Bretman Rock is a work of art. When the social media star and beauty influencer isn’t skillfully beating his face with his non-dominant hand or by rating Trix cereal eight out of ten (“I’d say it’s a little better than Fruit Loops”) it focuses on the camera for 7.89 million YouTube subscribers and 15.2 million Instagram subscribers . With a knack for endearing viewers ‘slut’ without making you wince, Rock is the internet’s sassy best friend.
The aggressive positivity he exudes is the same Gen Z energy that shines while lifting others up (See also: Donte Colley, Rickey Thompson and others the 20s who loaded the polls and OK boomer to boost Biden). The “posi vibes only” generation moves forward with kindness and emojis and boldly embraces authenticity, which is Rock’s specialty.
He will always call Hawaii his home, where he has lived since he moved from the Philippines to the United States at the age of seven. The backdrop to his Insta stories are sun-drenched mountains and his mother’s occasional cameo sweeping, which helps him separate him from his peers who grow content in TikTok homes. Rock is on island time, taking things slow and on their own terms.
It is therefore logical that it is retained on fashion partnerships. Despite major beauty deals, featured in upcoming digital series No filter with MTV, and attending New York Fashion Week, today marks her first major fashion collaboration with Dime Optics. Now available for purchase (and for just $ 30 a pop), Rock worked with the eyewear brand to launch four new sunglasses, which are featured in a campaign inspired by 14th century social media stars: The Renaissance painters.
We caught up with Rock over Zoom, where he gave us tips for dating in quarantine, the touching reason he became a plant dad, and the NSFW story behind his crafty campaign for Dime Optics, below.
How are you today?
I have a date later. So, you know, I feel myself. Get my hair as flat as possible.
Are you excited? How are you?
Girl. The question is: are they eager to see me? I’m never excited not to see a boy, they should be happy to see me. I’m prepping my hair right now because you know, I think I’m going to give it a very executive reality for this date.
Is this a first date?
I wouldn’t say that. It’s my sugar daddy vibe. Who’s not so daddy, he just has sugar, kinda like me.
Do you have any advice for people who are currently out of quarantine?
I would say, know your status, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s HIV or COVID. If you are going out on a date you need to know your status, at least take a COVID test. Both. And I would say, start with the Zoom dates. Don’t risk your life to go see a bitch.
How has your style evolved over the years?
I think I’ve always had this non-binary energy with me. My mother always told me that I was pretty and beautiful at the same time. And so I sort of believed her. And a lot of people tell me that I could really wear and do whatever I want.
I always knew I was non-binary and always knew I wanted to wear what I wanted. But at one point, I started dressing basic. I started to dress for other people instead of dressing for myself. And that’s how my style changed. I have started to dress now.
You are more and more political on social networks. But with everything that has happened this year, what does “Use your platform, bitch” mean to you?
I feel like we obviously all deal with different things and we all appreciate different things and we all believe in different things. And for me, my statement of using your fucking platform really breaks the silence and really stands up for what you believe in. Anyway, because I feel like we should all stand up for at least one thing. You know what I mean? We don’t all have to save turtles.
It’s just knowing that everyone has a voice. You don’t need a check mark next to your name. You don’t need millions of subscribers to know and feel that you have a platform. I feel like everyone should realize that they have a platform regardless of the size of their audience.
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How did you get into indoor plants?
I got into plants because when my dad passed away last November. We returned home to the Philippines and my father had always had a greenhouse in front of our house. It made me a little sad because it was so full of plants and it was so succulent and he collected a lot of flowering plants, a lot of bonsai. He loved plants.
When I got back to Hawaii, it made me realize I didn’t have any plants. And so I kind of started buying plants, and it’s going to sound so cheesy, but somehow, it made me feel a little bit connected to my dad. Knowing that he also took care of the plants and that I didn’t realize I had a green thumb until I started having plants – they brought me a little closer to my father. Because sometimes, believe it or not, it would pop up in my dreams and remind me to water certain plants. I would go see this plant the next day and it is either half dead or it needed water.
How’s your TV show?
Every time I go to work or to the set I am very grateful for doing what I am doing. And it’s like, wow, I really manifested that shit when I was a kid. Grow up instead of watching cartoons or High school music and Disney Channel, I would literally watch the fucking Bad Girls Club, America’s next top model. Manifesting this shit. And I would literally always say, “I’m going to have my show someday.” It’s so weird to me that I almost canceled it for some selfish reason, but it’s so much fun. Oh my God, everyone needs a reality TV show.
Do you have reality TV stars that you channel when you shoot?
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Simple life was so iconic. Much of my personality comes from this show, too The Osbournes. But I like to say that my show is kind of like a marriage of the two, because it’s like a family but it’s also like I’m trying new things.
What made you want to partner with Dime Optics for your first major fashion collaboration?
I am still new to the fashion industry. I didn’t want my first collaboration to be with a company that has been around for a while. I kind of wanted the idea of growing up with Dime. And doing my first collaboration with them and them having one of their first influencer collaboration in their relatively new business.
So that was a plus. Dime let me be in charge, not just with the sunglasses, not just with the frames, not just with the colors, but it comes down to the packaging. I painted my own wrapper, I painted this shit. I wanted my turtle logo in there, and they just said yes to everything. I love a brand that doesn’t tie me down and does shit for me. If I’m going to write my name on something, I wanna do some shit about it. I’m not going to just say yes to a pair of sunglasses and put my fucking name on it with nothing behind it and no fuss at all. You know what I mean?
Absolutely. Who is the celebrity of your dreams that you would like to see wearing your sunglasses?
Except me? Girl, I’m just gonna dream as big as I can. If I ever saw Miss Rihanna wearing my sunglasses, I would probably die.
The campaign features you, made as subjects of famous paintings. How did this idea come about?
Do you want an honest answer or a PR-ready answer?
I want an honest answer.
What was I thinking. OK, since you wanna ask me what I was thinking, bitch. I was stoned one day. I accidentally got high. I hate when this happens. Oh you know what i mean
The joint just fell into your mouth.
The joint was there and I was like “Oh my God!” Anyway, I was on, then my manager texted me out of nowhere and she said, “Brett, your photoshoot is coming and we have to do something.” And I thought and thought and it hit me, like the edible that I took. I really wanted to recreate paintings. I love Renaissance paintings.
And I plan to do more recreations, hopefully later with future collections. Because there are so many paintings I could do again, and it’s also so cool to see a brunette person like the Girl with the Pearl Earring. It’s cool to see a dark-haired person in The Creation of Adam. I think that says a lot more about what art really means to people. He talks in different ways with others. That’s what I wanted to create with these sunglasses – I really wanted someone to see my sunglasses and see that they could wear them with any type of outfit. It’s a classic frame, but it’s also a kind of nod to vintage frames.
So do you consider yourself to be a fine art?
I would consider myself an artistic ho. I always have been, and always have – even though I’m not good at painting, it’s the thought that counts.
I mean, technically you are a professional painter if you painted the packaging.
Yes. I am a painter. I paint my face pretty well.
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