By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
By Dennis Romero
It’s 9 a.m. and I’ve rung the buzzer twice at Jeffree Star’s apartment in Valley Village. Did he forget I was coming, or is he fucking with me? I’m about to try his cell phone when the doorknob turns and the fuchsia-haired, rail-thin 21-year-old appears, rubbing the traces of last night’s mascara out of his eyes.
“Oh, I look like a troll doll,” he says, pulling at his hot-pink locks so they stand straight up on his head.
I try to be polite, but there is a slight tonsorial resemblance between Star’s morning hair and the electric-socket look of the ’60s doll, so I just smile awkwardly. On his couch is a nearly naked 20-something boy.
“Oh, don’t worry, there are always boys around,” he smiles. “You should see the guy in my bed.”
(Photo by Kevin Scanlon)We sit at his dining-room table, and Star tells me how he went from misfit Orange County teen to reigning Queen of the Internet.
“I knew I was gay, since like fifth grade,” he begins. Star’s father died when he was young, leaving his mom, a model, to raise him alone. When she’d go to work, he would dig through her makeup and experiment.
“I finally convinced my mom to let me wear makeup to school in junior high,” he says. Star’s face has a white cast of last night’s remnant makeup, and barely visible are his signature pink eyebrows arched above the place where his real eyebrows have been shaved off. (In case you’re wondering, his bare morning face is just as pretty.) His arms peek out from a Hello Kitty T-shirt; they are thoroughly tatted.
“I got this first one when I was 18,” he explains, pointing to his right arm. A sleeve of lipstick and razor blades, it reads: “Makeup massacre.” “But when you first get tattoos you don’t know about shitty artists and good ones.”
There’s a fresh tattoo on his left arm, an expertly rendered JonBenet Ramsey, complete with tiara. It cost $1,000 and was done by the famous Kat Von D, formerly of the reality TV show Miami Ink (she’s now started her own shop, LA Ink).
“I always knew I was different than everyone else,” he says, “and smarter. But in school the girls all wanted to be my friend, and the boys secretly wanted to mess around with me, so I didn’t get beat up for being weird.”
The first time Star dyed his hair pink, it was all anybody could talk about at school. It won him Best Hair in the yearbook. Back then, when other kids were playing sports, he was reading books he stole from Barnes & Noble and surfing a thing called the Internet.
“I was the first one to have high-speed Internet before all my friends,” he says. “My mom was always technologyhip. So I’d find these Web sites like Face the Jury, where you upload a picture and people rate you from one to 10. And then there are forums. I was always the No. 1 poster on the forums of Live Journal and Melodramatic.com, where people would be intrigued. I’d take crazy pictures. I was really good at having guys on the Internet buy me stuff. I would never send nude pictures or anything like that, but these guys would become obsessed with me.”
One guy sent him a thousand-dollar camera. He used it to take higher-quality images of himself. Star wants to show me a few he and photographer Heidi Calvert took back then, so we go to his pink bedroom where, as promised, there is indeed a tattooed-limbed boy wrapped in Hello Kitty sheets. The picture hanging above the vanity where Star’s makeup brushes live shows him as a blonde in fishnets and hooker heels, with slit wrists, blood smeared up his forearm, and a tissue spotted with blood in his other hand.
”Oh, and it was all real, girl,” he says, showing me the scars on his wrists. “[Heidi] wanted me to hold a gun in my mouth, and I was like, fuck that. I took a razor and slashed my wrists. So I got a weird cult following.”
Enter MySpace. Star got every one of his fans from a bunch of sites to join his MySpace page. “So instead of starting out with just one friend, I started out with 30,000,” he says. Star now has half a million friends and receives, on average, 50,000 comments every time he posts a new picture.
Star moved to L.A. after graduation and got a job working the MAC counter at the Beverly Center. Of course, he met tons of celebs, both through work and at clubs. “They just fell in love with me and wanted me to do their makeup,” he shrugs.
He also did side jobs, doing makeup for porn shoots and driving his prostitute roommate to her johns’ houses. He even had a brief gig as Kelly Osbourne’s personal makeup artist. But he always loved music, and went out as often as he could to see bands. One night, at a Peaches show, he met Peaches’ drummer, who suggested that Star make his own songs.