Influencer Bretman Rock continues to defy gender norms as a non-binary baddie

Bretman Rock looks over their shoulder. They have plump, red links, thick brows, a clip earring over their left ear, and their hair falls in strands over their shoulders. They are wearing a black and white blazer.
Credit: Getty Images

This profile is part of Queerty’s 2023 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year.

Name: Bretman Rock Sacayanan Laforga, 25

Bio: This fiery and outspoken Filipino-American content creator, beauty guru, and social media personality was born in an Ilocano family in the Philippines before moving to Hawaii at seven years old. With a name inspired by his father’s favorite pro wrestlers –– Bret Hart and The Rock –– it’s no surprise Bretman grew up playing nearly every sport. (“[You name it] b*tch, I did it,” he said.)

One of three children, his mom worked hard to support the family and Bretman found escapism amongst Y2K reality TV shows like The Simple Life and burgeoning platforms like Vine and YouTube.

Everything took off once he began creating his own videos and memes, later shifting to vlogs and beauty content. When his 2015 video “How to Contour” went viral, Rock went from average high schooler on the internet, to social media celebrity.

After getting signed by a management company, the world was his oyster. With an adorable family, an infectious (and at times, unhinged) personality, and incredible makeup skills, Bretman was soon recognized by Time and Forbes, and made his New York Fashion Week debut in 2019.

His authentic (and occasionally explicit) online presence scored him a role in the YouTube Premium web series Escape the Night, his own MTV reality show MTV Following: Bretman Rock, and more recently, an online jungle survival series 30 Days with: Bretman Rock. (How does he look so fierce on a ten-mile trek?!)

Bretman remains close to his island roots, having released Hawaiian-inspired makeup palettes with Morphe and wet n wild, and even his own sunglass line.

After becoming the first-ever gay person to cover Playboy in 2021, Bretman reflected on his expansive career in his debut memoir You’re That B*tch & Other Cute Lessons About Being Unapologetically Yourself in 2023.

As of this writing, Bretman boasts a following of 18 million and 15.8 million on Instagram and TikTok, respectively, as well as 8.85 million YouTube subscribers.

Coming Out: As far as sexual orientation goes, Rock has been openly gay since his humble beginnings on the internet.

He grew up with an encouraging (and knowing) family, telling Teen Vogue in 2021 that he never needed to come out to his parents. “They always knew I was gay,” he said. “My family has always supported me.”

Still, Bretman had a coming out moment in February 2023 when he revealed to the Zach Sang Show that he identifies as non-binary and uses all pronouns.

@zachsangshow @bretmanrock is nonbinary but not for clout #bretmanrock #nonbinary #pronouns #clout #zachsangshow #zachsang #fyp #foryou @onamp ♬ original sound – Zach Sang Show

“I don’t go strictly by they/them,” Rock explained. “I go by all of [the pronouns], because I also am non-binary … this is the one [thing] that I’m not for clout about.”

Rock’s relationship with gender identity goes deeper than a penchant for bucking fashion norms or makeup, too. In his native language Ilocano, he explained to Sang that “we don’t really have a ‘he’ or ‘she.’”

“When I was a kid, my grandma would always introduce me to all her friends … like, ‘This is my handsome and beautiful grandson,’” Rock said. “So she would always, like, associate me with both feminine and masculine words. So I feel like I’ve always been non-binary, to be honest.”

Even before opening up about their own gender identity, Bretman has always been supportive of the spectrums of expression within the LGBTQ+ family.

On his show MTV Following: Bretman Rock, he threw a surprise drag/gender reveal party for his cousin Keiffer (known to followers as Miss Kay), who was beginning to understand her gender identity through drag.

“She definitely makes me feel beautiful, so I think it’s my turn to make her feel more beautiful,” Rock explained in the episode.

Furthermore, Rock’s passion for fashion and style journey helped them own their non-binary identity.

“Every aspect of vanity helped me find my gender expression,” Rock told E! News. “I owe so much of my identity to makeup, fashion, and hair.”

The recent debut of those luscious locks also helped. “Ever since I started growing out my hair, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m more Bretman Rock than I ever felt my entire life,’” he explained.

And despite what their millions of followers might assume, that authenticity and confidence was hard-won.

“Being that b*tch is definitely a state of mind,” Bretman said. “And it’s not really who I am 24/7. But be patient with your life and with yourself. Sometimes it takes a while to get into that state of mind and you also have to enjoy the process.”

This post was originally published on this site