The untold truth of Bretman Rock

Bretman Rock, born Bretman Rock Sacayanan, is one of the biggest stars of the internet. Rising to fame as a teenager, the vlogger is famous for his beauty videos, but he is so much more than just a beauty influencer. The YouTube star is also beloved for his sassy personality, quirky sense of humor, and confident style. He's got millions of followers across his social media accounts, with over ten million fans on Instagram alone.

The larger than life star isn't just expressing himself online, either. He's also breaking down barriers as being one of the few men in the beauty industry. If you aren't already a fan of Rock's, you will be after you get to learn more about this bold social media star. His over the top online presence belies a down to earth personality that many of his fans are unaware of. Here's a closer look at Bretman Rock, from his childhood inspiration to his plans for the future.

Yes, that's his real name

Bretman Rock is a pretty unusual name, so it wouldn't be surprising for people to think that it was a made-up social media handle designed to conceal a person's real identity. While Rock did keep his last name private when he was first starting to become known online, Bretman and Rock are indeed his first two names. How did he come by such an unusual moniker? He has his dad to thank for it.

Rock's dad is a big pro-wrestling fan, and he wanted to pay homage to some of his favorite wrestlers in his son's name. "My dad was obsessed with wrestlers, and he liked Bret Hart and The Rock, so that's how he got Bretman Rock," Rock told KITV. It's a unique name for a unique person. His one-of-a-kind name has made the already unique media personality stand out even more, ensuring that people won't forget his name any time soon.

He was just an ordinary high school student when he went viral

Rock came to fame at a young age, but had been active for years before becoming popular. He first became active on YouTube when he was in eighth grade (although he has since deleted the videos since he thinks he "looked a hot mess") and by the time he was 17 his name was known by millions. Being a teenager is tough enough for those who live life out of the spotlight. "It all happened so fast," Rock told KITV shortly after hitting the big time. "Just two months ago I was at 200k [Instagram followers] and now I'm at 2.7 million." That was in 2015; it wasn't long before that number of followers had tripled.

In spite of his fame, Rock stayed grounded, focused on maintaining his 3.5 GPA and being on Student Council. "I want to live like a normal life," he said. "I don't want to not be normal. I mean, I'm a boy that wears makeup, but I want to be as normal as I can."

His overnight popularity literally broke Instagram

Some people take years to make it big. Others never get there at all. A very lucky few, like Rock, become viral so fast that they break the internet. Okay, he didn't break the whole thing, but his account became popular so quickly after one of his videos went viral that Instagram had to shut down his account. Rock told KITV that so many new people were adding him (roughly 100 thousand per week) that it "broke the system," so Instagram shut down his account. His fans weren't too happy about it, and soon #bringbretmanback was trending on Twitter.

After that, Rock's account was restored, but it took him a while to adjust to his new fame. At the beginning, he was convinced that his internet popularity was just a phase. "I'm just letting it go day by day," he said in 2015. "I'm not planning my future with social media because I know one day I'm going to flop and no one is going to find me funny." Of course, as we now know, people continue to find him funny and Rock is still going strong.

His secret talent: He's a gifted athlete

A lot of people see Rock's full face of makeup and flamboyant personality and assume that he's not the athletic type, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Rock is actually a gifted athlete and was a star of his high school track team. "Before I fell in love with beauty, I fell in love with fitness first," he told PopSugar. "Ever since I was a child, I was always upside down, running around, or hanging somewhere; I was always signed up for sports like soccer, volleyball, cross country, and the love of my life: track."

Now that he's out of school, Rock still makes a point of staying in shape. "I do CrossFit three times a week and weightlifting two times a week, and then I do my own training in the weekends," he said. So basically I'm working out the whole week. … It's the only time I feel like a regular-schmegular person."

He stays true to himself by "saying f*** you to anyone that tells me otherwise"

Rock's many fans have been drawn to his magnetic, over-the-top personality. He may be famous as a beauty expert, but Rock is also a born entertainer who loves to ham it up for the camera. While he might come on a little strong for some people, Rock isn't backing down. "Being regular and doing what people expect you to do is sooo BORING, and I'm anything but boring," he told PopSugar. "I keep true to myself by simply doing what I feel like doing and saying f*** you to anyone that tells me otherwise."

Rock is all about keeping it real and staying true to himself, and he has no problem conveying that message with a bit of potty-mouthed frankness. "If someone told me I can't wear makeup because I'm a boy or lift weights because I'm too gay, then I will deadlift my a** off with a full face of makeup, with a blinding highlight, using my Babe in Paradise palette just as a big F U to their faces," he said.

Find out how his grandma is his beauty inspiration

Rock became fascinated with beauty products when he was around 4 or 5 years old. "I knew I was going to love or be doing beauty when I would watch my grandmother get ready for church," he told HelloGiggles. "It was a cool process to watch how makeup would make her feel when she put it on, and the confidence it gave her."

His family supported his love of beauty, and Rock's mother let him experiment with her makeup, something he is still grateful for. "Sometimes I get emotional because I had it so easy," he told The Philippine Star. "When I'm talking to people, I can't relate to them, especially when a fan comes up and tells me, 'Oh my God, Bret, you've inspired me so much. My parents don't accept me for being gay.' And I'm like, I don't know what my life would be if my parents didn't accept me the way that they do."

"I live the fight for LGBTQ rights everyday by just living honestly and openly"

One of the things that resonates so deeply with Rock's millions of fans is his confidence. Rock is unabashedly himself and celebrates his individuality. He has turned into something of an icon in the LGBTQ community, and for good reason. The makeup guru has always been open about his sexuality and is proud of who he is. While he wouldn't consider himself to be an LGBTQ activist, his confidence has been an inspiration to many.

"It's hard to say I'm "involved" in LGBTQ activism, as I think I live the fight for LGBTQ rights everyday by just living honestly and openly and showing people it's okay to be different," Rock told Paper. "Of course, I stand strong and proud with all my brothers and sisters or whomever they identify as. They have always been there for me and because of that I will always be there for them and continue to actively fight and support causes that do the same."

Repping his Filipino heritage is super important to him

Rock was born in the Philippines, where he lived for the first few years of his life. He later moved to Hawaii, but he hasn't forgotten his roots. He has even garnered fame in the Philippines, where he hosted the 2017 Miss Universe Red Carpet. "People here are so heartwarming and nice… I feel like I'm best friends with all my supporters here," Rock told The Philippine Star. "That's all you can really ask for."

Rock isn't just proud of where he comes from, but is also dedicated to representing his fellow Filipinos. "I feel great to show the beauty of Filipinos (they are some of the brightest people in the world) because we are underrated and have the stereotype of being poor or ugly, especially in Asia," he told HelloGiggles. "I want to prove that Filipinos can do things just the same as others, if not better — and cuter."

Promoting diversity through beauty

As a person of color, Rock is well aware of the need for diversity in the beauty industry. To him, beauty is a means of self-expression, and he wants to share that with the world. When he released his highlighter palette in 2018, a collaboration with Morphe, Rock made sure to pay homage to both of his homelands and to celebrate diversity. "My highlighter is a piece of me; it's a piece of my life," he told PopSugar. "I grew up in the islands my whole life — living in the Philippines and moving to Hawaii when I was 8. I was always surrounded by nature and beautiful, diverse people, which is my main inspiration for my palette. I really wanted to capture that."

Rock added that it was important that people of any skin tone and type could use his palette. "I want everyone who uses my highlighters to feel the warmth of the islands and feel like a babe in paradise," he said.

Ignoring the haters and focusing on the present

While mainstream society has made major strides in embracing the growing presence of men in the beauty industry, there's still room for growth. Rock has to deal with a lot of people who attack him, but he isn't letting them get in his way. Instead, he calls them out with sassy posts on social media. "I just want my haters to know that I've been eating well and healthy lately… so if you think I'm dying soon, I'm here to tell you I'm not…" he wrote in one such post on Instagram.

Instead of getting caught up in the negativity, Rock is focusing on enjoying his success. "Honestly I'm taking things day by day, I hate thinking about what's next because I start getting anxiety," he told Celeb Secrets. "I usually wait for opportunities and act on them if I like them or I like to really think through any new ideas I have. I'm focusing on traveling more right now and maybe doing some shows."