‘Australians really show the love’: makeup mogul Jeffree Star shines at live beauty event
WORDS BY NICOLE BAXTER
TW: self-harm, suicide
Makeup artist Jeffree Star headlined Princess Polly Live this weekend in Sydney, a ‘live beauty’ event involving a Q&A session and panel discussion among social media influencers. Held in the State Theatre and facilitated by fashion and beauty retailer Princess Polly, the event included special guests Michael Finch, Sammy Robinson and Cartia Mallan alongside controversial Californian local Jeffree Star.
The event makes up part of a world tour that Jeffree is completing alongside boyfriend Nathan Schwandt, to promote his makeup company, Jeffree Star Cosmetics. “Moments like this are what make it all worth it,” he told moderator Ash London, “being able to travel the world and connect with people is the best feeling.” The multi-million-dollar brand launched in 2014 and has ranges of products including lipsticks, highlighters, eyeshadow palettes, accessories and apparel. Jeffree mainly promotes his company through his beauty YouTube channel, which just hit 10 million subscribers. Princess Polly Live broke the record for the fastest sell-out of tickets in the State Theatre’s history. And it’s no surprise considering in 2006, Star was the most followed person on MySpace (yeah, he's ancient).
During the ‘intimate’ Q&A session, Jeffree discussed the importance of social media to his brand’s success. “I think social media’s so great,” he said, “because there’s so many people out there that can view my brand. I often get asked why I’m not in stores, and it’s my choice to be. It’s cool because I have such a big platform, and my website generates 80% of the total brand sales.
Jeffree was recently the subject of a five-part documentary by fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson entitled ‘The Secret World of Jeffree Star’, which Jeffree says, “broke views records even Netflix can’t touch.” The series gained over 60 million views in the first week, landing each episode at number one on the ‘most trending’ videos list on YouTube. The documentary followed Jeffree’s everyday life, showing how he operates several businesses as well as his YouTube channel, with an inside look into his dark past. “I really wanted to do projects that made me uncomfortable, took me out of my comfort zone. It also felt very vulnerable because there were so many things revealed that I had never really shared,” he said. “I am at a point where I don’t have anything to lose and I want to be transparent. I learned that it’s okay to have things wrong with you.”.
Jeffree commented on the lengths that gender equality still has to go, particularly when it comes to men in makeup. “It’s difficult to be taken seriously, your gender can really affect that. Some people think that men can’t be makeup artists or only women can be the face of something. That’s drastically changing,” he said. “The fact that there’s a sick boy in beauty out here makes me so happy.”
Neither the author of this piece nor PULP endorse the controversial views of Jeffree Star.
While Star has managed to cement himself as a key figure in the beauty industry, criticism surrounding his racist past continues to shadow his career. Even Kim Kardashian's 2017 defence of him couldn't shake it (because Kim is obviously the queen of racial equality...)