What You Don't Know About Jeffree Star

If you haven't heard of Jeffree Star yet, where have you been? The mogul's androgynous style, bright hair, and many tattoos help him cut a distinctive figure, first in the music business and later in the makeup industry, and his larger-than-life personality makes him a force to be reckoned with. Born Jeffrey Lynn Steininger, the celeb's name change to Jeffree Star would prove to be prophetic, as he has clearly transformed himself into an iconic star.

From music to makeup, Star has had a prolific career since first becoming well-known on MySpace in the mid-2000s. From there, the singer/songwriter transitioned into an entrepreneur, and made a name for himself as a beauty influencer on YouTube. Today, Star runs a hugely successful makeup company. His influence has won him many fans (and enemies ... and drama, ahem, Kat Von D). But no matter what you think about him, you can't deny that Star's success story is an inspirational one. Here's everything you never knew about Jeffree Star.

Owning up to his racist past

No one is perfect, but how celebrities handle scandals and controversy can reveal a lot about their character. In Star's case, the issue was a pretty racist video of his, which resurfaced in 2017. Instead of making excuses for himself, Star issued a public apology for his past mistakes. "In these videos I say some really disgusting, vile, nasty and embarrassing things," he said in a YouTube video. "Those videos were 12 years ago and I look at them and it just makes me sick to my stomach because I don't know who that person was."

Star revealed that he had been in a bad place when he created that video, and that years of childhood trauma had contributed to him being depressed, but that he is a different person now. "That person was just angry at the world, that person felt like they were not accepted, that person was seeking attention," he said. "But does that make it okay? Absolutely not."

I'm Jeffree, and I'm attracted to whoever I want to be

Star regularly sports pink hair and had a pretty public relationship with his ex-boyfriend Nate Schwandt, but he's still not going to make any sweeping generalizations about his sexuality — and he shouldn't have to. The entrepreneur is perfectly happy rejecting labels and just being himself. Back in his performance days, he expressed frustration at being labeled. "They think I'm just a 'gay artist' because I like guys," he told Westword. "But I'm a worldwide artist."

When he was first making a name for himself, Star would often refer to himself as gay or androgynous, but now he recognizes that this was taking "an easy route."

"I am attracted to both genders and I have been with transgender people and I just don't even know if there's a name for it," he told Paper Magazine. "And even with all these new labels out there, I still am just like, 'I'm Jeffree, and I'm attracted to whoever I want to be.'"

The one substance he indulges in

He might have enough money and fame to live a rock and roll lifestyle, but Star doesn't go too crazy. The makeup mogul doesn't drink alcohol and doesn't even smoke cigarettes, although there is one substance he likes to consume: marijuana. The drug is legal in California, where Star lived until 2021, so he wasn't running afoul of any laws when he chose to light up a joint. "I love marijuana," he told Cosmopolitan. "I just love the feeling of it."

It seems like weed might be one of the ways that the celeb deals with the pressures of fame — and there are a lot of them. "I would rather just be successful and have money than be famous," he admitted. "I know that's crazy coming from me, of all people, but I think it's just old age. Not old age — it's just wisdom and life experiences."

His view on caked-on makeup

Many people associate caked-on makeup negatively, and view makeup as something to enhance your appearance or to cover up flaws, but Star is trying to change how we look at his favorite beauty tool. According to Star, makeup is a powerful means of self expression that goes far beyond trying to make yourself look good.

He told Glamour that when he first started playing with makeup as a kid, he "didn't really know what it was," but he was transfixed by it. "I just loved the idea of transformation," he said. "I loved that you could become a character. So to me it was an extension of art ... it's almost like a mask or a costume. You just feel different, like a boss-a** b****. And I love that at the end of the day you can wipe it off, and you're back to you. It's an extension of your artistic side."

He doesn't see himself as a role model

Star's determination to live life on his own terms has inspired a lot of people, but he hesitates to call himself a role model. When he first popped up on the music scene, a lot of people didn't know what to make of him, but soon grew to love his individuality. When asked back in 2009 if he considered himself to be a role model for young people in the LGBTQ community, Star said that many people have said they look up to him, but he found it "very weird."

"I don't consider myself a role model," he told Out Magazine. "But in reality it's like, if my music or my being myself can help other people, that's all that really matters to me. ... So if me living my life and people seeing it online or on TV, if it helps their lives, then that's the most important thing I think."

The inspiration behind his tattoos

If you've ever seen a picture of Star, or been lucky enough to witness his star power in person, you'll have noticed that he is covered in a lot of tattoos. Star's love of inked skin is legendary, and his tattoos all have a story behind them. Many of his tats are of people he admires and wants to immortalize on his body. Among his tattoos are portraits of Sharon Tate and Princess Diana. "I'm obsessed with art, and you know when you're younger and someone tells you that you can't change your appearance, you're going to want change it more than normal," he told Out Magazine. "So now I'm like a walking canvas."

He does, however, caution people not to get tattoos unless they're serious about them. He hated his first tattoo so much he had it lasered off, a process he said was painful and stinky. "It smells like chicken, so think before get a tattoo!" he said. "Because that s*** hurts!"

Being cruelty-free is vital

When it comes to loving animals, Star doesn't just talk the talk. He backs up his love for his furry friends through his business, which is cruelty free. His makeup line has the support of animal rights organizations PETA and Leaping Bunny. "I think it's so archaic that cosmetic companies are still using animal by-products and insects in their products!" he told Logical Harmony. "Why is anyone still doing that?"

Star's line might be vegan-friendly, but he doesn't want anyone to think that he himself lives that lifestyle — even if letting them might mean increased sales. "I personally own non-vegan materials and am very open about that," he said. "I don't think it's right to pretend to be someone you're not to get sales."

So why did he ensure that his line is cruelty free? "It was a simple choice: I didn't want to exclude anyone, that wasn't fair," he said. "And it's morally right. End of story."

Music was his first love

Way before he was known for his cosmetics line, Star was making a name for himself in the music industry. You might remember him from his MySpace days, when he enthralled listeners with glam rock tunes. He even collaborated with rap sensation Nicki Minaj on the song "Lollipop Luxury." His first album debuted in 2009, and he performed on the Warped Tour. Though Star lives a simpler life these days, he got a little wild back when music was his career. "I'm all about business, usually, but of course I like to go out and have fun," he told Red River Noise in 2010. "The other night I punched a girl and threw drinks everywhere."

At one point, Star was advertised as the next Lady Gaga, but creative differences led to his second album not being released, and by 2013, he had quit music altogether. It was the end of an era, but Star didn't let the end of his music career slow him down for long.

Launching his makeup business was a risky gamble

After Star's music career ended, he decided to turn towards another one of his passions: makeup. While he had built up a name for himself and amassed a legion of followers in his pop star days, he wasn't exactly rolling in money. In order to launch his makeup business, he had to make a risky move. He sank the entirety of his life's savings into his first product, a line of liquid lipstick.

Star had some experience in the industry, having previously worked as a makeup artist at MAC Cosmetics, but the bold move into product creation was a big step. "It was either this was gonna work out for me or I was gonna have to go back to the mall ... and work at MAC again," Star told Cosmopolitan. "It was probably the most scared I've been in my entire life." Fortunately, the move paid off, and Star now has so much money, he'll probably never have to worry about it again.

Jeffree Star has had feuds with a number of celebs

Jeffree Star's popularity hasn't come without a heavy dose of drama. Aside from his incredible skills, he's known for courting controversy through his many messy relationships with fellow celebs. He's publicly had beef with Kat Von D, James Charles, Kylie Jenner, and Kim Kardashian, to name a few (via Elle).

Some of the feuding seems to have been blown out of proportion, like when Star dragged Kardashian after she posted some swatches from her brand, KKW Beauty, in 2017. Kardashian admitted that she was still "learning," though, and that Star was right to call out her "struggle swatches."

Other feuds have been decidedly messier, though, like Star's years-long drama with fellow celeb makeup mogul Kat Von D. While the two were once friends, Von D publicly ended her friendship with Star in 2016, writing on social media that the relationship ended because of Star's "drug use, racism, and bullying" (via Teen Vogue). According to Cosmopolitan, Von D also claimed Star's makeup line included stolen artwork. The two have continued to take jabs at each other over the years, and it seems their friendship will never recover.

He didn't speak to his mom for years

When you're as famous as Jeffree Star, you're bound to attract a few enemies. His strained relationships aren't limited to celeb circles, though — the makeup artist also had a strained relationship with his mom for quite some time. He revealed in August 2018 in a YouTube video that he and his mom went a decade without speaking. "The main reason is we always argued," he said. "Our personalities always clash."

While he had posted photos of someone he claimed was his mother on social media before, it turns out that the photos were actually of his aunt. The broken relationship with his mom eventually took a toll on Star, and he decided to try to fix things. When the celeb finally reach out to her, he was devastated to learn that his mother was homeless and living out of her car. Fortunately, the two made up and seem to be on much better terms now — Star ensures she has a safe place to live, and the two are working on mending their relationship.

He's super close with his grandmother

Jeffree Star may have a lot of messy relationships, but he does have a super sweet and adorable relationship with a special person: his grandmother. In fact, it sounds like a lot of his personality comes from her, as it's clear that they both march to the beat of their own drums. Star hasn't disclosed many details about her, but he did reveal in a 2019 makeup tutorial that she was 100 years old at the time, and that he is one of her few living family members, but that she's still living life to the fullest. "I'll tell you what, guys, she wears a wig every single day, she drives around, and she is just living," he said in the YouTube video. "She has had such an insane life. ... it's really crazy, and I'm just so blessed to still have her in my life."

Star explained that his grandmother doesn't want to be shown on video, but some fans suspected that the reason we don't know what she looks like is that Star made her up. Genealogist Pam Broviak was able to track down records, however, that prove Star's grandmother not only exists but that she is, in fact, over 100 years old; the findings are published on her website.

He contacted the FBI to track down makeup thieves

Jeffree Star's beauty products are hot ticket items, to the point that he's had to caution fans about buying some of the many dupes that are on the market. "Don't buy items on eBay ... [and] pay triple the price or get ripped off by FAKE makeup!" he warned in March 2019 in a tweet

A couple of days later, he revealed in a YouTube video that a mid-March warehouse robbery cost him about $2.5 million worth of products being stolen. "This is the biggest theft I've ever experienced in my entire career," he said. "This is the biggest hit as a brand. I'm still shocked about the entire thing."

Needless to say, Star was distraught, but he quickly turned to the FBI for help — and they managed to catch one of the culprits. "I don't even know where to begin right now," he tweeted on April 2. "The last few weeks have been so mentally exhausting but I'm so grateful for all the law enforcement & FBI agents who have been working on my #Concealer heist."

He broke his back in a 2021 car accident

Jeffree Star faced one of the biggest challenges of his life when he was in a major car crash in 2021. According to a tweet posted to his account, he and a friend were lucky to make it out alive after "the car flipped 3 times after hitting black ice."

 A spokesperson told NBC News that Star was driving the car, a Rolls Royce, when the accident occurred. Star broke his back while his friend had some internal bleeding. Star said in an Instagram Story (via ET) that three of his vertebrae detached, forcing him into a brace for months. "I am in the most excruciating pain ever," he said. 

As scary and as painful as the accident sounds, it could have been a lot worse, and Star was grateful to come out of the accident in one piece. "We almost lost our lives and it was one of the scariest experiences that I think I've ever been through," he said.

No, Jeffree Star didn't date Kanye West

There have been a lot of reports about the people Jeffree Star doesn't get along with, but one rumor claimed that he was on far friendlier terms with someone than he actually was. According to the gossip mill, Star had an affair with Kanye West when the rapper was still with Kim Kardashian. 

Per Forbes, the theory began circulating in 2021, with believers pointing to a 2009 song from Star in which he talks about performing NSFW activities with West. Star shot down the rumors in a YouTube video, saying, "This is so weird ... this is so stupid. Let me just say this one time ... I like very tall men." That last part refers to the fact that West is 5'8"

In an interview with Us Weekly, he said the rumor was "hilarious" but that there was no truth to it. "I see why it happened," he said, explaining that his Los Angeles home wasn't far from West's and that he has rubbed shoulders with the Kardashians. "I guess, I was on the radar?" he said. "I don't know. ... I think the rumor definitely was [about] the right time, I think, and the right place."

Why did Jeffree Star and Nathan Schwandt break up?

Jeffree Star may never have been involved with Kanye West, but he was in a long-term relationship with Nathan Schwandt, hitting it off with the skateboarder after he slid into Star's DMs. As noted by Paper Magazine, the two dated for half a decade, with Star reporting the end of the relationship in a 2020 tweet. "The hardest part has been waking up and he's not laying next to me anymore," he wrote. 

Star elaborated on the reason for the breakup in a YouTube video, in which he revealed that the couple had split a few weeks earlier at the end of 2019. It seems that the two really did care deeply for each other, but their busy lives, combined with Star's high profile, led to the deterioration of the relationship. "He never wanted to be famous, he never wanted to be in the spotlight, he never wanted attention, but he loved and believed in everything I was doing and was a part of it because I asked him to," he revealed. "My life is so public and I think it just got to a breaking point where it just wasn't healthy."

Star began dating basketball player Andre Marhold later that year, per The Sun, but appears to be single as of this writing (via Centennial Beauty).

He traded his 'chaotic' Los Angeles life for a ranch in Wyoming

When you're as wealthy as Jeffree Star (here's how much Jeffree Star is worth), you can afford the home of your dreams — many times over. Star announced in a 2021 YouTube video that he was selling his mansion in California and moving to his ranch in Wyoming. Star had shared the mansion with his ex-boyfriend, Nathan Schwandt, and said in the video, "I'm ready to stop being a single person in a 25,000 square foot home. Let a family enjoy this." 

Per Insider, the $1.1 million ranch boasts over 500 acres. While he's far removed from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, he doesn't seem to mind the tradeoff, which includes dozens of yaks. "I wanted to be kind of off-the-grid," he said of his decision to move to the small city of Casper, Wyoming in an interview with 104.7 KISS-FM

He added, "I love the vibe here. It's so quiet and peaceful and I definitely needed that in my crazy chaotic California life. So ... it was the perfect fit."