There’s a wave of newfound YouTube “celebrities” taking over the digital world, and leading the pack is YouTuber turned entrepreneur extraordinaire Michelle Phan. You may recognize Michelle from impressive endorsements with YouTube, Lancôme and Dr. Pepper. A gifted artist from a young age, Phan attended the Ringling School of Art and Design. Although she didn’t end up graduating, her artistic talents largely contributed to the massive success of her videos.
She started up her YouTube channel in 2007 and in the meantime, worked as waitress to support herself. Armed with a laptop, some serious make-up skills and a mission to help young women feel empowered, she uploaded her first video. The rest is history. Her first look was a natural makeup tutorial and the video quickly took off with almost 40,000 views in the first week. While her channel was already an established success, her videos began to go viral when Buzzfeed posted about her Lady Gaga tutorials in early 2010. Her most famous one, the “Bad Romance” tutorial, now has almost 50 million views. This attention caused Michelle’s channel to fly past one million subscribers, and big name companies started to take notice.
After this video, Michelle’s career took off, both on YouTube and in outside ventures. In 2010, Lancôme made her their official video makeup artist. Shortly after, Michelle co-founded a brand called Ipsy, a monthly beauty subscription service. She also became a YouTube advertising partner and founded the multi-channel network Fawn in 2012. While this was huge success for the girl who used to film makeup tutorials in her bedroom, she didn’t stop there. With a “phan”-base that now expanded across the globe, this was only the beginning.
In August of 2013, L’Oréal helped her launch the new cosmetics brand Em by Michelle Phan. The name em means “you” in Vietnamese. The products are available to order online and the line includes every product your beauty regimen needs. Besides the new makeup line, Michelle is also scheduled to release her first book at the end of October. If the book lives up to its subtitle, it will be “your guide life guide to beauty, style and success–online and off.”
While accomplishing all this, Michelle still hasn’t forgotten where she started. She continues to maintain an active presence on her personal YouTube channel, uploading new content at least once a week. Phan is an inspiration for girls everywhere hoping to turn their passion into a career. We can’t wait to see where her career goes next!