That name is special to hundreds of thousands of us who’ve been watching her journey for years now.
Back in 2011, I only used to watch YouTube for songs I’d been looking for. Soon, somebody recommended her name and I was hooked to Michelle’s charisma. Her soft voice and easy demeanor made me want to watch her videos.
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She was the first one of us who’d made it to YouTube without meaning to. She has a lot to do with my journey without meaning to either.
In 2012, I became at Beauty Writer and Editor at Prevention magazine.
Five years after making a debut, Michelle Phan got bigger and bigger. People started about talking about blogging and YouTube and I too started writing about Beauty too.
I loved how much I was learning at my new job and wanted to share it with the few people who logged on to my website by sheer accident. It was never about numbers for me. At least not at that time.
As I became a better and more responsible beauty writer, Michelle Phan expanded into a beauty subscription box called Ipsy.
Soon it was time.
Time to leave my job that had taught me responsible, content-worthy journalism. It was time to start on my own. I left my job, I left looking for jobs and started blogging in 2014.
In 2015, she’d gotten a million subscribers to her beauty box, Ipsy and about 8 million of us who’d subscribed to her channel.
She’d bagged a deal with L’Oreal to launch her own brand, Em Cosmetics, written a book with Random House and was the head of 500 billion dollar company.
While she worked long hours, she admitted to how she felt lonely and distanced from her family. And after spending all that time thinking about numbers, Em Cosmetics was sold off to another company (now bought back and relaunched!).
She had 9 million fans and felt alone and unhappy.
She put everything on hold and decided to travel and feel grounded in the presence of her family.
I know how spending time away from my phone or daily drama brings a perspective that had been missed. I don’t know the number of trips I made to my sister’s place just because I needed to get away.
Somewhere between wanting to be popular, create good content and help others, I lost my way. 2016 was a turning point: I realised I can’t do all three. In a quest to be popular, I was missing out on being myself–even if that means writing what I’m writing now.
Michelle Phan re-surfaced a few months ago, and hinted at a re-birth of her brand, her work and her personality.
I like her because she launched Em Cosmetics as a brand that is built around re-thinking the concept of beauty.
Her products are more personalized. Her felt-tip and brush eyeliners work as good as art pencils, something so close to Michelle’s heart. She asked her fans and subscribers what they wanted help with, and came up with a lip stain range that offers rich pigments and long stay too.
But there’s something else I liked the most. This time around she’s not doing things for money. At least, not just for money.
And she’s not just doing beauty. She’s staying true to herself.
And in all those years of wanting to pursue art and worrying about making ends meet and years of being a billion dollar success, she found happiness in her comic book, Helios Femina.
So what should we take from this?
Watch the comic strip? Sure.
But also to constantly remind ourselves why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Remember the best of you AND your work comes out when you’re happy doing what you’re doing.
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