Leading Lady: Michelle Phan

Experiences, Leading Ladies

Title: Makeup artist/YouTube sensation, co-creator of “em: Michelle Phan Cosmetics,” creative director for ICON.

Age: 30

Nationality: American


Brief Bio: Michelle Phan made her first video in 2007 from her backyard in Tampa, Florida; a tutorial on applying natural looking makeup.  At the time, she couldn’t afford luxury skincare products.  So, she dedicated herself to ingredient research and made facial masks by combining avocado with olive oil, and clay scrubs out of cat litter (the base ingredient is bentonite clay).  A decade later, she is an author, YouTube sensation with her own cosmetic line, and founder of a beauty subscription business valued at $500 million.  Michelle believes that the internet is where people go to search for someone who is authentic.  She stated at a Forbes conference for women that “87% of women today trust in influencers in YouTube over celebrity ads and endorsements and it’s only going to grow.”  She jokingly adds that with her millions of followers, “every single one of them has seen me without my makeup on.”  


“I am passionate about being a makeup artist and teaching others how to look and feel fabulous in their own skin.”


With her youthful/feminine energy, coupled with her strong sense of millennial consumers’ interests, Michelle is a force in the digital market.


Pearl of wisdom: “You become successful based on everything that you encounter in life, good or bad. It shapes who you are and who you need to be today.”

Winning Fact:  Michelle produces, directs, stars in, and edits all of her own work, AND has released over 300 videos since 2007.

Vital stats: Michelle’s videos have been viewed more than 1 billion times, and she has a global community reaching over 7.5 million people.

Golden Rules: “Influence is the new power–if you have influence you can create a brand.”


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