Over the past years, we’ve seen the rise of Filipino beauty vloggers in the local YouTube scene. From sharing makeup tips and tutorials to reviewing products, the local YouTube beauty community has never failed to start beauty trends and show their creativity.
And for someone who doesn’t know much about makeup, seeing someone mix colorful eyeshadows and apply contour and highlighter has always been fascinating to watch. But there’s one vlogger, in particular, who takes beauty vlogs to a whole new interesting level—meet Martin Rules.
Martin Rules, who also goes by the moniker Gaytective, is a beauty vlogger who tells Philippine true crime stories while doing their (Martin uses they/them pronouns) makeup in their YouTube segment, “Gaytective: Philippine True Crime Stories.”
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Originally a lifestyle blogger, Martin Rules started out on YouTube in 2017 where they uploaded makeup tutorials and reviewed beauty products. But when the global pandemic happened, Martin thought of starting a new segment on their channel.
Speaking to POP!, Martin revealed that their new segment “Gaytective: Philippine True Crime Stories” is inspired by American YouTuber Bailey Sarian’s Murder, Mystery, and Makeup Monday. They said: “During the start of the pandemic, I had a lot of thinking about starting a different kind of segment on my channel. And when I came across Bailey Sarian’s channel, I said: ‘I’m going to do it.’”
And that’s exactly what Martin did.
On May 21, 2020, Martin launched the first episode of Gaytective: Philippine True Crime Stories, where they tackled Ruby Rose Barrameda’s tragic case, a woman who went missing in 2007 and was later on found murdered and cemented inside a steel drum in Navotas City. Since then, they also covered the cases of Pepsi Paloma, Jennifer Laude, Archimedes Trajano, and Kian delos Santos, among others.
In every video, Martin makes telling true crime stories while putting on a winged eyeliner look very easy. However, according to them, the process behind it is “rigorous.”
The beauty vlogger revealed that at first, they usually take one to two weeks to search for a story, but now, their viewers have been helping them on what case to cover for the next upload. They also shared that it takes a few days to write out a script to ensure that they cover the whole case and that all details are accurate. Martin usually films for four to five hours, and the same amount of time is also spent editing.
As for the glam looks they’ve been serving every episode, Martin revealed that the makeup is an afterthought. “Before, I like to plan my look. But since researching takes up a lot of my time, I just wing it and pray to the makeup gods to guide me,” they said.
Martin has creative ways to attract listeners to their segment. The beauty vlogger shared that they tend to cover highly controversial cases because most of their listeners are very curious about them.
In addition to discussing the cases, Martin also put a lot of effort into the content by sharing their personal thoughts about each case and adding relevant news. They went on to continue that they specifically tried to incorporate the “gossip style of storytelling” to make the viewers feel they are listening to a friend and be comfortable watching it.
But even though Martin tried to build a comfortable space for the viewers, they still get nervous every time they upload a new video because of the possible backlash.
“I actually prepared myself for this [backlash], because we’re currently living in a society where fake news is rampant, and [I know] people are going to attack me for stating actual information.”
Other than the backlash, Martin said that they were also nervous about people not taking them seriously. However, that didn’t happen. Instead, they received touching and positive messages from their listeners.
“Whenever I receive a comment saying [I’m] “Bailey Sarian ng Pinas” (Philippine version of Bailey Sarian), I see it as a big compliment,” said Martin. They then continued to joke that they’re “nowhere near to the Princess of Darkness [Sarian] herself.” But all jokes aside, Martin appreciated those kinds of comments as they inspired them to keep going.
Aside from Martin’s fans, people who are related to the person Martin is covering also leave some comments on the vlogger’s videos, saying that the information Martin presented is all accurate and correct. “It’s gratifying [to receive those comments], and those are the messages that really matter [to them].”
Even though Martin has been well-received by many viewers, some viewers expressed dissatisfaction. “Most of them are trolls who just want to [leave] negative comments, and sometimes they’re ad hominem attacks,” they shared. Instead of interacting with them, Martin chooses to ignore them because they feel like “they’re [only] projecting.”
Trolls aren’t the only challenge Martin has faced throughout their vlogging career– the topics they’ve been covering also prove to be challenging given their gruesome and morbid nature, which the Gaytective is very much aware of.
They admitted that there are some stories that are triggering and haunting. For them, the cases of Ruby Rose Barrameda and the Palimbang Massacre—a massacre that happened in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat during the Marcos regime that caused many Muslim Filipinos’ lives—affect them the most.
“That’s why I intentionally skip uploading videos sometimes because I can’t deal with so many morbid details [etched] in my head,” said Martin.
Despite this challenge, Martin has found ways to deal with it by taking a pause and stepping back. “Doing this [Gaytective: Philippine True Crime Stories] will really affect your mental health. So, it’s important sometimes to breathe and check on yourself first.”
Despite this, Martin still continued to tell true crime stories because their approach hasn’t been done before in the Philippine context. “No one [has been] doing that kind of approach here in the Philippines. Though some people upload Philippine true crime content, it’s more like documentary videos.”
They added that most Philippine true crime documentaries are created by heterosexual people. Thus, they’ve been using their opportunity to “take space” and “break barriers” as there is a lack of queer content creators covering true crime.
Martin also believes that even though these cases are gruesome, they still need to be told and remembered by Filipinos to be reminded that “these stories exist and [hopefully, we] can learn from them.”
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