Patrick Starrr talks to TenEighty about his first UK convention, the importance of visibility for the LGBTQ+ community and his experiences growing up.
The US-based Filipino makeup artist has collaborated with Kim Kardashian-West, Rhianna and Katy Perry, amongst others. When discussing his experience at VidCon London, Patrick told TenEighty, “It’s amazing. I didn’t expect it to be so colourful,” and described the event as “a great combination of entertainment and insight”. When asked how it compares to similar American events, he laughed, “The UK viewers are so much more pleasant, more polite and less rowdy.”
Patrick shared the story of a young girl who approached him at the convention, “[She said], ‘I want to thank you for being so confident. I’ve just come out as bisexual.’ But she was 12! People twice [her] age wouldn’t even fathom the courage to come out!”. He explained that the visibility that is empowered through public events such as DragCon, Pride and VidCon is very helpful for young people in their journeys.
Patrick was a panellist on the LGBTQ+: Coming Out Online Panel, alongside Doug Armstrong, Elle Mills, and Riyadh Khalaf. They talked about their experiences coming out in the YouTube community and the reaction they received. Reflecting on his time on the panel, Patrick talked about how great it was to be physically in the same space as the audience who relates to him through the screen. He said the panel was “amazing for visibility” and highlighted the importance of normalising being LGBTQ+ in young people’s journeys to figuring out their identity.
The conversation then turned to Patrick’s own journey growing up. He has a close relationship with his parents and brothers, but recognises how hard it must have been for them bringing him up:
“They didn’t know any benchmarks to beauty or having such a forward child. I think most parents, when they go into parenthood, they just go with what they know. And this is something they didn’t know. Handling someone who was gay, or bound to be gay, or bound to be a star… It was very, very difficult for them, but they did the best they could with what they knew.”
He continued by saying, “They didn’t ban me or shun me in any way, they just did research. I think that was the best. For me to work with them, I had to give them insight into what I was doing. I had to say to them, ‘I’m not being outlandish, I’m not being rambunctious, this is something I need to do.'”
He concluded, “Makeup comes off at the end of the day, I’m still your son.”
Photography: Mark Chilvers.