Michelle Phan Is 32 Now And Absolutely Stunning


Michelle Phan was a beauty vlogger long before
the likes of James Charles and Tati Westbrook built their respective followings on YouTube. She began her YouTube channel in 2006, a year
after YouTube itself launched, and she’s changed quite a bit over the years. This is her stunning transformation. We know her best as Michelle Phan, but the
beauty vlogger’s Vietnamese birth name is “Tuyet Bang,” which translates to “avalanche.” In an interview with Glamour, Phan said her
father chose the name during a snowstorm because of his daughter’s “nonstop energy.” Phan said she takes after her father in many
ways, including by being a risk taker. Although Phan was born and raised in the United
States, both of her parents grew up in Vietnam. Phan explained, “Their families were like the Montagues and
the Capulets, [my father] was from northern Vietnam, [my mother] was from the central
countryside, yet they ran off together.” Phan’s childhood was less than ideal. Phan revealed to Glamour, “You wouldn’t exactly call my childhood stable. When I was growing up, my father constantly
gambled away our rent money. Every few months we’d get evicted and move.” One night after a particularly “big loss”
at the gambling tables, Phan said her father didn’t come home. She would not see him again for over a decade. Phan’s mother remarried, and, although the
relationship seemed like a good thing at first, her new husband quickly became possessive,
and Phan told Nylon that he “ran the house like a dictator.” Some time after her half-sister Christine
was born, Phan’s mother left him. She explained to Glamour, “Eventually, the four of us [Phan, her mother,
her brother, and her half-sister] moved out, and at age 17, I started working as a hostess
to supplement my mom’s income as a nail technician in a salon. We could barely pay rent, and we had no furniture;
I slept on the floor, my clothes in a basket beside me.” To avoid her home life, Michelle Phan would
often stay late after school. But while at school, she faced bullying. Phan shared that she’d walk down the school
hallways and other students would yell racist things at her. She told Nylon, “It made me insecure about my nationality
and race. It was really hurtful.” That bullying would continue throughout high
school, but she continued to try to fit in. At times, she’d attempt to look more white
and would dress in a preppier fashion. Other times, she asked African-American girls
to cornrow her hair or she would put baby oil in her hair like her Latina peers. Phan told the publication, “I didn’t really have a defined style. I didn’t know what my culture or aesthetic
was, so I would cosplay to feel part of theirs. I was hiding the true me.” Phan also felt pressure to lose weight. She explained, “I did go through a moment where I didn’t
eat a lot because I wanted to be skinny. I don’t know if you’d call it an eating disorder,
I would at least eat dinner. It was around the time of ‘thinspiration.'” In an interview with the Wall Street Journal,
Michelle Phan reminisced about her mom’s job at a nail salon. After school, Phan said she would come to
help out, and, while there, she’d also page through the magazines. She explained, “I would read all these beauty magazines and
I was a sponge. I was absorbing all of the information and
facts.” Little could Phan have imagined that she would
one day grace the covers of magazines herself. However, it wasn’t just the beauty magazines
at the salon that were inspiring Phan. “I wanted to be like my mother. She didn’t wear a cape or shoot lasers out
of her eyes; she was someone who wore a smile and made people more beautiful.” Even more than that, though, Phan said her
mom made her customers “feel beautiful.” On her YouTube channel, Michelle Phan has
used makeup to create all sorts of looks, we’re talking everything from “Gothic Lolita
Doll” to “Snow White.” While Phan could use makeup to transform herself
into practically anyone, makeup was not part of her high school “cosplay.” Shockingly, other than lip gloss and mascara,
Phan didn’t really experiment with makeup until she was 19 years old. This was because her mom thought Phan should
embrace her natural beauty. Her mom also believed in always looking presentable. Phan told Nylon, “I was taught to dress nice, to show everyone
around you that you care. Even though we had no money, my mother believed
in looking good.” Her decision to dress nicely in college led
to bullying once more. Phan revealed, “I guess in art school, it was cool to look
broke. If you dressed up, you were trying too hard. But when you come from nothing, it’s the last
thing you want to look like.” Michelle Phan launched her YouTube channel
while attending Ringling College of Art and Design in 2006. Her first video, “Natural Looking Makeup Tutorial,”
was actually a repost of a tutorial she’d first uploaded to her Xanga blog. Ah, the good ol’ days. Before she shared the vlog to YouTube, though,
it was already a hit on the blogging site. In just one week, it had been viewed 40,000
times. That may not sound like a lot today, but,
being as it was in the mid-aughts, it was impressive. Phan explained to Cosmopolitan, “Back then, it wasn’t as easy as it is [now]
to instantly share or retweet anything that you found online. You would have to copy and paste a link, and
post it to Facebook.” Phan hadn’t intended to grow a huge following,
but that’s exactly what happened. By 2015, Phan had amassed over a billion views
on her videos and 7.7 million subscribers on YouTube. Not too bad for a makeup blogger who didn’t
really start doing makeup until she was 19. In 2018, the skincare industry grew by 13
percent whereas makeup only experienced a one percent increase, according to the NPD
Group. Stephan Kanlian, professor and chair of the
Fashion Institute of Technology’s Master of Professional Studies program, told CNN Business
that it was “the first time in a very long time” that skincare had surpassed makeup. Although many of us may have only recently
jumped aboard the skincare bandwagon, Michelle Phan has long been a believer. In her very first YouTube video, she advised
viewers to begin their makeup routine with a cleansed, toned, and moisturized face. “You get better, natural-looking results when
applying makeup on a clean face.” In an interview with the Wall Street Journal
in 2012, she revealed some of her top beauty tips, including simple skincare steps such
as drinking more water and always wearing sunscreen. She told the Journal, “Sunscreen is really important, especially
now. Not just because it’s going to reduce wrinkles
and brown spots and so forth, but also for your health too.” In 2011, Michelle Phan co-founded Ipsy, a
subscription service that provides samples of beauty products for a set fee each month. And success quickly followed, with more than
a million subscribers in 2015. Later that year, Ipsy was valued at $500 million. Phan admitted at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit, “I didn’t have a roadmap. I just did it because it was meaningful to
me and I wanted to disrupt the beauty industry.” She certainly succeeded. However, Phan decided to leave Ipsy in September
2017. Jennifer Goldfarb, the subscription service’s
co-founder and president did acknowledge Phan as “the original creator” who “inspired a
generation” when speaking to Racked. While some may look to Michelle Phan as her
generation’s rags-to-riches story, Phan’s success hasn’t been without struggle. Even though Ipsy was thriving, Phan’s line
of makeup, Em Cosmetics, which launched with L’Oréal in 2013, “flopped,” in Phan’s own
words. She wrote in an article for Teen Vogue in
2017, “I had Reddit forums dedicated to hating on
it. I was bullied. I hate using that word because everyone is
bullied, but I was digitally bullied.” She chose not to clap back at consumers who
were calling her formulas cheap, writing, “I could have said a lot of things, but the
thing about the internet is that you cannot have a legitimate [argument] with someone
online and win.” Instead, she decided to detox from social
media, and she took a total online hiatus. As her fans surely remember, Phan went totally
radio silent. Nearly two months after penning that article
about her “social media detox” for Teen Vogue, Michelle Phan returned to YouTube in June
2017 with a more in-depth explanation about why she took a break. “Who I was on camera and who I was in real
life began to feel like strangers. Money can bring out the worst in people, and
I was no exception.” She further explained that she was struggling
with depression, and, quote, “wanted to be forgotten,” which is why she “began posting
less online.” Phan went through her YouTube channel and
purged a lot of her videos. She then changed her profile picture to a
black box, all of which worried her fans. She told Racked that some people thought she
was dead, but in reality, Phan was actually reinventing her life and herself. After Michelle Phan decided to step away from
everything, she took nine months to travel everywhere from Egypt to Europe in an effort
to, as she explained to Racked, “heal” and “reflect.” Phan recalled packing her “whole life” in
“one piece of luggage” and leaving without saying a word to anyone, including her business
partners. During her nine months abroad, Phan reconnected
with nature. She wrote in Teen Vogue, “Nature healed me. Nature reminded me that everything we’ve built
around our world that we have today doesn’t really matter.” When Phan eventually returned to Los Angeles,
she said nothing had really changed, even the digital scene, but she came back a different
person. She promised her fans, “I am not gone, guys. I’m stronger than ever.” Although Phan didn’t share specifics, she
said she’d returned from traveling with a renewed sense of self and clarity. She had plans of breaking into “other industries.” It may have been vague, but for longtime Phan
fans, it also sounded exciting and promising. Em Cosmetics may not have been successful
under L’Oréal’s control, but Michelle Phan didn’t give up. After her line failed, she bought it back
from L’Oréal via Ipsy in late 2015, and, in April 2017, she launched Em Cosmetics once
again. Although Phan was disappointed that Em Cosmetics
didn’t take off the first time around, she told Racked, “It was through that failure that I started
to get more interested in the business aspect of everything.” While Phan was no longer on a digital detox,
she didn’t return to posting makeup tutorials on YouTube. Instead, she focused on working on her cosmetic
label. Phan herself expressed her discomfort around
fame to Racked, saying, “Getting recognized in real life is always
weird, because you never know when it’s gonna happen. I can’t even tell you how many times I had
to take pictures with people in the bathroom. It’s the most awkward thing.” For years, we’ve been able to watch Michelle
Phan transform in front of our very eyes, thanks to YouTube. Phan’s decision to move behind the scenes
may mean we’re not privy to her everyday life, but the beauty guru continues to transform
all the same. She revealed to Teen Vogue, “Em [Cosmetics] is going to be an introduction
of my evolution. Because I’ve been evolving since I was that
15-year-old on Xanga. I’m changing, and I want to show people that
it’s okay to change and to grow.” Em Cosmetics has even brought Phan back to
YouTube. In a short vlog simply titled “Hello,” posted
in September 2019, Phan showed her face on YouTube for the first time in years. Looking as radiant as ever, she showed viewers
a behind-the-scenes glimpse at Em Cosmetics and an upcoming product: Morning Dew Crystal
Lip Gloss. Fans were thrilled about Phan’s return to
YouTube. One viewer joked, “I just watched 3 minutes of pure ad and I’m
somehow not mad at it??” We hope to see more videos from Phan in the
future! Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more List videos about your favorite
influencers are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
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