Bretman Rock opens up to PEOPLE about his evolution as a digital star and how he stays out of drama

By Tomás Mier
July 14, 2021 04:00 AM
Advertisement

There's not a real job title that describes who Bretman Rock is and what he does.

Makeup guru? That's his past. TikTok star? He does more than that. TV personality? That's not quite it either. For Rock, that's kind of the point. He's down to do anything.

Ahead of the newest episode of his 30 Days With: Bretman Rock show on YouTube, the Filipino star (whose full name is Bretman Rock Sacayanan) talks to PEOPLE about his ascent to being Gen Z's favorite person to follow online and why his stacked career is just getting started.

"When I say I came from nothing, I really came from nothing," he tells PEOPLE candidly, referring to his upbringing in the Philippines before moving to Hawaii. "All of this was literally just a dream."

"Growing up as an immigrant kid, we are told that we have to work twice as hard as everybody else. And we're told to keep our heads down," he adds. "Like, when you enter someone's house, you take your shoes off, you leave your pride at the door. And you always want to work with your head down."

bretman rock
Credit: Courtesy Bretman Rock

He certainly knows a thing or two about hard work — at just 22, he's become one of the most celebrated content creators. He started his journey on YouTube and Vine before transitioning into the makeup space online where his hilarious videos made him a household name for Gen Z'ers.

Over the past year and a half, however, Rock's videos and content did a complete 180 as he strayed away from beauty and makeup and focused on things like fashion, lifestyle and even helming an ab workout challenge on TikTok. (See above for proof that it works...)

"People forget to realize that I also reinvented myself to get into makeup. If you really scroll all the way down into my Instagram, you will probably see a post in there where I was like, 'Hey guys, I'm going to start doing makeup now.' And ever since that one post, I started wearing makeup," he says, before adding a Bretman-style quip. "Now I'm just like, 'Yeah, y'all got it. I'm beautiful. We got that out of the way.'"

"I'm just getting older," he adds in a more serious tone. "Not that my interest with makeup is gone, but I just feel like I want to venture out more into my other talents because I am not a one trick pony."

Adding, "I'm so much more than makeup."

He sure is. Using TikTok as a new medium to reach fans during the pandemic that had kids glued to their phone, Rock's following became even more diverse.

RELATED: Kate Moss Stars in Sexy New Ads for Kim Kardashian's SKIMS — See the Topless Photo

"I just feel like my audience is interested in anything that I do. Dare I say, even when I was making my science experiment videos, they lived for that," he says. (Let's not forget the time when he'd rate a different cereal flavor every day on his Instagram Story.) "I just feel like people would watch me do anything. I could make two hour videos of me putting bracelets together and people would watch that."

With over 12 million followers and nearly 250 million likes on TikTok, nearly 9 million subscribers and 17 million followers on YouTube, he's easily cemented himself as one of the most beloved creators online. He's also devoid of the drama that surrounds some of the internet world's biggest names (think Tana Mongeau or James Charles). The key? "I just genuinely stay the f— out of L.A," he says from his Hawaii mansion.

"I really do feel like there's only a couple of people who are grounded and know how to be a human being," he says. "So often, I go to L.A. and I feel like I'm hanging out with robots. And all they do is sit around and talk about other people. I could run my mouth, but at the same time, if that's all we're doing is talking about other people, it's not cute!"

"When I'm in L.A, I literally clock in and I clock the f— out," he adds. "I'm never there for fun or for pleasure." Plus, he has his entire family — his cousins and sister who join him in a lot of his content and his mom — close by on the island as well.

bretman rock
Credit: Courtesy Bretman Rock

RELATED: Fans Praise Kourtney Kardashian for Sharing an 'Unedited' Thong Bikini Photo: 'Way to Empower'

Rock's latest venture found him surviving in the jungle. On YouTube Originals' 30 Days With:, the digital star was taught the proper survival skills to live in the Hawaiian jungle all on his own.

"When YouTube first came to me, I just wasn't really taking the meetings seriously. They were like, 'What do you want to do?' So I was like, 'I want to go into the jungle,' kind of just saying it out loud," he says. "And they took that s— too seriously. A little too seriously, because the next meeting, they were like, 'We're coming to Hawaii next week.'"

"My body was really just running on coconut water, the little foamy thing that forms the coconut when they start to root, and guava," he adds. "That's all I had for that whole entire week. And nonetheless, I feel like I learned so much about myself, things like you literally could not learn or even pay me to learn about myself."

One of those lessons? "What I'm doing now is no longer just my dream anymore," he says. "It's become everybody's dream for me. Everybody's rooting for me. And it just really taught me to be so much more grateful for what I do."

Although he says he would never do it again ("That s— was so motherf—ing irritating," he says), it reminded him that he's doing exactly what he loves to do: being in front of a camera. He makes it clear that this YouTube show (and his past MTV reality show) are just the beginning.

"Bretman wants to sharpen more knives. I never want to settle for less," he says as he manifests future successes for himself: "Maybe [my] own Netflix special one day. Who knows?"

"I'm really embodying the true essence of Bretman Rock," he adds, before concocting the job title that best suits him: "the best entertainer of his generation. Period."