This may not be what Ray Bradbury had in mind when he wrote The Illustrated Man. Dressed in shorts, gold ballet flats and a Hello Kitty T-shirt, Jeffree Star — the self-proclaimed Queen of the Internet — is literally a walking tattoo gallery at the tender age of 22, from the "Beauty Killer" script on his neck to the ice cream cone adorning his left calf. And he'll happily give you a guided tour of his ink maze.
"I have a fascination with beauty queens — I can really relate to them," he explains, pointing to portraits of Liz Taylor, Sharon Tate, Marilyn Monroe, JonBenét Ramsey and his own mother, a former model. "And I also have Wednesday Addams, the Black Dahlia, Princess Diana, my grandparents and Barbie in a Corvette."
This could explain why Star has amassed nearly 1 million friends on his photo-strewn MySpace page. Beneath his mane of flaming-pink hair, he sports the outrageous makeup and androgynous clothes and high heels of vintage Bowie. And on his upcoming debut disc, titled (what else?) Beauty Killer, he growl-croons over electro-pounding backbeats like a young Pete Burns. The site also hawks his campy ice-cream-themed clothing line, as well as such earlier EPs as Cupcakes Taste Like Violence. Naturally, TV is already interested in this visual vamp — Star is in talks with the E! network about launching his own reality show.
As Star tells it, he was getting the lion's (lioness'?) share of attention long before he was pushed to the mic by Peaches' drummer, Samantha Maloney, three years ago. It all began in childhood.
"My mom would leave looking really plain, and then come home from modeling gigs all done up and airbrushed, and I was really fascinated," recalls Star, who started wearing his mother's makeup to school, then Hollywood nightclubs, and before long was styling the looks of starlets like Kelly Osbourne and Nicole Richie.
"Then I did stuff for Mac makeup, and I worked for Hustler and Barely Legal films. It was easy — $900 a day to apply mascara, lip gloss and shimmer on real porn stars. But it was also very desensitizing — I just wanted to go home and put on some clean clothes after doing that for a few hours."
And then came music. In retrospect, Star sees it as inevitable: "It's kind of like an accessory to my personality. I'm like the Paris Hilton of the indie world. I just had a lot of friends who were in bands, and they inspired me to take a chance, going, 'You're behind the scenes doing makeup, but you should be in the forefront!'"
Around his native Hollywood, Star has essentially become the new Angelyne. He tools through town in a couple of flash rides: a hot-pink Chrysler 300 and a lime-green Lotus. But sipping a Cold Stone Creamery milkshake in his hotel room, watching his favorite reality show Lockdown on TV, he seems as tame as a pussycat. He considers this for a second, then shakes his head no.
"I'm more like a Jaguar," he hisses. "I've been in jail, I've stabbed people, I ran people over with my car. I'm not really a criminal, though, I'm a good person."
Just like another Jeffrey — Kyle MacLachlan's character in David Lynch's twisted Blue Velvet?
"I think everyone thinks Blue Velvet when they step into my world!"