Bretman Rock: 15 seconds to fame
In an age where being politically correct can pay off, a Hawaii teen who seems to be breaking all the rules keeps getting rewarded.
EWA BEACH, Hawaii - In an age where being politically correct can pay off, a Hawaii teen who seems to be breaking all the rules keeps getting rewarded.
If you've ever seen his videos, you know Bretman Rock is all about pushing boundaries. Meet him away from Instagram and you might be surprised at how humble he really is.
"It all happened so fast. Just two months ago I was at 200k and now I'm at 2.7 million," said Bretman.
At just 17-years-old, the junior from Campbell High School has become one of the most followed Instagram users from Hawaii. And in case you were wondering, Bretman IS his real name.
"My dad was obsessed with wrestlers, and he liked Bret Hart and the Rock, so that's how he got Bretman Rock," said Bretman.
Bretman swears he's a different person in real life.
"I honestly don't like social media if I'm being honest with you," he said. "As a 17-year-old, I should be worrying about my essays and school work, but instead I'm worrying about oh gosh I got to post this picture because they're going to pay me."
When he's on campus he's known to some as just Bret. The social media phenom carries a 3.5 G.P.A. He's even on Student Council. But hit record on a camera or phone and all of that changes. His videos are full of swearing.
According to Bretman, his success on social media started two years ago when he posted a bunch of his Snapchat videos to Instagram.
His following grew even more after a video he posted to Instagram showed him slapping his sister on the back of the head.
Then about two months ago, one of his YouTube videos titled "How to contour" went viral and his following shot into the millions.
Social media expert Amanda Tompkins says Bretman hit the online jackpot.
"You can look at him like the Royals, he won the World Series of social media," said Tompkins."He's just his authentic self on social. He's just living it up and he's out there, and I just think people really appreciate that you see that and you realize he's not trying to be someone else he's like out there."
As for Bretman's use of language on social media, Tompkins says there's nothing wrong with it.
"I think it's a very welcoming generation and I think it's a non-judgmental generation and I think that using the profanity and stuff just kind of comes along with that welcoming generation," said Tompkins.
A number of businesses agree. Bretman's nearly three million followers translates into money. He says he's made up to $5,000 for posting a single picture.
"I would never post something just because I'm cute in it," he said. "I mean, I am, but like I don't filter myself as much as other people."
He's also turned down hundreds of offers. From money, to places to live, even a car.
"I don't even know what they were asking for. They were just like, we'll give you a car because you're famous. Just drive it around," said Bretman.
So what did he say?
"I didn't reply," he said. Bretman wants to keep his focus on heading to college.
"I'm just letting it go day by day. I'm not planning my future with social media because I know one day I'm going to flop and no one is going to find me funny, so it's not really something I'm going to do forever," he said.
While it might be hard to believe, Bretman says he would trade in his new found fame just to be a teen.
"I want to live like a normal life. I don't want to not be normal. I mean, I'm a boy that wears makeup, but I want to be as normal as I can," he said.
Normal is what he wants, and normal is what he is -- until he spots a camera.
"To be honest, I don't know... something about the camera like turns me into such a diva. Like when it's on and I see my face in the camera, I'm just like, oh girl you look so good!" he said while pointing into the lens.
Bretman's Instagram following is currently at 2.7 million users. He's been getting about 100k new followers per week.
Bretman says Instagram took his account down when he was at 700k followers because he was told the amount people adding him in a matter of days "broke the system." His followers made up the #bringbretmanback hashtag on Twitter and after it trended, his account was back online.