Michelle Phan

Who is Michelle Phan?

Michelle Phan is a Vietnamese-American YouTube beauty star and an owner of multiple companies. She was born on April 11th 1987, in Boston, to Vietnamese parents. Her real name is Phan Tuyết Băng. Her family was quite poor, and it got even worse when her parents divorced, and she stayed with her mom and siblings. Her mom eventually remarried, but her new husband was very controlling and almost abusive, so she left him as well. In Michelle’s younger years, online makeup tutorials weren’t a thing, but she has found her way despite it. Her mother was working in a nail salon, where Michelle spent a lot of time looking at beauty magazines. From magazines, she switched to books and learned through reading.

Despite her mother wanting her to become a doctor, Michelle made up her mind and eventually ended up in Art school. In 2005, Michelle created a blog on the Xanga platform and wrote a couple of articles about makeup, including step-by-step tutorials. As she later stated, she created a whole new backstory about her life, depicting herself as a girl from a great family with money who could have everything she needed. While posting on her blog, readers began asking her about more specific tutorials, inclining that videos would be very helpful.

This became possible just a year after, in 2006, when she started attending Ringling College of Art and Design and obtained a laptop for her studies. She had to leave the school in the second semester as she couldn’t afford to pay for it, but her YouTube career had officially started. Her first makeup tutorial vent was even unbelievably good for an unknown artist. Meanwhile, Michelle was working as a waitress and hoped for a better job offer because of her YouTube. In the beginning, she didn’t even consider the possibility of becoming famous.

Michelle Phan on YouTube

During her first year as a content creator, Michelle became very famous with videos visited by hundreds of thousands of people monthly. Around 2008 it became very clear that she was as talented at creating makeup looks as she was at writing them. She didn’t stop at the basics, such as how to apply natural-looking makeup; she went all in. One of the most favourite videos of hers is her tutorial for becoming a barbie doll. She also did a tutorial on Lady Gaga’s look from the Bad Romance video clip, creating huge eyes using makeup. But she didn’t stop at the makeup part; she also taught her followers how to use a computer program to achieve the same size as in the video. Needless to say, with the perfect presentation and Michelle guiding the viewers through every detail, these videos went extremely viral in almost no time. As of 2022, her Barbie video has over 56 million views.

Career of Michelle Phan

In 2010, Michelle founded the Ipsy company. At first, it was a way to thank her most committed fans by sending them bags with makeup products if they agreed to pay 10 dollars a month. Eventually, the company grew and expanded to the point that it received a 100-dollar investment. With this investment, they were able to open Ipsy studios. But the concept of “Glam bags” settled in and became so popular that still in motion, even after 10 years.

In 2013, Michelle was approached by L’Oreal, asking her to be in charge of a smaller brand called EM. It was originally made specifically for Michelle’s audience but wasn’t thought through enough. Her audience consisted mainly of teenagers and young adults, and their selling price was incredibly high. Because of this, Michelle decided to buy her share of the company and remake it, but it was too late. No one is quicker to judge than the internet. Michelle was laughed at and bullied, leading to her quitting posting on social media in 2016. She eventually prioritised her mental health and took a break for a whole year while travelling the world and taking the time for much-needed relaxation.

Break from the social media

In 2017, the EM beauty company was relaunched, but this time Michelle really thought about everything that went wrong the first time and how to fix it. She invited some more beauty influencers to help her, and she managed to lower the price by a lot. At the same time, Michelle announced that it was time to focus solely on EM and decided to leave Ipsy.

At that time, Michelle was still working away from the camera, and fans or even her former business partners started to question where she had gone. To end the conspiracies, Michelle appeared on YouTube in the middle of 2017 with a video, “Why I left”. In the said video, she explained her mental state after the EM company failure, her being overworked and exhausted, and even described her uneasy childhood. Then her channel went dark again as Michelle continued working on EM.

Comeback to YouTube

Her big comeback came in 2019 with a video titled “Hello :)”, where she talked a little bit about her life and shared the progress she made regarding EM company. Since then, she came back to posting videos, which are now occupying more subjects than just makeup. Due to her taking the time to focus on herself, Michelle decided to post about topics she wanted at the moment, even if it didn’t please everyone. Her views went, of course, down from the time of her biggest fame, but her loyal fans stayed and are enjoying the content.

Interesting facts about Michelle Phan

  • As of 2022, she is 35 years old.
  • Her zodiac sign is Aries.
  • Her height is 5'1'' or 154 cm.
  • Her weight is 50 kilograms or 110 lbs.
  • Since 2010 she has been dating a model Dominique Capraro, but due to her being extremely protective of her privacy, there ais no other confirmed information. Although there are hints suggesting that they might be engaged or even married.
  • In 2010, Michelle was a representative for Lancome.
  • In 2015 she was named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
  • In 2018 she acted as a voice actor for Blackberry Cookie, which is a character in the "Cookie Run: Kingdom" videogame.
  • She published her own book with Random House called Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style and Success.