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Influence Peddler: Patrick Starrr Shines Bright as MAC’s Key Artist Collaborator

Twelve items created by the beauty guru will debut next month online and in physical stores.

It has been a whirlwind few weeks for influencer Patrick Starrr.

Last week news broke that Starrr, whose real name is Patrick Simondac, would launch a yearlong collaboration with MAC Cosmetics. The deal with Starrr, who turned 28 last year, is MAC’s “broadest” collaboration to date, according to the company. Specifically, the effort stretches beyond typical paid-for content deals or product partnerships with Starrr given full creative reigns, according to MAC. He also has a new E! News Snapchat program called “Face Forward,” a fresh take on the tried-and-true makeover tutorial. This weekend, Starrr will cohost the first American Influencer Awards in Los Angeles alongside Kandee Johnson.

As a gay man who often dons a turban, Starrr acknowledged he doesn’t fit the typical beauty guru mold. Raised in Orlando, Fla. as a “good Catholic Filipino boy,” Starrr found an outlet for his makeup artistry working at a MAC Cosmetics counter. Looking to further express his skills, he posted his first YouTube video in 2013.

He’s come a long way from begging for more hours at the mall — he’s now one of the poster boys of influencer beauty tutorials. Starrr’s YouTube channel has more than 3 million subscribers. His Instagram sports more than 3.7 million followers.

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MAC would not comment on dollar projections, but industry sources expect the collections will easily sail past the $25 million sales mark within the year.

Starrr’s deal with MAC is unique. In his role as the brand’s Key Artist Collaborator, Starrr will not only create the products but also direct and conceptualize campaign visuals, packaging and looks. Typically, according to the company, MAC drives the development of visuals, but with his role, a mix of visuals will be incorporated. Throughout 2018, Starrr will launch a series of trend kits for spring, summer and fall as well as a holiday collection for 2018.

Each release will have special packaging Starrr helped create with different moods. He hinted there will be some “guests” along the way and noted that his mother played a role in the first release with a MamaStarrr lipstick shade.

Impressed with Starr’s knowledge of the line — and a common love for old school products such as Coty’s Airspun – MAC and Starrr hit upon the idea of doing multiple launches.

“It went from two to 12 and I was like, oh my god. It was a like beautiful headache,” he said of the challenge and opportunity.

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One of the 12 items launching on Dec. 14.
The first 12 items debut online and in stores on Dec. 14. Social channels have teased eye shadow palettes, lipsticks, lip pencils and a signature Patrick’s Powder meant for “baking” — one of his favorite techniques. Prices are expected to range from $17 to $34.

Before MAC, Starrr worked with Formula X and Sephora on three custom nail polishes that sold out completely. He’s also promoted Tarte, MAC, Benefit Cosmetics (his image was on the Benefit lip display in Sephora) and Urban Decay. In August, he posted his Kim Kardashian makeup tutorial that has more than 9.8 million views.

Here, he delves deeper into his collaboration with MAC, how he handles Internet trolls and why he doesn’t have the urge to create his own line — at least, right now.

WWD: The launch of your collection with MAC is less than a month away. What excites you the most?

Patrick Starrr: What makes it so special is that I did work at MAC. To come full circle in less than four years since working there and have a collection is so, so special. The social media outlet that was most exciting was my personal Facebook because that is where I shared the news and spent all day reading comments from my past coworkers. I told them they can do it too!

I also wanted to make this makeup artist-friendly. I was conscious of making this for someone who is a budding artist working in a mall to build their makeup kit as well as someone’s grandmother shopping.

WWD: What will you be wearing to host the American Influencer Awards this Saturday?

P.S.: All of my outfits are designed by me and I work with a seamstress. I’ll wear something glam…and something more glam. Realistically I plan on two to three outfits.

WWD: What social media platforms do you check first thing in the morning and what’s the last at night?

P.S.: In the morning, I look at Snapchat and I’ll end up on Twitter. Midday I’ll scroll through Instagram and Instagram Stories. I love just scrolling through Twitter…all the memes. I also watch YouTube all day, it is my TV.

WWD: Do you ever fear sharing too much?

P.S.: I do feel there sometimes is too much sharing on social media. But I know I’m a beauty channel and resource. Most things I share are just beauty. And if I do share my family, I’ll bring it back to beauty. I’ll have digital detoxes occasionally and put my phone down, especially during dinner and just enjoy the moment.

WWD: How do you handle negativity?

P.S.:  I’ll confess a ventilation practice that I do. It is like writing a letter and throwing it away. I’ll reply to a mean comment and just slowly backspace. If there is a nasty comment, I’ll reply but never send. There are kids choosing me to do as school projects. It is special I get to be a part of people’s education and I wouldn’t want any trash talk about there.

WWD: Does a paid disclaimer take away from a post?

P.S.: We have to be honest about it. People need to know and it is fair to mention partnerships. If you see a YouTuber who has been using a product for a long time and then has a partnership, that makes it more exciting and authentic. For example, I’ve been using Benefit since I had their powders and primers in my little Caboodle. So, when I was approached by them, it was full circle. The relationship wasn’t dimmed by acknowledging the fact posts were paid partnerships because I used the products even before that. We give companies tangibility by working with us and they give us credibility.

WWD: Do you want to have your own brand?

P.S.: The thing is, of course, it is everyone’s dream. I just don’t want to tie myself down this year. To put it into perspective, if you think about it, the credible part of my career has been working with other brands. I’m growing so, so fast because I’ve been working with Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Tyra Banks. The only way I could have gotten these partnerships is to be a beauty guru. I wouldn’t be able to get Kim if I had a contour stick, or Katy and Cover Girl if I had my own brand. I want to continue to be a makeup artist and authority — a brand that works with other brands.