Two years ago, JeffreeStar shocked the world when he decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, California and move to the (much) lesser-known Casper, Wyoming. Of course, those who live in Casper know how great the city actually is, but for a celebrity trading the bright lights and big city for the (relative) tranquility of Casper; it was all but unknown.
Kanye West did the same, around the same time; moved from LA to a ranch in Cody, Wyoming but eventually returned to Los Angeles. Some people are made for Wyoming; others are not.
Jeffree Star is the former.
He moved to Casper in December 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. In fact, it was the pandemic itself that made Star realize he needed a break from the big city.
“This is the best decision I’ve ever made,” Star said in an exclusive interview with K2 Radio News. “California is getting crazier, busier, hotter. And I think the pandemic has really made me open my eyes to what I want in the future.”
But before we turn to the future, it’s important to understand the past.
Star grew up in Orange County, California. As the son of a model, it didn’t take Star long to realize just how much fun makeup could be.
“My mom had a lot of makeup lying around,” Star told the Orange County Register. “I looked through it and tried on things and I realized that I could completely change my appearance and that it was fun to look different. Then I could just wipe it all off and be me.”
Throughout his career, which has spanned music, modeling and, yes, makeup, Star has made it his mission to always be “me.” At least inside. Outdoors, he’s tried countless different looks and styles over the years, and his fascination with makeup eventually led to a business venture – Jeffree Star Cosmetics.
“I’ve always been obsessed with makeup since I was about 12,” Star said. “But I was scared of starting my own company. I was afraid of starting a brand. When my music career didn’t go the way I wanted it to, I thought, ‘Oh my god, am I going to go work the mat? counter again, or do I finally believe in myself with this new thing?’ So I just decided that I was going to hit the ground running. I wouldn’t stand at the makeup counter in the mall anymore. So, you know. Humble beginnings, but I just knew I was destined for more.
Indeed he was. Star became a YouTube sensation, becoming one of the highest paid YouTube stars in the world and using this to serve as a makeup mogul at Jeffree Star Cosmetics.
Now, of course, in addition to his makeup business, he has also expanded into yak breeding.
“Well, I made music a long, long time ago in the MySpace era,” Star laughed. “And I was touring overseas and one day we’re in Switzerland in Geneva and somewhere along the way we see all these blurry beautiful cows on a mountain. And I said, ‘What are these? These cows are pretty.’ And the bus driver with that crazy German accent said, ‘Those aren’t cows, they’re yaks.’ And the way he said it, with such conviction – it was so funny. When I moved here I thought, “Are yaks legal in America?”, which of course they are. They were imported in 1902 and have obviously been a very small niche compared to beef cattle. There are probably only about 30,000 yaks in America. But our plan is to expand and breed more for meat and pets. Because there just isn’t enough in America.
In addition to a ranch-style house, Star also has a yak farm with more than 100 yaks called Star Yak Ranch.
“We’ve done a lot,” he said. “We’re at 150 yaks and our meat business is exploding in the city. And we just want to stay in Wyoming. We’re getting calls from restaurants in California, Florida, New York, but we’re just staying local for now. “
Locally, yaks are currently the beauties of the ball. Several restaurants in town, such as Tacos Mexico, Firerock, and others, offer yak meat on their menu. Various shops also sell yak meat. The Yak business, much like Star’s makeup business, has thrived, especially in Casper.
But what made Star switch to Casper in the first place?
“It had to be Wyoming,” Star said. “Wyoming has always been the best choice. I really wanted to be in a community where I could just be myself and just have a small town vibe. My best friend left Bozeman, Montana, and also joined me in Casper, and he said the same thing, ‘Casper feels just like Bozeman did 10 years ago.'”
In fact, Casper has grown exponentially in recent years, expanding its downtown area with community centers like David Street Station and even more bars and restaurants.
It’s not a sprawling metropolis, but it’s… cozy.
“We didn’t want to go to Jackson Hole,” Star revealed. “It’s very pretentious, with big houses, but like LA, without acres. I wanted to be on a real ranch. And it’s just the community. I found Casper and loved the atmosphere, loved the food, loved how nice everyone was. Everyone was so helpful. Everyone asked, “How are you?” instead of “Who are you? What can I get out of you?” All were very positive. Are there some people who don’t understand me? Yes, but that’s everywhere. But nobody really bothers me. I do not go anywhere. I’ve had two winters and she’s still here.”
It was Star’s first ever winter, indoctrinating him through a car accident in which he rolled over and ended up in the hospital just a few months after moving to the city.
“It was just a really crazy slippery slope,” he revealed. “People joke about my fast cars and speeding, but I was actually driving very slowly. The black ice just got me that day, I don’t know how . I believe if it had been a flat road it would not have tipped over. So I got a free roller coaster ride. Thank you Natrona County! But I healed really well. It’s a funny joke now. You know, it’s either laughing or crying. But it opened my eyes and I was ready to get back to work the next day.”
The good news is that the wreck of his previous car meant he was in the market for a new one and he decided to buy Wyoming’s first all-electric Hummer.
Before the Hummer, Star owned the Tesla X.
“I thought it was so bad,” he said. “The DeLorean doors, the whole thing. The concept of having no engine was so bizarre to the world, so when I was first in it and it was on autopilot and the car just drives itself… it was a journey. But you adapt. I loved it. It was cool.”
Star said that he eventually got bored and sold it. He wasn’t sure if he’d get an electric vehicle again, and he knew he was living in Wyoming and would need something to withstand the rough terrain. So he decided on the electric Hummer.
“There are a lot of electric vehicles coming out and I haven’t noticed anything,” he shared. “I’ve always loved the H1. Lobsters are very Wyoming. So when I saw that, I was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s huge!’ It’s all electric. I love that GMC bought it; they are trying to revive the brand. And it’s crazy. It has a thousand horsepower. The car weighs almost 10,000 pounds. It’s on autopilot. It has 18 cameras. It is quiet. It’s a convertible.”
It is without exaggeration one of the coolest cars ever invented.
and it’s better for the environment. What more do you want?
Another reason he wanted an electric vehicle, Star said, was so as not to startle his pets … or force them to inhale noxious fumes.
“The yaks love this thing because unlike a Polaris general, it’s silent,” Star said. “So even though it’s bulky, the yaks prefer to be cool. And they don’t gasp for exhaust fumes. No emissions over here! (As I get on my private jet and Rolls Royce).”
Private jet and Rolls Royce aside, Star has insinuated himself to Casper and its residents with some degree of flawlessness. Every night he can be seen at The Gaslight Social drinking a Shirley Temple and Red Bull (he doesn’t drink alcohol) or having dinner at Firerock. He’s not one of those celebrities who likes to live Above Persons. He mingles and mingles, occasionally getting into fights with strangers on Facebook, just like the rest of us.
More importantly, he actually has the means and the will to do so hand back to the community, and that’s exactly what he’s doing with Star Yak Ranch and a host of other ventures, some of which will be revealed very, very soon…
Continue reading: Jeffree Star donates $25,000 to Casper’s Toy Drive “Stuff the Van”.
When asked what he’s most proud of, Star took a moment to really think about the question.
“Oh, I like that question,” he said. “I think my makeup brand is what I’m most proud of so far because I really need to have 100% control over it. I can do myself, have fun and push the limits with makeup. And I really changed the beauty world and the industry just by stopping by. And it’s just so cool because when the pandemic started, people stopped buying makeup. And many brands don’t want to talk about it. Many brands have closed. It’s humbling to still be here. And I think that’s because of my creative ideas and my packaging and the formulas. People know what they’re getting when they buy from me; they know it’s going to be good. And I’m so proud of the fact that people trust my opinion and what I’m going to create. So this next chapter gives me a few more years. But I like to start fast.
Star continued, explaining, “There are dreamers and there are doers, and you can do both. So do it.”
He has done just that and will continue to do so.
And he will, right here in Casper.
“I really embraced this city,” Star said. “I love being here and we look forward to growing our yak business. I think Casper will become the hotspot for yaks in America and Wyoming in general. And I think the next phase is a retail store. We did this pop ups in our warehouse and I would love to move it. I’d love to shut it down and open a real makeup and meat business. The dichotomy of beauty and food.”
“Can you imagine?” he asked with a mischievous smile…
Video of our adventure with Jeffree Star, including a ride in his electric Hummer, can be seen below.
Photos can also be seen below.
Jeffree Star on Life in Casper, Yaks and Owning Wyoming’s First Electric Hummer
Jeffree Star invited K2 Radio News to his ranch to talk about life in Casper, his yak ranch and his electric lobster – the first of its kind in Wyoming.