CASPER — Two years ago when Jeffree Star mentioned he would open a store in Wyoming, Stephanie Kerwin started saving all of her change.
“I knew there would be a grand opening,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “And so, I just saved all my change, and I came up with, just in change, a whopping $1,400.”
That was her trip money and, on Friday, the Wisconsin woman was the first person in line for the grand opening of Star’s meat and makeup store at 355 Ash St. in Casper, Wyoming.
The store sells both Yak meat and an extensive line of vegan cosmetics, and is the social media celebrity’s first store anywhere.
Kerwin said she and her family set up lawn chairs in front of the entrance the night before the grand opening just as soon as she saw others kind of “creeping” up on the store.
They slept on the concrete, using a stuffed animal for a pillow, and chatted away the night with a group from Texas that was also camping out to await the store’s opening.
“It was amazing,” Kerwin said. “The store inside was so gorgeous. And I’m just so proud of him and what he’s bringing to Casper and what Casper is bringing back to him. And just the beauty he’s bringing to the community. It’s not just makeup, it’s food, too. It’s just everything.”
Kerwin believes Star probably likes Wyoming because it got him away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles.
“He can just be accepted (here),” Kerwin said. “And that’s so important.”
Star was not available for interviews during or before the event to talk about why he chose Wyoming for his store. Emails to Star requesting an interview in the week prior to the event were unanswered.
While Kerwin was here, she also tried one of the yak dishes at Tacos Mexico, which offers a variety of yak birria dishes. Yak meat dishes are also sold at Firerock and J’s Pub and Grill.
Kerwin had the Ramen bowl and “It was amazing,” she said.
Kerwin was among dozens dropping in at area restaurants that now serve some of Star’s yak meat on their menus.
“We had a restaurant critic from Los Angeles here at our restaurant,” Tacos Mexico owner Alex Rosales told Cowboy State Daily. “People are flying in from all over the country to be here, and it’s bringing people into our restaurant, too.”
A Line Two Days Long
Kerwin was among at least 1,000 people who waited patiently in a line that zigzagged in front of the store a couple of times before extending out to South David Street. From there, the line of people stretched across Midwest Avenue before turning halfway up Ash Street.
For some Casper residents, the crowds brought to mind the 2017 total eclipse, even though it was probably not quite that many, Jenna Haworth told Cowboy State Daily.
“I mean, it is a ton of people here,” she said. “When I was driving here this morning, the amount of traffic was three times what it normally is.”
Those waiting in line, meanwhile, were of all ages and from all over — Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin and more.
Some of those waiting in the line had gone all out with pink — Star’s store is heavily into pink as well — while others carried gifts they intended to give Star when it was their turn to meet the celebrity.
Margarita Padilla, holding a pink umbrella for shade, came to the event from Colorado with her sister Eva, cousin Tiffany Hinojosa and her mom, Ivette Pizarro. They were standing toward the end of South David Street, close to the midpoint of the growing line.
“Jeffree is just iconic,” Margarita Padilla said. “I’ve been watching him since 2015.”
The three younger ladies were all there to look at the makeup and meet Star, while Pizarro came along for the ride to be with her daughter. She was, however, interested in tasting the yak meat.
Hopeful At The Back Of The Line
Some of those waiting toward the back of the extremely long line told Cowboy State Daily they had heard that Star wouldn’t close the store until everyone already in line had their chance to shop and meet him.
Among the hopefuls at the back of the line was Brandi Risser, of Cheyenne, who told Cowboy State Daily she had been waiting more than two hours to get into the store.
Risser said she loves Star’s “big style,” as well as his personality. She follows all of his video tutorials online for applying makeup, and loves his creativity. She often tries out the techniques and uses his makeup, too, though she wasn’t wearing any makeup Friday.
“It was too hot for that out here today,” she said. “I knew I would just sweat it all off.”
Going All Out
Andrea Jenkins, meanwhile, had both a pink dress and the stunning makeup to match. She and her friend, Alondra Palama, had come from Colorado and managed to snag the 80th place in line.
The design Jenkins wore was her own creation, she told Cowboy State Daily, using Star’s Jawbreaker palette.
“I started watching his videos, and then I got a little education,” she said, smiling. “And a little practice, too.”
Jenkins also loves Star’s creativity when it comes to color and style, and has been following him for a long time.
“His makeup is like really dramatic,” she said. “And he’s like so real about what he talks about with his opinions about makeup, so I just kept following him because he just speaks the truth.”
Palama, meanwhile, told Cowboy State Daily she came to meet Star and to buy lip glosses. Lots of them.
“I’m kind of obsessed with them,” Palama said.
All Ages Star Struck
Not everyone waiting to meet Star was necessarily youthful.
Nancy Hunt told Cowboy State Daily her career had been in cosmetology, and that she started following Star after her daughter became interested.
“He’s really brash, but very talented,” she told Cowboy State Daily. “And so, he’ll start out with no makeup and then, by the time he’s done, it’s a transformation. And if you’re going along with him, it’s amazing how different you look when you’re done.”
Hunt said her daughter follows a Star tutorial nearly every day, trying out all of the techniques.
That’s not something Hunt herself has tried, though she likes watching it.
“I’ve never even tried fake lashes,” Hunt said, laughing.
Hunt’s daughter wasn’t able to come to the store’s opening because of work, Hunt added, so she came in her stead, with her sister Marilee Bates. They were waiting in the line inside the store for a photo with Star, who was dressed for the occasion in pastels, similar to his new cotton candy makeup line.
“He’s an expert makeup artist, and he’s also got a flamboyant personality,” Hunt said. “I think that’s why people like him. I would compare him to Boy George, Prince, Michael Jackson.”
Wonderful Casper World
There were also those who didn’t wait in line at all, but nevertheless wandered by the store to see all the activity and marvel at the idea that a social media celebrity like Star has chosen to call Wyoming home.
Among these was Suzi Bower, from Casper, and her daughter Jennie, visiting from California.
Bower told Cowboy State Daily that having Star locate in Casper is amazing.
“I was really excited when the news came that he was coming here and going to set up a homestead and do everything,” she said.
She’s particularly appreciated his donations to charitable organizations, and said he really seems to care about the community. She’s also appreciated the fact Star’s store is bringing so many people in from all over the country just to see it and hopes that’s a trend that continues.
“I think it’s a great thing for the kids, too, you know, because there’s people who are very accepting, and just to give them that lesson,” she said. “It is a great, great thing for Casper to bring, just the ability to be yourself and be proud of it. I’m hoping that that spreads to our community and just brings love and joy to us, because that’s what we need in this world.”
Renée Jean can be reached at [email protected].