Make-up artist Michelle Phan’s YouTube beauty channel has more regular viewers than most prime time TV shows. To-date, the 27-year-old has seven million subscribers to her self-titled platform, while her videos have been viewed in excess of one billion times. Now, the Boston-born self-made celebrity, who already has a cosmetics collection called Em in collaboration with L’Oréal, tells Metro why she’s publishing her own so-called “self-empowering” book “Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success-Online and Off”.
How did you first get into make-up?
I first recognized the power of make-up at an early age. From observing the way rosy cheeks and red lips transformed Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” to watching my mother’s daily beauty ritual, I discovered the dramatic difference that make-up could create. When I was finally allowed to try eyeliner myself, I looked in the mirror and saw a different person looking back. From that moment, I was hooked on make-up – and the sense of confidence, beauty and empowerment it gave me. For me, make-up is art: It’s a way to be creative. To me, everyone who has used make-up is an artist in their own right.
Are you shocked by your popularity?
When I decided to go to art school to follow my dream of becoming an artist, I had no idea I would end up on YouTube or that my videos would end up being seen by millions of people. I was not a professionally trained make-up artist… I am self-taught in every way – from make-up artistry to shooting and editing my videos. I never expected this to happen, but it’s been an incredible adventure and I’ve learned a lot along the way.
What’s it like to be considered “a make-up guru”?
I don’t see myself as a make-up guru but more of a ‘beauty bestie’ – your big sister next door giving you tips to bring out your best.
You created your make-up line Em as a “reflection” of your fans. Did they react well to the products?
I am so proud of Em’s success. Em is unique as it is the first make-up line co-created by a community of beauty lovers. It was designed for and with my community to meet their authentic beauty needs based on years of input that I received while being a beauty mentor. The community has been a part of every piece of the brand from providing input on launch products to shade names and product packaging.
What kind of advice can we find in your book?
My book will cover everything from make-up and beauty to lifestyle tips. If you want to hear my tips about etiquette and manners, both online and offline, or even learn a bit more about me and how I got my start, this would be a great read for you. I really hope the book will be a tool for everyone: young girls, college students, and women. Something you want to keep on your bookshelf and refer to anytime you need a little advice!
Okay, I need a tip now: tonight is my first date with this guy. What should I wear?
It depends on where it will be. A little black dress with wedges is never wrong. You can bring a denim jacket and leggings as an option to dress it down or a necklace in your clutch to dress it up.
If you had to keep one piece of clothing and one make-up item, what would it be?
It would be a nice oversized scarf that can be turned into a dress. As for my one make-up item, my Em Shade Play Color Mixing Concealer Palette. I use it to spot-treat discoloration around my eyes, lips, and nose. It comes with six hues that you can mix to conceal, highlight, and neutralize.
Zoella, Tanya Burr, and you… A lot of YouTubers now have their own cosmetics line. What do you think about that?
Absolutely. I am a big supporter of seeing the beauty space evolve with new, talented make-up enthusiasts and artists, all making beauty more exciting. I love that it is more accessible to anyone and everyone now.
A successful channel, a make-up line, a book… Do you have any other exciting upcoming projects?
I recently partnered with Cutting Edge Group and will be launching my own record label, Shift Music Group. I wanted to create a platform that would provide opportunities for artists, by not only promoting their music in my videos, but giving them further opportunity to get their music heard. I’ve always been passionate about music and artists, and this venture allows me to take my passion and create opportunities for others. I also want to inspire others to build successful brands on YouTube. I’ve teamed up with Endemol Beyond USA and will be expanding my lifestyle network by building a boutique premium talent network that will feature key tastemakers and pioneers in the YouTube space, as well as curating and create inspirational content for millennials.