YouTube Makeup Guru Patrick Starrr: ‘There’s No Playbook for Doing What I Do’

Todd Spangler
·5-min read

Last year, Patrick Simondac — the makeup artist, digital influencer and entrepreneur known online as Patrick Starrr — noticed a trend of people going back to natural beauty looks during the pandemic.

He wondered what that might mean for the brand appeal of Patrick Starrr, whose makeup style he describes as “maximalist,” with a “technique similar to a drag queen.”

His YouTube subscriber numbers have held steady: He has 4.4 million subs on YouTube, and more than 12 million followers across all platforms. But over the past year, Patrick Starrr’s YouTube views did drop — from an average of 4.4 million monthly views in 2019 to 1.6 million in 2020, per analytics firm Social Blade.

To Patrick, the quality of engagement with his followers is more important than quantity. During quarantine, his fanbase was as hungry as ever for his tutorials, makeovers, music videos, collabs and more. “I eat, sleep and breathe makeup,” he says. “I think people were longing for that.”

In July 2020, in a new bid to diversify his business, Patrick Starrr launched his own beauty brand, One/Size, in partnership with Luxury Brand Partners, available online and through an exclusive partnership with national retailer Sephora. And on Friday, One/Size is debuting a new product: Turn Up the Base, a foundation powder with 32 shades.

“There was an opportunity for me to have something of my own,” he says. “When I launched partnerships in the past, it was for someone else.”

And in late 2020, Patrick launched his first podcast, “Say Yas to the Guest,” produced by podcast network Dear Media. “The podcast has let me show a different side, how I’ve enveloped beauty and the entertainment side of beauty,” he says.

When he first launched his YouTube channel in 2013, Simondac had no expectations that he would still be producing beauty content eight years later or that Patrick Starrr would have grown into a commercial enterprise.

“There’s no playbook for doing what I do,” Patrick says. “I had no idea this would be a business. I didn’t recognize a lot of people who looked like me in the beauty space.”

Simondac compares his Patrick Starrr alter-ego to a child. “The 31-year-old in me has to make business decisions, like hiring, and moving millions of dollars around,” he says. “With Patrick Starrr, I have to manage an 8-year-old who is still learning how to walk and talk and live. It’s unique.”

Born in New York, Patrick was raised in Orlando, Fla. (His Twitter bio reads, “Makeup Artist. Youtuber. Floridian. Fierce Filipino.”) He kicked off his beauty career as a photographer in Orlando, which sparked his interest in learning how to apply makeup. Following his decision to turn his passion for makeup into a career, he was employed at MAC Cosmetics before launching on YouTube as Patrick Starrr (not to be confused with the dopey sidekick Patrick Star from “SpongeBob SquarePants”).

With the launch of his One/Size line, Simondac’s approach to social media these days is increasingly filtered through a marketing lens and how to boost engagement with beauty consumers. “We want to create an immersive marketplace… where we can be seen and heard,” he says.

The top three platforms he focuses on are TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. “Because of the pandemic we’re having to discover innovative ways to amplify [content] through multiple platforms,” Patrick says. The metaphor he uses: “I’m the zookeeper and the platforms are the animals – sometimes one of the animals gets hungrier.”

The Patrick Starrr team includes his executive producer, Fabian Quinonez; his agent and manager, Christina Jones, SVP of talent at UTA’s Digital Brand Architects; his younger brother, Peter Simondac, who handles the role of operations manager; and “Say Yas to the Guest” executive producer and editor Diezavel Mandl.

“He has the unique ability to connect with audiences from all walks of life,” Jones says of her client. “He doesn’t take that lightly, taking time out of his days to get to know his audience on a deeper level, from FaceTiming, to DM’ing, to surprising them with a secret visit, Patrick puts his all into his work because he knows his work isn’t just helping himself out, it’s helping anyone who has felt like they don’t fit in, to feel OK and accepted for who they are.”

Patrick’s celebrity collaborations have included Kim Kardashian West, Jessica Alba, Katy Perry, Paris Hilton, Tyra Banks, Kris Jenner and Naomi Campbell. He has worked with top makeup brands such as Tarte, Benefit Cosmetic, and Urban Decay to help promote new product launches and collections. His most recent cosmetics collaboration was a yearlong partnership with MAC Cosmetics.

Meanwhile, Patrick also is the founder of beauty influencer incubator/agency called the Beauty Coop, where he aims to help emerging talent navigate their careers. In 2018-19, he served as executive producer and host of E!’s Snapchat show “Face Forward.” He’s also an active member of GLAAD and works with other LGBTQ-related charities and initiatives.

Patrick currently lives in Los Angeles with his brother Peter — and, of course, his extensive beauty room.

As for the inevitable trolls who pop up online, Simondac says he’s better able to tune out negativity and harassment. “I have taken the reins about how I react — I have a more mature approach to how I deal with social media,” he says. “At 17, I would have not known how to react.”

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