one thing sports made him realize is that he’s no team player. “I hate depending my success on other people,” Rock says. But fitness was something his parents drilled on him very early on in life. “It's become just who I am and I also feel, like, weird when I don't work out.”

 

Keeping his dating life private

While Bretman shares many aspects of his life on social media, he is noticeably tightlipped when it comes to his dating life. He did devote a chapter in his book to an ex but he says he would like to keep his love life away from the public eye in the future. There are no recent developments anyway. “I am very much single. I am honestly in my ‘I hate men era’ right now.”

You're Than Bitch
When did he realize that he’s already “that b*tch”? “Like oh my God. I’m in the Philippines promoting my book. I’m really that b*tch,” he says.

Writing the memoir

The funny vlogger says he encountered some difficulty taking himself seriously. “It's so hard because I take everything as a joke and I'm so unserious. I think just sitting there and being vulnerable with my writer and being vulnerable with myself, and digesting the things that I wanted to write about in a serious manner… I would say being actually deadass, that was the hardest part of writing the book.”

 

The standout chapter 

“I think it’s chapter 11 and it was talking about how I lost my virginity in Disneyland,” says Bretman when asked what he considers to be the highlight of the book.

 

A moreno in the world of beauty

Bretman says it would not have been easy for him to navigate the world of beauty if not for Filipino-American makeup artist Patrick Starrr, who “adopted me and became like my auntie in the industry.” Representation in the beauty industry, he adds, is very crucial.

Why Hawaii 

“Girl, because I know myself. I'm very self-aware. I know that if I move to L.A., I’ll be fighting every b*tch there. It’s better that I stay away from people, honestly. It’s better for them. I’m doing them a favor,” he says, maybe half-joking.  

Hawaii also keeps him grounded. “People don’t give a sh*it about me there. I think Bretman Rock needs that because I was delusional. I was artista in my head since I was six.” He also chooses to stay with family because of his mom's cooking.

 

Inclusivity in beauty

The former beauty vlogger says it’s the lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry that made him leave that field. “I would love to see older people kind of dabble in the beauty industry because my mom I know she will need like an eye cream soon,” he says. But he says he loves the fact there are many queers in the beauty industry now than when he and Patrick Starrr were just starting.

 

No more exposure for them

Besides his romantic life, Bretman says he’d like to protect the women in his life, particularly his mother and his six-year-old niece Cleo, who appeared in his videos in the past, from the prying eyes of the public. He wants his niece to live a normal life. “Kids her age should be playing around and not taking pictures,” he says. 

As for her mother, who has appeared in some of his cooking videos, Bretman says he didn’t want her subjected to nasty comments. “I don't think any kid should read comments like that about their mother. And so because of that, ‘Fuck y’all, you're not gonna have access to my family. Just enjoy me.’”

The actor he’d like to play Bretman

“I could not think of any queer Filipino in Hollywood right now. Maybe Dolly de Leon? Ms Dolly de Leon, I’m hiring you to play Bretman Rock,” he says.

 

His dream day job 

With everything he has accomplished over the last several years, does he have any more unfulfilled dreams? “I want to be so bored with my life one day that I want to be a firefighter. I would love to just have a day job, honestly: I’m an influencer but I also fight fire on the side.” He just knows he’d nail a smokey eyelid and yellow suit. “But you know I’d crop it.”

‘You’re That Bitch’ is available in select National Book Store branches, online on www.nationalbookstore.com, and on their official stores on Lazada and Shopee. To learn more about the Bretman Rocks Manila book signing events, please visit bit.ly/nbsbrmep.