King of the Jungle

Life’s a roar for social media star Bretman Rock, thanks to a popular Jungle Rock cosmetic line and a growing online fan base that numbers in the millions.

There’s a little bit of everything on Bretman Rock’s social media platforms, where he often shares photos and videos of simple science experiments, life as a plant and cat dad, dauntless makeup looks and just-for-fun snippets of everyday life.

With so much variety, it’s understandable why his star is in orbit these days. In fact, with nearly 15 million fans on Instagram and more than 7.5 million on YouTube, Rock’s reach is into the stratosphere and beyond, attracting luminaries such as Demi Lovato, Naomi Camp-bell, Adriana Lima, Tyra Banks, Zendaya, Lizzo, Nicole Scherzinger and Ariana Grande.

Last year, he was recognized as the Beauty Influencer of 2019 at the annual E! People’s Choice Awards, and the previous year, he made Forbes Asia‘s “30 under 30” list.

Bretman Rock receives a smooch from singer Ariana Grande at the 2016 performance of Hairspray Live! PHOTO COURTESY BRETMAN ROCK

“I don’t even know how I get on these lists,” laughs the 22-year-old. “I just do what I do because it’s what I know and love.”

Much of his allure can be attributed to his honesty. He’s completely at ease sharing stories of his kolohe antics as a teenager growing up in ‘Ewa, as well as some embarrassing childhood tales that he’s able to laugh about now. They’re all relatable experiences to his followers.

“People just love real people,” says Rock, who was born Bretman Sacayanan.

And those who have viewed any one of his thousands of posts online know that Rock is as genuine as it gets. He’s never felt the need to hide who he is or what he loves, and that’s in big part due to his parents, mom Mercedita and dad Edmund, and his upbringing.

Bretman Rock and his sister Princess Mae showcase makeup from his ColourPop Cosmetics Wet and Lit collection in 2018.

“I’ve always been that gay kid in school that wore makeup and was a little more flamboyant,” he says. “I’ve always been accepted. I was not really bullied, to be honest. I was never called a mahu, never treated differently.

“People in Hawai‘i are com-passionate. It’s the state of aloha, and everyone here is respected for whoever and whatever color they are.”

In fact, it was his classmates and friends who encouraged him to venture into the social sphere. Rock initially started his journey into the virtual world in eighth grade, when he began uploading makeup videos to YouTube, and when Snapchat came out in 2012, he would send clips to his friends just for fun.

“My classmates would say how funny I was, and I never believed them until I started using Snapchat,” he recalls.

Snapchat videos, though, are only available for viewing for 24 hours, which meant Rock’s creative genius and funny antics had a shelf life. After some prodding from his peers, he uploaded those videos to Instagram (@bretmanrock) and made his profile public, opening the door for eventual fans from all over the world to find him.

Rock enlists the help of niece Cleo to promote his partnership with Crocs. PHOTOS COURTESY BRETMAN ROCK

Over that summer, Rock grew his following to more than 10,000 and the rest, as they say, is history. His personal videos and makeup tutorials caught the eye of cosmetic company Morphe, which offered Rock a chance at a partnership while he was just a junior in high school.

“It was cool because that was when Morphe was just starting, and I was just starting,” Rock recalls. “I got to grow up with Morphe.”

From there, the collaborations kept coming.

The “Bretman Rock x wet n wild” Jungle Rock line pays homage to his fierce and fun personality and Zodiac sign — as a Leo, he’s the king of the jungle — and serves as a way to share his passion with others.

“I know I’m a lot, and I have so many ideas, sometimes crazy, sometimes inappropriate,” says Rock. “They (wet n wild Beauty) were willing to have open minds and work with me.

“I don’t like to box myself as an influencer,” he shares. “I hate that word. It doesn’t resonate with me. Influencers have really one thing they do. Beauty influencers do beauty, DIY influencers do DIY. I don’t want to keep my bubble in just one talent.”

So, while perhaps best known for his cosmetic company partnerships, Rock also has ventured out with Nike to promote its running gear — he ran track (hurdles) at Campbell High and even qualified for states — and participated in the Amazon Skin Wellness Summit. There’s still a lot more in the works, too, including a partnership with Crocs, a new sunglasses line, voiceover work for Disney, an upcoming drink label slated to hit grocery stores all over the nation and, of course, even more beauty products. Notable, though, is his forthcoming MTV reality show under its No Filter series that’s slated to come out very soon.

“Hopefully October,” Rock shares. “I was particular about filming it here in Hawai‘i because my reality is here.”

It’s why his current moniker is so appropriate, too. A homebody at heart, when Rock does need to venture out, he’ll go on solo drives around the island — sometimes journeying all the way to Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck on the North Shore for some ‘ono grinds — and spending time at the beach.

“This island keeps Bretman Rock, Bretman Rock,” he shares. “It keeps me grounded.”