Jeffree Star wants You at his Plastic Surgery Slumber Party
I'm one of those people who resisted getting a Myspace for so very long. Seriously, I only got one a few weeks ago, and even then it was because I felt like I had no choice. I have yet to become super addicted, getting into the heavy customization and adding music and whatnot.
It turns out there are some big plusses to signing onto Myspace, particularly if you were one of the first people to do so. 20 year old Jeffree Star is the self-proclaimed Queen Bitch of Myspace. With 16 million profile views and an even higher number of song plays, Star may very well be the most popular face on Myspace next to ubiquitous Tom.
What awaits you after the jump is a massive amount of glitz, glamor, and a dose of celebrity so saturated your eyes may start bleeding in their sockets.
It's fucking cold outside, and Jeffree Star is running late. It's Friday, February 16th and he's headlining Pixelrox at Fly Nightclub, billed as Toronto's first Myspace party and the starting point for his invasion of Canada. I decide to head inside and pass the time listening to the loud techno bouncing off the walls.
I get a call; Star's arrived and waiting for me in the dressing room. Inside I see a really tall guy with neon pink hair, sleeve tattoos, razor sharp eye brows, and he's wearing a dress so short it'd make Sailor Moon blush. Star is dressed to impress.
And impress he has done. Signing onto Myspace in October of 2003 a mere 3 months after the site first launched, Star has amassed a staggering amount of fans. With 434,900+ friends on the site, he's the third most popular person on the site behind two girls he grew up with in Orange County.
"It's really weird. The two girls who are more popular than me have a ton of pics of themselves in bikinis and showing off their tits, and then there's me looking the way I do. I don't know, maybe it's a sign that people's attitudes are changing."
I'm starting to see why. Considering his reputation, comprised mostly of what's available on the net, Star is disarmingly nice and well spoken. He sits cross legged next to me on the dressing room couch, candidly answering anything I ask.
When Myspace first launched it lacked much of the options now has for page customization. Nowadays you can have as many as 24 of your "top" friends on display, but in October of 2003 you could only have 8 friends. And you couldn't change the top 8 either, it was first come first served. "Because you couldn't change your friends list, there were a ton of pages that had me and my friends. We were always in everyone's top 8. I'd always have some crazy pictures up so people were always like 'Oooo, who's that' and add me to their friends list."
During that early period, Star hadn't planned to make anything of his steadily rising fame. He was keeping busy as a make up artist for music videos, celebrities, and porn. He's since quit the make up gig, only caking on the powder for close friends or wads of cash.
When asked about what the title of his current job is he pauses for a moment, and says, "A Pink Entrepreneur."
Exploding in the past year and a half, Jeffree attributes his success to making sure he is as visible as possible, not that he's easy to miss as it is. "In California, there's me. There's all the 50 year old drag queens, but I'm the only one like me". Constantly out and being seen, people kept noticing him. "A big key to my successes has been constant updating to my site, uploading crazy pictures and posting opinions that other people have been able to relate to."
Star doesn't take his wildly devoted fan base for granted either. He calls his 9-5 job "Being Dr. Phil". Answering every email and question he's able to, Star finds himself speaking with a lot of kids with low self esteem and others who just want to kill themselves. Not entirely out of his element, Star originally wanted to go into psychology when he finished high school.
"I'm emailing kids all day long, trying to boost their self-esteem 'cause I don't want anyone feeling ugly. It's heart breaking to hear 'I'm the only gay kid at school and everyone hates me,' and all you can say is that you gotta stay strong and don't let anyone bring you down."
Hate isn't something even Star is immune to. Like Howard Stern, you either love him or you hate him, with little gray area in between. He actually relishes the hate in a twisted sort of way. "It kind of makes my day knowing that people waste so much time talking about someone they hate who they've only seen on the internet. Anyone who starts having success will have people who try to bring them down. You work at Wal-Mart, that's fine, it doesn't bother me either way."
Pages trashing Jeffree Star have been posted all over the net. A particularly dedicated example is an entry published on Encyclopedia Dramatica. The page is littered with falsities ranging from him being Jewish to also being a member of Good Charlotte.
"If you hate me so much, why spend the time making hate sites? They'll copy my makeup and make videos, and then talk about how ugly I am. That's dedication! I don't really care too much, though. All the pictures [used in the Encyclopedia Dramatica entry] are ones where I look super hot. Even the high school year book ones."
His eyebrows were even sharper in high school, if that's possible.
It'd be easy to say people are merely jealous of the success he's been having. Star even has his own makeup line that's "Secretly in the works, but you can publish that". The whole deal road on a millionaire investor asking a random person who Jeffree was, and they knew him, he'd fund the makeup line. "He asked his gay butler if he knew 'Jeffree Star', and the guy totally freaked out." The would be investor asked Jeffree how much he'd need.
"5 million will do."
Aside from the makeup line Star hopes to make some dough with his upcoming EP. With 18 million+ track plays on Myspace, a little success is likely in the cards. Generally the tracks he's posted on his Myspace haven't been his pride and joy. "I just post them on my page to see what happens. I don't really take any of them seriously. Now it's gotten way bigger than I ever thought it would so I'm putting some effort into structure and melody, not some rappy shit."
The rappy shit being old songs like "We Want Cunt" and "Emo Kids", whom Star worked on with Peaches' drummer Samantha Maloney. Using quick and dirty beats, Star would add his vocal tracks in Maloney's house, not anticipating that people would actually love the lo-fi and quickly structured grit that he churned out.
"I feel kind of stupid for not having music for sale. All this time I could have been making money instead of giving it away for free. Still, having music on Myspace has likely only helped me get this far, so who's to say what would have happened otherwise."
Keeping the content fresh (and free) has been a big key to his successes. Increasing his visibility any way he can, Star's been appearing in other band's music videos as of late as well. The most recent one is Good Charlotte's "The River". Asked why he did it, Star replies, "For the money. I think their music sucks. The video was cool but the song was horrible." Rubbing salt in the wound, Much Music even chose "The River" for Star to make fun of in an upcoming segment of Video On Trial.
At this point, Pixelrox's publicist, the stylin' Dan Lavoie, is telling me I have another 5 minutes before MTV Canada gets a turn.
So I turn to Star, the self-described "boyfriend thief", and ask for his advice on behalf of all the straight men in Toronto. What are the things guys need to do... "Give me your phone number," Star interrupts. "Not yours specifically, all straight guys."
Stammering slightly, I persist and ask Star what it is that straight guys need to keep in check.
"Number one, eyebrows. Straight men always have the fucking unibrow, it makes them look like they have downs syndrome; you gotta fix that." Jeffree was prompt to say that mine passed the test, "Everyone in this room has gorgeous eyebrows.
"Number two, guys gotta take care of their skin. It's not really a problem in Toronto that I've seen... maybe it's the weather." All you eco-crazy hooligans should be thankful for all the carbon monoxide; we look fabulous as a result.
"Number three, I wouldn't recommend guys wear any makeup. I know it's weird; I wear tons of makeup but I hate it on other men. My friends wear lots of eyeliner 'cause they're in bands or whatever, but it just doesn't look good. Maybe a little powder, but even then only if you feel insecure about blemishes, which is fine if you want. It doesn't really matter to me.
"Number four, guys need help with their hair. I always cut everyone's hair, even though I don't have a license, but I've gotten pretty good. Guys really should pay the money and get down to a salon." It seems my hair, which has been called steel wool meets shag carpeting meets a woolly sheep, is totally fine according to Star. Dan Lavoie had yet to reveal his hair to Star since Wednesday when the pink entrepreneur landed in Toronto. Five of us had him cornered, but he stood his ground.
Star and his BFF of the night Raquel Reed head downstairs. What follows is a river of drool emitting from the filled to capacity crowd in Star's general direction. I don't think I've ever seen so many guys and girls simultaneously clamoring for someone with such intensity and devotion. It seemed as if everyone wanted to fuck Jeffree Star. It also seemed like Star was open to suggestions. The set is short, but the crowd is entirely satisfied with the show, which Star performed with a makeup mirror in hand for most of the set.
I was one of the maybe 40 people who had yet to hear of Star. Given a little more time on Myspace and I'd likely have stumbled upon him sooner than later. Famous for being famous, Star is adding some meat to the bones with his debut EP, a new reality show documenting his rise to fame (the deal is getting inked and finalized today), and future tours and takeovers to go with his recent opening gig with Peaches. If you like your electro dirty, and your performers even dirtier, I'd suggest you keep an ear out for the "real" music being released soon on Star's debut EP titled "Plastic Surgery Slumber Party."
Everyone's invited to spend the night.