A digital pioneer and burgeoning entrepreneur, Michelle Phan first recognized the power of makeup at an early age. From observing the way rosy cheeks and red lips transformed Belle in Beauty and the Beast to watching her mother’s daily beauty ritual, Michelle discovered the dramatic difference that makeup could create. When she was finally allowed to try eyeliner herself, she looked in the mirror and saw a different person looking back. From that moment, Michelle was hooked on makeup—and the sense of confidence, beauty and empowerment it gave her.
As an art student, Michelle continued experimenting with makeup, treating her face as a living canvas as she honed her skills as an artist. While Michelle studied portrait painting and the effect of light and color on the face, she was discovering how to translate this knowledge into the art of makeup and chronicling the process on her personal blog. "Makeup IS art—the only difference is it's on a moving canvas that constantly changes throughout the day," explains Michelle. "It's an extension of our self-expression, and a powerful tool that shapes how we see ourselves."
A Viral Video Pioneer is Born
When blog readers asked Michelle to post tutorials that showed how to recreate her makeup looks, she began with photos and a step-by-step guide. To truly capture the technique—and the artistry—Michelle soon decided to record and edit a video using a webcam.
What began as a how-to for her readers proved to be the beginning of a career in beauty, when in 2007 Michelle posted the video on YouTube—and garnered 40,000 views within a week. Subscribers began asking for her straightforward, intuitive, expert insight on everything from perfecting the smoky eye to creating a flawless complexion. Michelle responded with countless videos providing an insider guide to coveted beauty looks. This interactive dynamic between Michelle and her followers formed the basis of a powerful, growing community that has put her at the forefront of a new way of sharing information.
"It's really an artist's dream to create work that millions of people see," says Michelle. "I have such a rare platform to share my vision and message. The more eyes that are on my videos, the more fulfilling it is for me as an artist."
Michelle’s audience continued to grow online and as she further forged a new path for consuming content online, she soon attracted the attention of mainstream media—and established industry players. Legendary luxury beauty brand, Lancôme, tapped Michelle as an official online makeup artist, while publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, Nylon, Forbes and Seventeen profiled her. Since 2007, Michelle has produced and starred in over 250 videos that have been viewed over 770 million times. Recognized as the #1 YouTube "Beauty Guru," Michelle is 2nd most subscribed female, with over 4.6 million subscribers. Her signature video style—clean, artful, and expertly edited, with clear, easy-to-follow titles and voiceover instruction—has earned Michelle millions of loyal subscribers around the world, including a major following in the United States and Asia.
Not content to rest on her laurels, Michelle has continued to cultivate innovative ways to educate and connect with her community. YouTube approached her to develop her own network, which led to the creation of FAWN (For All Women Network), an outlet for Michelle to discover and develop talent, as well as curate, produce and share new content as Executive Producer. The MCN (multi-channel network), which launched in 2012, has given her the opportunity to introduce her community to new voices and reach new audiences herself, while staying true to her original vision in the video tutorials on her own channel.
That same year, Michelle also launched the beauty social networking site and sampling program, ipsy.com. A destination for beauty devotees to network, try new products, and watch and upload beauty tutorials, the interactive community has quickly surpassed competitive sites. In May 2013, Michelle and ipsy hosted Generation Beauty, a first of its kind conference for beauty bloggers and online beauty content creators. Featuring workshops for aspiring beauty gurus and veterans alike alongside fun, interactive activities, the conference provided direction on elevating content and building a brand while continuing to strengthen the online beauty community in real life.
A REFLECTION OF ‘ME’
In August 2013, em michelle phan, the first makeup line co-created by a community of beauty lovers and beauty expert Michelle Phan, launched, sold exclusively online. em michelle phan is a startup-style brand from the L'Oréal Luxe group made for and with Michelle’s community. em, a Vietnamese word meaning “you,” is used affectionately to address loved ones including a little sister, girlfriend or elder. It is also literally and figuratively a reflection of “me” – it is a makeup line that reflects the needs of Michelle’s community, their personal beauty stories and life moments.
Commitment to Community
In every aspect of her beauty expertise, Michelle strives to engage with her subscribers and empower them to use makeup as a tool for transformation and confidence. Michelle explains that the members of her community are "the ones steering the ship—they ask the questions, and I create my videos to answer them. Without my followers, I would be working in a void—like a teacher in an empty classroom. Their enthusiasm gives me the motivation and inspiration to educate and share every day."
For more information about Michelle or to request an interview,
please contact The Brooks Group at 212-768-0860.