Describing Bretman Rock is no easy task. You might say he’s a queer Filipino-American influencer from Hawaii, but you could just as easily describe him as a makeup artist, performer, or comedian. He prefers “digital celebrity,” but if you’re one of the nearly 40 million people who follow him across various platforms, you’ll know in some ways that’s too limiting a label.
Rock, 22, became a bona fide internet sensation when one of his makeup tutorials went viral. It was instructional, yes, but with directives like “now you’re going to draw a penis on your nose,” it embodied the kind of bawdy, playful humor Rock has become known for.
That was back in 2016, and over the past five years his online presence—which exists as a grab bag of content across YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter—has only expanded, with the success landing him magazine covers, front row seats at Fashion Week, and plenty of brand deals (most recently an eyewear collaboration). It’s a degree of accomplishment that Rock wanted to recognize and reflect in his new home, a three-story mansion in Hawaii.
“I wanted the house to feel as if a cool, gay island kid got really rich.… It needed to scream ‘gay Asian immigrant success.’ I wanted to live that fantasy,” he says of his vision for the home, an airy, cream-colored villa nestled between the mountains and the sea.
Rock says “fantasy,” but that’s essentially the real-life story of the Philippines-born, Hawaii-raised influencer, who this past year reached what might be described as peak internet stardom by landing his own reality show. MTV Following: Bretman Rock is like an extended plot-driven version of his daily content, which sees him doing everything from flying kites to pole dancing. This season focuses on his day-to-day antics in a posh beachfront rental while his dream home is Bretman Rock–ified.
And now renovations are done, with three of his home’s five bedrooms converted to more Bretman-worthy uses. Rock still does plenty of beauty tutorials (although he’s not relegated to the famously drama-filled makeup vlogger community) and so a beauty room was necessary. His setup includes columns of makeup drawers, a ring light big enough for an elephant, and a prodigious wall of wigs in every color under the rainbow. Another bedroom was made into Rock’s second closet, while a third was converted into a studio complete with a green screen and professional lighting and video equipment.
Rock tapped Hawaii-based interior design firm MCYIA, led by Chuen Yee, to revamp the home’s interior. “I was looking for women who understood that I’m a weird person,” he says of his decision, explaining how the team was able to translate his exuberant taste into something both buoyant and relaxed. To satisfy Rock’s penchant for vivid primary colors, they started by whitewashing the previously yellow walls and adding feature walls in plum, rust, and gray. Yee also wallpapered some areas in neutral tropics-inspired Philip Jeffries prints so Rock could bring in color with furniture and lighting.