Hyram Yarbro: From Small-Town Arizona to Gen Z Beauty King
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 9 months ago

Hyram Yarbro: From Small-Town Arizona to Gen Z Beauty King

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Coined the "Gen Z Whisperer” by the New York Times and “The Beauty King” by The Guardian, Hyram Yarbro is a beauty influencer with over 12 million followers across his various social handles. Today on Pride, we talk to Hyram about the grueling pressure that comes with giving public beauty advice, his new line of sustainable skincare products, and how to walk the talk when it comes to social issues. But first, we’ll go back to where it all began – with a gay boy in Arizona dreaming of a way out.

Be sure to follow Hyram on TikTok! Your host is Levi Chambers, co-founder of Gayety. Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @Pride. Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com. Your producers are Levi Chambers, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson and Edited by Silvana Alcala Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com. *This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

STRAWT media. coined the genzy whisper by the New York Times and the beauty king by the Guardian, Hiram Yarbough is quite possibly the most influential beauty guru in the world right now. Since two thousand and seventeen, he has grown his audience to more than twelve million devout followers across his social media channels through his transparent beauty product reviews and celebrity skincare reactions. While Hiram has had a social media presence for more than five years, he amassed most of his following during the two thousand and twenty pandemic, when his tick tock page went viral thanks to his self deprecating but high energy personality, impeccable skin and lack of enity. Honestly, look at his skin. It's perfection. Unlike many other beauty bloggers, Hiram doesn't glamorize trendy skincare or beauty products to amass his millions of views. Instead, he focuses on making important skincare information accessible and breaks down which products are affordable, ethical and effective. Today, on pride, we talked to Hiram about the intense pressure that comes with giving public beauty advice, his new line of sustainable skincare products, and how to walk the talk when it comes to social issues. But first we'll go back to where it all began, with a young, closeted gay boy in Arizona dreaming of a way out. All love everyone. It's higher room, and this is pride. I know you've talked about it before, but the reason I want to talk about it is because I'm from Arizona and no way I'm also, I didn't grow up that far from you. Honestly, really you were, and you have a Pike County. I grew up about twenty miles south of Sedona,...

...in like you would probably know the exit off the seventeen. It was the mcguireville exit, which will tell you how I got this. Yes, not that far. So today, when we were getting ready for the interview and they're like, oh, have you ever heard of this place in Arizona, and I was like no. Then I looked on the map and I was like, oh, by Chino Valley. Yes, I have literally over the hill through Jerome. You would there. Oh my God, s were one of the few people in the world who knows where Chino Valley is props to you. That is right. Yeah, yeah, because that would have been like the I don't want to say it's the bigger city, but it would have been like the bigger town next to your town. HMM, yeah, it was. Technically I was from hauled in, but no one knows where that is, and usually no one knows where Chino Valley is. I usually say Prescott, which is like it's a big city, I guess you could say, but Chino Valley was right next to me. I mean I lived out in the middle of nowhere. I always tell people, like the closest gas station to me was about twenty five minute drive away, thirty minute drive away. So that just shows you how outon about I was. But it sounds like you were too, like, oh my goodness, I would actually imagine the high school I went to for freshman year was Mingus Union, and I would imagine your high school probably. Oh my God, sorry, these terms are just like I have not thought about these terms in so long. Low Key triggering, but also also that's awesome. Wow, that's so crazy. You one of the chances. Hiram grew up in a small town in Arizona to Mormon parents. His Dad was a rancher and spent most of his time outside. There's elements of my childhood I'm really grateful for it, like being able to be raised an environment where we're always outside and have appreciation for nature, appreciation for really hard work. Ranching work is not easy, not the most glamorous thing in the world, and I think for me it really taught me how to appreciate any opportunities that would come my way because, truthfully, being out there in the middle of the nowhere, you just really...

...didn't get much opportunity for anything. So it really taught me how to be hard working. Growing up in remote Arizona is like living on the set of Mad Max Charlie's theren plus CACTI, rattlesnakes and coyotes, desaturated and dull, which I can say because I am a fellow Arizona. So for someone colorful like High Ram, it's no surprise he had dreams of greener, cooler pastures. But that wasn't the only reason Hiram was looking to get out of Arizona. Okay, the environment I was raised in was very suppressive to you know, any straying from traditional thinking, and I include homosexuality, and from Young Age I knew that I was gay, but it was something I, you know, for my own wellbeing and my own safety, I had to keep private, and so that definitely tainted a lot of the life experiences I had growing up, but it definitely created a desire for me to get out of that environment and work really hard to make sure I'd build a life outside of the environment of my dreams. I had these dreams and these aspirations and internally I knew who I was and I knew that the way people around me treated, you know, so many others, but particularly you know, people who were gay, was wrong. And I, you know, had so many ideas and philosophies about the world that I knew, you know, we're good and true, just like, you know, empathy and kindness, and even though my environment really discouraged that type of thinking, I always stuck with what I knew, and that's something I really grateful for, because it can feel really overwhelming to be constantly surrounded by people around you who are very close minded, who aren't supportive, who reject, you know, anything other than what they want for you or what they expect out of people, and it's really hard to keep pushing forward, and that's something I'm so grateful for. It that I stuck to when I knew, I pushed forward and I just kept dreaming, and that's, honestly, one of the biggest recommendations I have.

Hope is such a powerful thing and it's honestly what got me through, you know, all the worst times of my life. I knew that life could be better than why I was experiencing, that there was opportunity and that one day I would be able to, you know, leave my hometown and I'd be able to build a future for myself and then I didn't have to be surrounded by people who were, you know, negative and just very toxic to my mental health. and honestly, you know, with my life I really didn't have much proof of that because I really didn't have much exposure to, you know, that world outside of my own community. But I kept that hope and if you're someone who is struggling to stay afloat and you just feel like the world is caving in around you and you feel like you know, you'll never be supportive in your never find people who will love you for who you are, or you'll never be able to accomplish your dreams. There is hope outside of that and you can get past that and you can, you know, pursue your opportunities, you can get out of that environment and there's such an incredible life to live with so many opportunities, and if I was talking to my younger self, I would I would tell, you know, my younger self that exact thing. Just keep pushing, don't listen to what others are saying. You know, keep moving forward and you'll make it out of this. At the age of eighteen, Hiram left the desert and traveled nearly threezero miles to the beautiful island of a Wahoo in Hawaii, where he only intended to stay for two years while pursuing his education. Never been here, I didn't know any line. It was a rough start. I had absolutely no money. I had to, you know, drop out of school because I was literally taking around the noodle splitting in half. One was breakfast, when was dinner, and I was still in debt and I was about to be homeless. Had just no funding, no money whatsoever, and thankfully, was able to really hold myself out of that situation and, you know, work to get to this specific moment. Hiram combined his passion for skincare...

...and love of social media to become the voice of his generation for anyone looking for real beauty advice. From honest reviews on products to personal skincare recommendations, Hiram has been sharing helpful tips and tricks with his followers for years. In June two thousand and twenty one, after years of reviewing hundreds of products by countless beauty brands, Hiram finally shared his skincare line with his followers. He literally put his name on the line for selfless by Hiram was released in the summer of two thousand and twenty one. Hiram's iconic social mantra, ingredients don't line bitch, can be heard in most of his videos as a way of holding brands and products accountable, including his own. While this catch phrase may seem a bit much, it's direct and to the point. Just like Hiram, his personal mantra is much the same. Empathy practicing empathy. I think empathy is one of the most beautiful things because it allows you know, it allows us to take on the world's view of someone else and appreciate, you know, the challenges and the successes that they're able to accomplish, and I noticed that when I started viewing the world through an empathetic approach because, truthfully, growing up in the environment that I did, I it made me into a very negative and people person, almost a product of my environment, because I was just surrounded by so much of that. And when it really began to shift was when I began practicing an empathetic approach and, you know, not only towards myself, but also towards other people and thinking about, you know, how I can better the world in a small way, how I can, you know, create a positive influence and and it's allowed me to, you know, do the best that I can to have some kind of grounding as I, you know, go through all the incredible experiences that I've been able to go through over the past years because of, you know,...

...everything that's happened online. But practicing empathy has really allowed me to just, you know, keep myself as grounded as possible. And I think another element is surrounding yourself with people who really inspire you to be a better person. I know it's somewhat cliche, but it's really true that the people you surround yourself with can, you know, influence you for the worst or for the better, and I love that I'm able to lead a life now surrounded by people whom I really respect and look up to and who do things that I'm you know, reflect back on myself and say, wow, I really want to be like them. I really want to challenge myself to be a better person and to you know, you know, add light to the world and the way that they are. I'd say that's definitely another element. And finally, I'd say what I've learned over the past few years is taking time to disconnect and really, for me personally, connect with nature. I am a big like nature person. You always catch me long hikes or I'd try to beach is often as I can, or just going on drives through nature, because there's something so calming and peaceful about it and allows me to really just go through personal self reflection and whatever that may be. For every individual, I feel like everyone has their one thing where they can just disconnected re charge. Hiram is a beacon of life for so many in the dark world of social media. His advice encourages others to feel more confident in their skin and his vulnerability shows his followers that everyone has insecurities and that's okay. I always struggle to like be honest with myself about how I'm doing, because I am the King of saying I'm fine, I'm fine, everything's fine, don't worry about anything, I'm fine. But I'd say in this moment I'm doing okay.

I you know, confidence is something that I've always really struggled with. I've talked on my channel about my, you know, struggle with an eating disorder and body Dysmorphia, which heavily influences and will influence for the rest of my life the way I perceive myself. And you know, so much of, I'd say, my self perception is tied to that element. And so when I go through moments of you know where someone naturally just like means a little bit of weights or, you know, isn't exercising as much or stuff like that because, you know, say, recently I haven't been able to exercise as much because I've just been so busy with work, I have to work really hard to not let it affect my confidence and I think the thing for me that is really helped with, you know, embracing myself is to not be in this passive cycle of always, you know, saying I have to have good confidence, I have to, you know, always think that I look great and always think that I look good, and I have to, you know, always sell myself positive affirmations, because for me personally, sometimes that means almost that I'm glazing over the reality of how I feel and I'm almost ignoring what my real emotions are, and I think taking time to really reflect and identify what you're really feeling, how you feel and say that that's okay, is one of the best things you can do and for me personally, has made such a huge difference, which is why, you know, I feel comfortable being able to say, you know what, confidence something I struggle with. I don't necessarily feel confident all the time time, but I do have things about myself that I, you know, really like. I think I'm a hard worker. I think I'm one of the things I actually liked by myself, kind of like what you said, is able to be a hypeman. I feel like I'm one of the things I love doing is really hyping people up and making people feel good about themselves, and I try to you know, appreciate those things while I work on my confidence, and I'd say moments where I feel the most confident honestly, like helping others is a big one. We all find confidence in different ways. Some people...

...find confidence in their athletic abilities, while others may find it in beating their face for the gods. But for high room, his confidence stems from his ability to give back to his community. I've noticed when I do a little acts of service or, you know, I for my brand, for example, when we, you know, get updated statistics from our nonprofit partners detailing how many acres of rainforce have been protected because the brand, or how many people have been private access to clean drinking water, or I'm able to work with a you know, nonprofit or talk with activists or whatever it may be. In moments where I'm really focused on how I can, you know, use my voice to make a cause and change in the world. That's funny enough when I feel the best about myself, and it's really interesting because it has nothing to do with where a lot of my lack of confidence, you know, is stored, which is, you know, in my physical parents and body. But I feel like it's almost a you know, a reminder to me that so, you know, not be so focused on the way I look and how I'm perceived in all these elements and focus more on, you know, what is more qualitative work to me, which is doing my best to make a world better place. So in those moments I feel the most confidence and you know, and I'm just working through it every day. What we'll see what I say a year from now, five years and now, who knows? Don't go away. When we come back we'll discuss how skincare and environmental issues intersect and learn about the gayest ingredient of them all, rainbow algae. Social Media Star and Skincare Guru hireum arbow packed up his life in pauled in Arizona and cross the Pacific Ocean to start over in Hawaii.

While the ALOHAS state may have helped him escape an oppressive religious environment back home, like many lgbtq plus people, Hiram would have to unpack his trauma. It took a lot to be able to like change that and shift it and put, you know, that energy towards something positive. And I have always been honest about this and I want and I know shame and saying a lot of therapy. It definitely took a lot of you know, going to Accounsel, they're going to it their PISS, talking through a lot of these things in order for me to kind of have this shift. But you know, I think for me, I think a quality that I do appreciate about myself is just my drive. Like I definitely am very strong weld and so you put me in an environment where I'm not happy and I will do everything in my power to get out of it. And so, in a way, you know, my upbringing was, you know, almost had a positive impact in the sense that it I don't know if I ever would have had the same drive that I do had I, you know, lived in a really comfortable environment, high room credits. Is Difficult upbringing for making him the person he is today. Though he has cut ties or been cut off by people from his past, he is here to say it does get better. I think, you know, your strength and your strong willingness, which was, you know, usually painted as a negative aspect of myself growing up. I think that can be one of your greatest strengths, because it'll be the thing that carries you through all those you know, turbulent times and we'll be able to allow you to build the future that you want, and I don't think it's something that you should be ashamed of. And you know, having heard so many stories of, you know, queer individuals who were rejected by, you know, their families or their community or whatever it may be, I'm always so inspired to hear their stories of what's happened afterwards, because they're just...

...such strong individuals. So the best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to take those negative experiences and really use them as your strengthen your force to be able to not only push you out of that environment but also, you know, build the future that you know you deserve. Selfless by hireum currently offers five beauty products made with high performing earth conscience ingredients, because ingredients matter. Remember, the beauty brand is also a catalyst for social change. Every product purchased from selfless contributes to the causes close to his heart, including clean drinking water and the protection of tropical forests. HIREM also includes how raw materials for his line are sourced and harvested, for sustainability and transparency, something his Gen's audience looks for. His product sourcing is said to not hurt the environment or it helps the environment grow or regrow the ingredient. That transparency that just seems to or kind of radiate off of you through all of your history, through everything that you've accomplished. It seems like your brand is really prides itself on this like pursuit of transparency. Ingredients don't lie, and that seems to be like the case with selfless. Do you feel that your inability to be transparent about who you were when you were young influenced this desire and commitment to such, I would say like professional or corporate transparency with goals and ingredients and products? Do you think that was part of it? Wow, that what that is one of the best questions I have ever been asked, because I've never even thought about it that way, to be honest. But yes, I can totally see a link. You know, I think it was so difficult growing up feeling like I just was trapped and could not say what I need to say because I felt unsafe. Anyone who's been in a...

...similar situation just knows the absolute, you know, just craziness that you experience not being able to really express who you are say the things that you want to say or just, you know, live the life that you want to live. And I've always just been attracted to people in every sense of life who are just brutally honest, authentic, you know, where there are on their sleeve, because I think there is a strength to that, you know. I I think there's so much power and just being able to put everything out on the table and say this is who I am, this is what I think, this is what I believe. If you don't like it, deal with it, you know, move on, go somewhere else. You know, I think there is just so much power and being able to do that. And so, funny enough, I am somewhat of a't not somewhere. I'm a very introverted person and I am someone on confrontational as well, but I took it kind of upon myself to to make my channel the true expression of my thoughts and feelings, with no filter, just being able to say whatever I wanted to say unapologetically. And, you know, funny enough, because of my upbringing and you know, even the person I was when I started my channel was definitely not like that. I way do non confrontational traditionally, of to feel comfortable doing that, but it was so great to be able to have an outlet like youtube to just be able to give that energy and it's really translated over into my personal life as well, like I feel like I'm much stronger person than who I was when I started my channel because of my ability and, thankfully, the you know, open mindedness and open arms that my subscribers show me in order to have that translated into my channel and into my brand as well, and I think I've been able to grow. But you just you kind of blew my mind by saying that, because I've literally never even thought about that, but it totally makes sense.

You know, I have seen a lot of activism start to become, you know, more popular online, which I think is incredible, because I think social media is the most powerful thing in order to spearhead a lot of these issues that have gone silent for so long that have, you know, been permitted to continue. And I will say I am the type of person who doesn't necessarily, what's the word, really hyper fixate on what someone's intentions maybe when it comes to, say, activism around a certain issue, part of me is definitely like hey, it's contrbuting to the bigger conversation. There's change that needs to be happened. The more people that talk about this, the better. It's one thing to talk the talk and another to walk the walk, but sometimes you just have to walk the talk. Do I feel more of a tendency to be vocal about this because I actually care or because, you know, it's what's expected? And for me, I take moments like that as an opportunity to say, how can I actually walk the talk and be passionate about these issues and be committed to change the world in a positive way? And I think it's important that we as individuals, just have those moments of personal reflection and really say to ourselves why are we involved in this way? And you know, part of the reason I love the Internet is because of call out culture. Like I love that the dynamic I have with my subscribers is they're able to, you know, correct me whenever I see anything wrong about a skin care and gretting our skin care product and immediately tell me when I messed up how I need to fix it. I love that because it allows me to, you know, make sure I'm not spreading misinformation,...

...make sure that I know as much as possible and I'm able to, you know, help my audience in the best way that I can, and I am grateful that the Internet is there to be able to hold people accountable in that way to make sure that there's the best intent always present. Over seven hundred and eighty million people worldwide do not have access to clean drinking water. Selfless by hireum works with the thirst project to bring clean drinking water to communities and is Swantini by building local water wells. The brand also works with rainforest trust to fight the battle against climate change. Why? Tropical forest contains sixty six percent of the world's biodiversity and support the livelihoods of a billion people. In two thousand and nineteen we lost eightyzero acres of tree coverage. That's a football field every six seconds. The organization works to protect forests from deforestation. I do think that at this moment, must pressing issue of our time is climate change, just because of how it will, you know, affect the entire world, all of humanity, how it will disproportionately affect people, you know, in certain regions or of certain incomes, or, you know, just all the different elements of it. I think it's a really big issue and as I'm super glad, like with my brand, I was able to, you know, help channel it to be able to make a positive impact in that way. That's truthfully, like why I was so passionate about creating a brand was because I was like, I need to do something more than just a one off donation. This is driving me crazy. I need to create something that is going to residually and continually create change. I didn't go into the interview with him expecting skincare advice, but when you have the king of beauty uninterrupted for almost an hour, can you blame me? I'm...

...very much like a bar of soap and some setophil. I know I need to be better. Right, like seat of the loan and a bar O soap. I gotta be better. So I would say like I'm getting old. That's this. That's the big concern, in all honesty, probably just like dryness, because my face is pretty dry. I am in Arizona Right now. It's like a tumble weed up in here. HMM, okay. Well, I would say if you want to help both of this issues, I would recommend that the one product you take is the retin. On me about algae, r pair serum, just because retin all is such a powerful ingredient to help, you know, really prepare the signs of damage and specifically, you know, things like premature aging and all those issues. But it also has a complex specifically using an ingredient squaling that's really, really nurishing to the skin and good for someone who has dry skin. So I'd say if you kind of want to and one experience, definitely there. Ena'll seum. Well, and rainbow algae. She sounds very gay because I know and assuming it's rainbow. Yes, so actually it's the way that the algae operates in water is it almost has like a prismatic irridescent effect when light shines through it, so it appears to look almost rainbow in when it's underwater. So it's very gay and I love that. How can you not? This product feels like it was custom made for the LGBTQ plus community. But how do you find and source sustainable products that are good for the environment and benefit the skin? Personally, I'm picturing hirem in a scuba diving suit rowsing the bottom of the ocean for inspiration. You know, I wish it was that epic but how it worked was kind of a balance of, you know, skin effectiveness as well as, you know, an opportunity to find an ingredient that can, you know, be as sustainable as we can possibly find. One of...

...the you know, things when it comes to sourcing specific ingredients is whether you know it's renewable, whether it, you know, negative and natively impacts the environment or the people that you know are around it or source it. And the great thing about rainbiology is that you know when it's cut properly, it'll regrow in a way that doesn't harm the organism at all and it's completely renewable. And and then, on top of that, when I was able to see the skin effectiveness data for how well it helps, you know, find the appearance of hyper pregnantation and dark spots in the skin, that's really when I was like, who, I love this ingredients, particularly because it works really well alongside ran and all to, you know, really boost those effects. But I didn't find it when I was snarkling. It was actually something when I partnered with aanky list, the brand that I was able to work with to launch this brand. That's one of the things I'm really grateful for when working with them, is that they were able to use their industry experience to really scout out all the different ingredients that are out there and really see which ones would not only resonate with me but be, you know, as a sustainable and responsible as possible, and that was one at the top of the list. was such a massive following, Hiram's candid advice is bound to face backlash from some of his followers and random Internet rolls. I appreciate all feedback and I think when communicative respectfully, there's so much that we can learn from each other, and that's the main thing when it comes to my product reviews, is that I always want to be in a position of being able to learn. I think one of the beautiful things about the skin care community is that when it comes to a product, there are so many different opinions. Someone can love the formula from an ingredient standpoint but hate the experience. Someone can love the experience but hate the formula, and this is not just isolated to consumers. This is also present within dermatologists. The amount of times I've seen a dermatologist recommend, like, a really harsh facial scrub while simultaneously...

...a different dermatologist is saying it's one of the worst products you can use at your face. Just shows how much you know different discourse there is in the community and how much you know opinion and personal experience does affect the overall skin care experience. Hiram has become an inhouse expert for many on their skincare journey. I definitely feel pressure and I try not to think about it too much because I psych myself out when I do. But I think, you know, nodding back to that focus on transparency and authenticity, I would so much rather share my real, genuine organic thoughts about something then feel, you know, pressured to talk talk about a product a certain way because I don't want to get flak for it. So long as I'm doing the proper amount of, you know, learning about ingredients and formulations from, you know, license professionals. I don't want to be, you know, feel like I have to have a certain opinion and so I just try not to think about it and I post my videos and I try to learn as much as I can listen to my audience whenever they're ready to correct me, and it's been really cool to see how many you know dermatologist or a stations reach out to me and thank me for for the content that I do, and I really appreciate it because all I want to do at the end of the day it is just help people get better skin. But that's it. Just help people with their confidence. Hmmm, I truly do think that, you know, anyone can do anything that they put their mind to. You just gotta believe in yourself, and sounds so cliche, but you know it's true. You got to cling onto that hope. You gotta believe in yourself you can make things happen. So I hope, if nothing else, my story is able to show people that, you know, if there's another little boy out on a cattle ranch's gay and not able to feel like he's supported an environment, who...

...stumbles across my videos, I hope that, if nothing else, I could show and where anyone else that you know, anything is possible they put them going to it. Do something for yourself and for the environment. Purchase selfless by Hiram at your local Sophora or at selfless by hi ramcom pride is a production of Straw head media. If you like the show, leave us a rating engine review on Apple Podcast, spotify or wherever you listen to podcast, then follow us on Ticktock, instagram, facebook and twitter at pride and tune in weekly for more. Be sure to shared this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere. At Lea by chambers. Pride is produced by me, lea by chambers, Niggie Bulls, Ryan Tillotson, Kaylyn mcdaniel and Brandon Marlowe, edited by Silvana, I'll Calla, and Daniel Ferreira, sound mixing by Silvana, I'll calla. I love that that authenticity is really ingrained, and not only your personal brand, but also in, you know, the products that that you create and that you bring to the world and products which I have with me. Oh my God, thank you. Hi,.

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