If you were like me and were trying to start your make-up game strong, you went to YouTube to find easy makeup hacks and tutorials to try to make that cat eye as sharp as a paper cut.
Chances are, in those early YouTube makeup beauty guru days, you stumbled upon Michelle Phan. This Vietnamese American beauty expert was rejected from the Sephora counter. Flash forward to now and she has almost nine million subscribers, a lot more visitors than she could ever get at a Sephora counter.
Some personal favorite early videos of mine include “Paper Bag Curls Tutorial: No Heat” and “Rice Water for Healthy Skin.” Both of these videos were released nine years ago, making me feel really really old. As I watched Michelle blow-up on YouTube, as the quality and collaborations increased, I cheered for her on the sidelines during her rise.
As a young Vietnamese American girl watching another Vietnamese American girl become successful in the media, it gave me motivation to know that my ideas were not invalid. I could still respect and balance my family’s traditions with my goals, which is what Michelle has done.
I see Michelle as soft-spoken and humble, always on top of her work. I became excited when she started incorporating her artwork into her content. So when she started slowly posting less videos and started receding from the beauty sphere, myself and those that followed her voiced their concerns.
The last video Michelle posted on YouTube was “Why I Left” about one year ago. In the video, Michelle goes through her journey of her success and the opportunities that came with it.
“The taste of success was a drug, and I couldn’t get enough,” she voiced in her video.
Michelle didn’t want to share that part of herself with her followers.
Naturally, as other YouTube stars have come up, I slowly forgot about Michelle Phan. While watching a video, I saw a video of hers come up as suggested and had a flash of “Where is she now?”
I did a little bit of internet sleuthing and here’s what I found:
On Twitter, Michelle seems to be retweeing a lot more than tweeting her own thoughts. A recent retweet was actually a NextShark article about contestants from ‘The Bachelor Vietnam.’
Her last recent tweet was a clip from Japanese Manga “Sailor Moon.” The tweet before that makes me think that she is going through the same struggles of mental exhaustion that she had voiced in her video a year ago.
On Instagram, one would think a beauty guru would do some fantastical makeup and go out on the town. Instead, she posted that she would be spending Halloween close to home, passing out candy with her mom.
Her Instagram story is most likely the most up-to-date on her life, where she will occasionally post what she is up to. It seems as if Michelle is putting most of her energy into her makeup line, EM Cosmetics, the most updated of the social media platforms related to her.
Michelle also seems to be gearing her energy towards a new venture that she launched over the summer at VidCon, according to an article by Tech in Asia
. Thematic allows content creators to use music from up-and-coming artists without being afraid of getting hit with a lawsuit.
“My interests changed… Now I want to spend my time building meaningful tools to help the creator economy,” Phan says.
It’s refreshing to see that although Phan fell out of the public eye time, she has come back seemingly with a new perspective on content and how to support other creators.