“I’m built like a wrestler with the face of Darna,” Bretman Rock declares. Named after pro wrestlers Bret “The Hitman Hart” and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson by his dad and his twin brother, the social media sensation packs a punch in his new Bench campaign.
The Cagayan-born Ilocano based in Hawaii always knew he was too big for the small smartphone screen. With nearly 50 million combined YouTube subscribers, TikTok, and Instagram followers, Bretman not only entertains but also inspires generations beyond the Filipino and Asian community, representing the LGBTQ+ in the fashion, beauty and fitness space, and championing morena and gender-fluid beauty and fashion, breaking the internet with Y2K-esque pairings of women’s line tops and men’s line bottoms. He’s come a long way from going viral when he hit his sister on the head when he was 15.
As Bench’s newest ambassador, Bretman breaks boundaries beyond the internet, blown up in billboards and ads everywhere, wearing pieces from the collab collection of gender-neutral tees, denim, and accessories.
He’s a bestselling author (You're That Bitch: & Other Cute Lessons about Being Unapologetically Yourself), plantita before the term was coined, mom to 44 chickens, five dogs, four turtles, three cats, and two peacocks—and future artista?
Here are some tidbits behind the scenes from his shoot with Bench.
On becoming a global Bench setter
“It's truly more than being a brand ambassador for me. This is my love letter to my young self. Since I was eight, I really wanted to be an artista, and you know you made it when you're a Bench ambassador.”
His first memory with Bench
“I’m a Bench girl. I always knew I would be a Bench girl. My first memory of Bench was in grade school, my mom gave me a box of eight little scents by Bench.”
I feel like in the Filipino culture, white is considered beautiful, mestiza is beautiful. Now we're finally waking up and embracing our skin color that we were blessed with, saying no to glutathione and saying yes to suncare.
On going back to beauty
“I think in a way, yes, even though I said that I won't be. I'm always going to be a beautiful boy and I'm always going to be wearing makeup. That's where my first love is.”
His beauty tip for women
On where his confidence comes from
“I've never not felt confident. I was raised by super-confident parents, like my mom is a Scorpio woman and my dad is a Leo man. My mom was super badass, very headstrong, very mataray. And then my dad was also arjud which is like maarte. Long hair, 16-step skincare routine. And so I grew up watching that and being surrounded by that. And so, in a way, I think my confidence truly comes from my parents. Obviously, I have moments but overall, in my life, I feel like I've always been confident.”
On his lush hair
“When my mom had me, she loved eating balut. That’s why I came out hairy. If i didn’t have my face lasered, I’d look like a man.”
On family dynamics
“I was raised by confident people. My dad was a confident man, my mom a confident mom who did not care what people said. Growing up in a dysfunctional family made me stronger. If you think I’m funny, my mom’s even funnier.”
On his first job
“My dad had a transport business and I was a cute little conductora. My reward after was Jollibee.”
On our relationship with the sun
“I wrote in my book about how it's always good to embrace your culture but it's also nice to question it sometimes. I feel like in the Filipino culture, white is considered beautiful, mestiza is beautiful. Now we're finally waking up and embracing our skin color that we were blessed with, saying no to glutathione and saying yes to suncare. It's time to embrace the sun, we need vitamin D. Filipinos are changing their relationship with the sun because, like now, especially when I was a kid, my mom would be like, ‘Don't go out in the sun, you're gonna get dark.’ Now kids are encouraged to play in the sun. I truly love where beauty is headed, especially here in the Philippines.”
On embracing what makes us unique
“I hate that it took me forever to love my skin. I used to want to be white, I used to want to be pimple-free. I used to not even like my nose. And I think I’m here because of the journey that I've had with my skin and self-love and self-care and knowing that this is the skin that I'm going to have for the rest of my life, I might as well love it and take care of it, you know? It became my power. When I go out to fashion weeks now, when I go to beauty campaigns, I look different from everybody. I used to hate looking different. Now, it's my power that I'm different.”
On his next goal
“I think Bretman Rock is ready for a bigger screen. My fat ass is too fat to be on phones. If Star Cinema is reading this, hello, I'm available. I would like to work on a movie to see if I'm good at acting. If I'm not good at acting, then you know, I'll hang it up. I will stick to YouTube. I'll stick to Instagram.”
“My favorites were Lastikman, Zsazsa Zaturnnah, and Captain Barbell—I watched it all growing up. I think it's time for a bakla superhero.”
“My dream—which is gonna happen—I’m gonna be a queer superhero. I’m gonna be in the Marvel Universe.”
His dream co-stars
“I want to be an artista with Derek Ramsay and Piolo Pascual in a love triangle—maybe with Bea Alonzo.”
His childhood dreams
“When I was nine, in my head I wanted to be famous. I’d walk to school and pretend that people were screaming, and I was waving. When I was young I wanted to be a firefighter… then a vet, because I love animals.”
On love and dating
“My life is an open book. But I don’t know if I’ve ever been really in love. I’m learning to just love myself. I’m dating me.”
“I think I was just waiting for the first man to love me. I was stuck with him for six months… then I never fell in love again. Now nobody can just love me, I'm a picky man.”
His dream man
“Someone not in the industry, aged between 30+ to close to death. Someone who will love every inch of my morena skin.”