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Exclusive: Bretman Rock Is The Newest Bench Endorser

In this one-on-one chit-chat, content creator, author, and now Bench endorser Bretman Rock talks about his time in the Philippines, the women he looks up to, and his collaboration with Bench

Known for his kaleidoscopic personality and “unapologetic” philosophy, Bretman Rock is a cutting-edge comedian whose internet success has inspired a multitude of men—both boys and girls—to a great extent. His ever-bombastic self—which we get to savor in the cyber universe as as composites of his combined online following of over 45 million—has brought a lot to the table: Asian representation, acceptance of one’s own skin, loud self-love, and a life of a champion’s mindset.




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With recognitions ranging from Beauty Influencer of the Year at the 2019 People’s Choice Awards and Breakthrough Social Star at the 2021 MTV Movie & TV Awards to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” and Variety’s “Power of Young Hollywood,” Bretman continues to reign cardinal across different areas: the world wide web, the fashion field, and even television entertainment. His reality shows, MTV’s Following: Bretman Rock and 30 Days With: Bretman Rock, are proof that his status as a rhythmic global image has increasingly grown.




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Bringing his book into being

The social media superstar, resident coconut reviewer, and “motherf*cking scientist on the side” is also now an author of a memoir. Titled “You’re That Bitch: & Other Cute Lessons About Being Unapologetically Yourself,” Bretman’s first ever book has finally hit the shelves. Here, he frames his breakout stardom, immigrant success, and life as an LGBTQ+ member, and man of color in a collection of essays.


“What sparked the idea was the last time I was actually in the Philippines when my dad had passed,” he shared with Metro.Style, when asked what stirred him up to embark on this new venture. “For the longest time, I truly was like, ‘Girl, I have nothing. I have no story to tell! I’m only 18.’”



Now 24 and living an “unapologetic” life, Bretman sure has a lot of stories to tell—from his YouTube track to his being a big entity in the social media stratosphere and eventually, a writer and a full-fledged worldwide figure. As to how he came up with the concept, however, Bretman told us that when a timely figment of his imagination snapped and ignited his passion for penning a story, Bretman’s sudden catharsis came about. According to him, “I can really talk about traumatizing things in a funny way—very Filipino. I feel like we can go through bagyo and still find laughter. We always find [a] silver lining in things.”



Bretman’s cousin Keiffer a.k.a. Miss Kay, also inspired him to author a creative masterpiece that will immortalize his moving life story. “Miss Kay was always laughing at my jokes and I also kept a journal ever since I was a senior in high school, so it was easy for me to look back at those and actually get content for the book,” he said. Leaving footprints that are hard to follow, Bretman Rock journeyed through the toughest times and the joyous ones to be able to operate as a writer. The writing process per se, Bretman claims, is something that exceeded his expectations. “It took four years! I think the most rewarding thing—the most profound thing that I got from writing a book—is the whole process of it. I didn’t think it took that long, girl!”



Bretman rocks Bench

Truth be told—Bretman Rock, as a breakout genderless beauty, has been earning himself endorsements left and right. His latest collaboration with Filipino clothing giant Bench, for one, gave him a sense of true stardom. According to the brand ambassador, “I feel like my life is a movie, honestly, because when I was moving to Hawaii, I remember just going through Manila and seeing all these Bench billboards and I would always be like, ‘Alam mo na kung artista ka kung Bench ambassador ka [na].’ ‘Di ba?!” he started. “‘Yung mga artista noon, they’re all Bench ambassadors so I feel like in a way, being a Bench ambassador now, I’m an artista na! You cannot f*cking tell me anything!”


“Truly, this whole campaign has truly just been a love letter to my childhood self. I’m doing it because when my mom would come home, I would always tell her to get me the Bench perfume and she would always get me the Bench underwear. I have so much Bench at home!”


From Content Creator to Brand Endorser: Bretman Rock Is Building an Empire
Bretman Rock for Bench


Loved by many for his gender-bending fashion and bold gusto in life, Bretman pointed out that no matter the biological nature, self-expression is what everyone should shoot for. “Truly, I said ‘yes’ to Bench because they said ‘yes’ to me. They said ‘yes’ not to just Bretman Rock but the whole random Bretman Rock. They allowed me to be genderless,” Bretman continued. “They said ‘yes’ to everything. I could’ve said, ‘I want to be naked,’ and they [could] be like, ‘Yes!’” You know? They just allowed me to be Bretman and I think, more than anything, that means more to me than signing with Bench and feeling like an artista.”


Bretman also added: “I love how it’s always been, if it’s not Filipino people, it’s other Asian people that they’re bringing in. I want to see Bench in the US, [though]; I need Bench in the US!”


Throughout its retail track, the country's top clothing brand has brought to the fashion map the finest lineup of ambassadors from the local and international entertainment industry. No matter the nationality, shape, size, or color, Filipino celebrities, A-list actors, and Asian supermodels have landed premier billboard placements and major magazine ads. With Bretman Rock’s addition to the Pinoy #GlobalBenchsetters roster, Bench is sure to rake in further following from style aficionados and sophisticates alike. After all, Bretman is also proud to be the brand’s newest Philippine ambassador.



As an oversized jacket and sando baby, Bretman’s personal pick, however, is comfortable clothes and bare confidence. He heeds his favorite fashion advice—the best that anyone has ever told him: “Clothes are clothes.” He explained, “I think as a non-binary person, one day, I would love to walk in a store where the women’s clothes and the men’s clothes are not separate and at the end of the day, it’s just f*ckin’ clothes,” he concluded, highlighting that clothes are headed in genderless fashion nowadays, and how he is feeling great about this quantum leap. “As long as you’re comfortable and as long as you’re feeling yourself in it and as long as it’s sustainable—no fast fashion, girl—wear it! Wear that sh*t loud and proud, girl!”


“This whole thing has truly just been healing my inner child and my delusions na artista ako nu’ng 8 years old pa. It’s such a journey, girl! It’s like a whole circle, I think. Bench is not just for Filipinos—it’s for all Asians and pretty soon, it’ll be for everybody!”



Scroll down and read through our sit-down Q&A with the social media superstar:


Metro.Style: How long did you work on your book?

Bretman: How long did it take? Well, 2019 was when I first started writing and I also co-wrote it with Dibs Baer, who is like my writer. We went on FaceTime and Zoom and in person every week just talkin’ about my life. I had to do [a] book proposal then I had to go send it to publishing companies then those publishing companies had to do a bid war on who’s going to publish my book. Nine publishers bid on my book, girl! They went on bid wars, offering me.



And then, I only went with HarperCollins because they were the only ones that had an Asian representative that came on Zoom. So, I’d interviewed all of the publishers and only one of them had the Asian representative—her name was Jenny Xu—and they were the only ones that knew what National Bookstore was, and they were the only ones that promised me that my book was going to be available in the Philippines. So, if I did not go with HarperCollins, I would not have been home by now. You guys would not have even read my book, so representation f*cking matters!


Growing up, were you into books? Did you ever imagine yourself as a published author?

Growing up, to be honest with you—I might sound like I’m lying ’cause I’m very illiterate as [a] b*tch—I was obsessed with books and the reason why is because as an immigrant kid, I was always nervous to read in front of the class because, you know, my accent [is bad]. I was also slower at reading in English and so I made it my one f*cking mission to be able to read very well and to kind of carry myself very well when it comes to reading. And in America, we also have these things called reading logs where every month or every quarter, you would read with the teacher and then, she would assign you with your reading score. It kind of depends on how hard the book you read and the better you read, the harder the books you can read.


And so, I feel like I made it my one mission to be able to f*ckin’ read and so I read all the books there is, girl! I read all the Junie B. Jones. I read all the Hunger Games trilogy. I read all the Divergent. I read Percy Jackson. I read all of it besides Harry Potter. That’s the only one I didn’t get to [read]. It’s crazy because I’d never got into Harry Potter but I got into everything else. To answer your question, I was always obsessed with books, especially even the National Bookstore [ones]. I remember before I left for Hawaii, I was obsessed with Super Inggo and it used to have these coloring magazine books at National Bookstore and I was always in Tuguegarao because I was anemic and I would always had to get [my] blood drawn and every time I was there, I would always go to the National Bookstore and get my Super Inggo books and books that I was obsessed with and my mom was like, ‘Bitch, WTF?!’ So yes, to answer your question, I was always obsessed with books.


As I’ve gotten older—because obviously I got obsessed with online and everything became digital—I kind of lost my love for books but I think it wasn’t until my manager, who was such a reader, started buying me books. Thanks to my manager, I got back into books and now, I have a book! And to be honest, no—I never ever saw myself as a publishing author. Who would think that?! No, no! To answer your question, I’ve never thought [that I would become a writer], but here we are!


You held a mall tour recently. What was that experience like, being surrounded by Filipino fans, who come from different age groups and walks of life and who were all so excited to see you? 

Actually, I don’t think my brain even realized that yet. I think I’m so there. I’m still in MOA (Mall of Asia). My brain—I left it in MOA. To be honest with you, when I think MOA tours, I always think ’yung mga artista releasing their movies, you know—like when they do the love teams. That’s what I always think about when I think about mall shows and you know, as Filipinos, we got to go to the f*cking mall for the free AC (air conditioner). So, I didn’t think that many people were going to show up because who f*cking go to the mall for a book signing? And to see that many people celebrate me—so many Filipinos in many different “fonts”—[is overwhelming]. And by fonts, I mean age, gender. Just to celebrate Bretman Rock… I could cry again. It was so unbelievable to see that many Filipinos have my back because so much of myself hated myself as a young Filipino boy. 



Which Filipino artist do you wish to work or collaborate with?

Bretman: Oh my gosh! Vice [Ganda], obviously is [my] goal, but if I’m being honest with you, I’d love to do something with Anne Curtis-Smith one day. I really feel like we’re cut from the same cloth, b*tch! We have the same lips. I’m telling you, we have the same smile! Madaldal din siya!


What top three spots or tourist destinations in the Philippines would you like to visit and why? What's your ultimate summer destination?

I would love to go [to] Siargao because Miss Nadine [Lustre] is there and I know they have a cute little surfing scene. I’m not the biggest surfer but I love surfing men. When I was on my plane ride here, I was watching Ang Manananggal Na Nahahati Ang Puso. It was set in Siquijor, which is like the manananggal state and I’m very into mga aswang and I would love to just be there to see that. What else? Believe it or not, I’ve never been to Boracay. Actually, I changed my mind—not Boracay, [but] Palawan! Siargao, Siquijor, and Palawan.




Before you moved to the States, can you briefly share what your life in the Philippines was like, and how is it different from your way of living now? What changed and what remained the same?

I grew up in Cagayan Valley and I was surrounded by so many rice fields and my family—we do food; we’re in the food industry. I lived in a compound of five houses but in the center is where we would cook and cater and get people food. My life here was so simple—parang jungle kid lang. I would go to the jungle and find things, get plants. I was a plantita before plantitas were a thing during the COVID!



That was my life, and when I moved to America, it wasn’t that much of a big difference because in Hawaii—if you’ve ever been to Hawaii—there are so many Ilocanos and Filipinos in there. And so when I got there, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! Y’all are Filipinos here!’ It felt like I was just on another island in the Philippines, to be honest with you, and they just spoke English. Even in Hawaii, there’s truly not that much change. If anything, the house just got tighter because instead of five different houses and five different families in one house, I had 23 people living with me. It truly was just that. Nothing changed. I think the only thing that changed is I started speaking English.



In your journey to being that “b*tch,” name three women you met, which you never imagined you'd ever get to meet, and what do you find inspiring about them? 

Can I say my mom for one of them? My mom is definitely a woman that truly just is a woman—a woman through and through; a woman in power. I love a woman in power! She just took life in her own hands and she never depended on my dad. She just was that—[a] working girl. The second woman that I’ve met that I truly look up to is Jhené Aiko. I love Jhené Aiko so much. She’s like this tiny human being and she’s a singer back home and she’s also such a witch and she’s a Pisces and she loves spirituality. I love that she incorporates that in her music. The third, which I haven’t met—can I break your rules? I love her so much—Michelle Obama. In my head, I met her so it still answers your question. In my head, we met! 



When I first moved to America, when the Obamas stepped into the White House, I don’t know why but Michelle Obama… I saw her as a god! Honestly, anything she said, I did! She did the presidential workout every weekend and my school had it and I would literally run to recess every time. There was also a teacher there that taught the class and she reminded me of Sporty Spice from Spice Girls. I’m obsessed with women, by the way. This is the perfect question for me because, girl, women have always changed my life! Literally, I’m hot because Michelle Obama told me to workout and I started growing my own vegetables because Michelle Obama told me to grow my own vegetables!


Lead photos courtesy of Bench

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