Jeffree Star is the first to admit he's acted "childish and stupid" throughout his career as one of YouTube's most successful—and notorious—creators.
The 35-year-old beauty vlogger's controversial past is well-documented and, when retracing his time in the internet's spotlight, unavoidable. Jeffree's found himself at the center of feuds involving other YouTubers, some of whom no longer post on the platform, including James Charles, Tati Westbrook and Shane Dawson. Additionally, the cosmetics mogul has had to confront his past use of racial slurs, as well as a history of controversial behavior he's hoping to distance himself from—this time for good.
In an exclusive interview with E! News, Jeffree claims, "That's just really not me anymore."
"I think that's kind of hard for people to understand because I was in a lot of drama and a lot of it wasn't my doing," Jeffree reflects. "A lot of it was me entertaining things that I shouldn't have, and acting childish and stupid and letting emotions get the best of me."
After some "self-reflection," Jeffree says his online persona used to play into the "Regina George character," referencing Rachel McAdams' Mean Girls character.
Now, he shares he's "really focused on positivity," adding, "I know that may sound like a crock of s--t from one of the most dramatic people in the makeup industry, but I'm generally in a really good place mentally, and I definitely wasn't before."
When asked to weigh in on his reputation as a "controversial" figure within YouTube's beauty community, Jeffree responds, "I definitely think it's fair because I used to entertain and respond to so much, even though I probably shouldn't have."
As for why he's lashed out publicly, often going as far as broadcasting personal grievances to his 16.4 million subscribers, Jeffree chalks it up to being thrust into the limelight with little warning. He describes struggling with not knowing "how to react" to controversy, saying he felt "like I always owed everyone an explanation" when faced with criticism or drama. He would then post videos sharing his side of the story, but admits, "It really got me in trouble a lot of the times."
The pandemic offered some respite from the drama, especially after he relocated to a home in Wyoming, but Jeffree said the change really came from him learning how to "control my emotions."
And it certainly helped that he distanced himself from his detractors.
"I honestly keep to myself and I don't really engage in the beauty world anymore," the vlogger reveals. "I have zero contact with all of those people."
Jeffree doesn't want to be defined by his mistakes though, telling E! News that he wants "people to see my growth."
As detailed in Shane's series "The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star," the mogul endured a difficult upbringing before achieving YouTube fame, something he's keenly aware of. Jeffree says, "I think sometimes the drama has really overshadowed the entrepreneurship that I'm about, and coming from nothing and being homeless and making it this far. I'm really proud of myself and I'm just thankful that I could still inspire so many people with my life."
Jeffree's also feeling grateful after surviving a "really, really scary" car accident in Wyoming this spring. He broke vertebrae in his spine and is currently in a brace, adding to an experience that he describes as "emotionally and mentally, a lot."
"I think, me being a very sarcastic person I usually could make a lot of jokes about it but it was actually really awful," Jeffree says, adding these last few months were "really intense."
While Jeffree is reflecting on his past, he's also looking towards the future, not just for himself, but the LGBTQ+ community at large. He's partnered with TheOD Foundation for PRIDE month to support currently and formerly incarcerated LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as those serving alternate forms of criminal supervision.
Jeffree teamed up with the foundation because he says it's "time to use my voice in a bigger way to really help people that aren't getting enough reach."
Jeffree Star Cosmetics is uplifting TheOD Foundation during June's Pride Month by donating a portion of all sales from the upcoming Rainbow Collection to TheOD Foundation, along with a $25,000 pledge.