Michelle Phan. Photo: Emilynn Rose
Everyone thought Michelle Phan had died. After ten years, 385 videos, and over a billion views, YouTube’s biggest beauty star disappeared abruptly in 2015, leaving her Twitter, Instagram, and video channels silent. Phan arguably invented the entire genre of YouTube beauty. If you’ve ever fallen asleep to the calming tones of a beauty tutorial or learned how to contour from a video, it’s because of her. And now she was gone.
The 9 million people who made up her subscriber base mourned the loss in the digital equivalent of a candlelight vigil. “I’ve been watching you since I was 14,” lamented one commenter, “and I really miss you! Feels like you were my best friend and now I have no idea what you’re up to.” More worryingly, Phan also disappeared in real life. Initially, not even colleagues at her two beauty companies, Ipsy and Em Cosmetics, knew where she’d gone. In 2017, she posted a video called “Why I Left,” reassuring fans that she was thriving offline, but it seemed like her time as an influencer was over.
“Why I Left,” an 11-minute opus, remains Phan’s biggest video. Published on June 1, 2017, it’s a self-illustrated cartoon film explaining her absence and how her life had changed since she went from working at her mother’s nail salon to the cover of Forbes. In the film, Phan’s mother tells her, “You’ll be poor if you’re like me. Become successful, like a doctor.” But success didn’t mean that Phan was happy: “Once, I was a girl with dreams who eventually became a product, selling, smiling, and selling … Somewhere along the journey I lost myself.” As of this writing, the video has 13 million views. You could say that Phan’s almost as famous for leaving the Internet as she is for making a career on it.
And then suddenly, last week, she reappeared. On Tuesday, she posted her third video in two years. It was titled “Hello :)” and consisted of approximately 30 seconds of footage of her cat, followed by another three minutes about the making of an ad for Em Cosmetics lip gloss — hardly the kind of tutorial fans were used to. Still, soon after it appeared, Phan’s name started trending again on Twitter. “I wasn’t even planning on dropping a new video, but yesterday moon was in Aries and I was feeling spontaneous as hell. Anyways. Hi!” she tweeted.
For a digitally deceased person, Phan looks very glowy in the flesh. We’re sitting together at a conference room at her PR agency’s office, picking at egg tarts. Her makeup is remarkably minimal — no foundation (she hasn’t worn it in two years), two slim lines of eyeliner — which surprises me, since I’ve watched her use beauty products to transform herself into Daenerys Targaryen. (Four million other people, by the way, also watched that video.) While many beauty YouTubers narrate their videos with the upspeak tones of your most excitable friend, with lots of “likes” and “Oh My Gods,” Phan’s voice still has the same zen, measured tone that gave her videos a knowledgeable-older-sister quality.
Of her recent return to YouTube, she says, “As a creator, I’m always filming and documenting the world around me. I film a lot of personal vlogs for myself that I never share, but I decided to post this one for fun. After two years of reflecting and recharging, it felt like a good time to create and share again.”
But she has no interest in going back to the old days. “I missed out on a lot,” Phan says matter-of-factly. She traveled constantly, but doesn’t remember half of it. “I was burnt out. I was just tired. I accomplished everything I could ever want — even more so! I didn’t come onto YouTube to become a star. But I believed I was the shit, when I’m just another drop in the bucket in this existence.” Part of what she’d accomplished was money; in 2018, Ipsy, a beauty subscription service, was valued at $500 million, while her channel earned $60,000 a month at its peak.
Read the full article on The Cut.
Michelle Phan 怎么了? (The Cut)
每个人都以为 Michelle Phan 已经死了。十年，共有 385 个视频，观看次数超过 10 亿，YouTube 上最大
的美妆博主在 2015 年突然消失了，而她的 Twitter，Instagram 和视频频道都保持沉默。Phan 可以说发
明了 YouTube 美妆。如果你曾经伴随着美妆教程的柔和音色睡着过，或者从视频中学过如何修容，那都是
组成订户基础的 900 万人以数字形式的烛光守夜哀悼了这一损失。一条评论感叹：“我从 14 岁起就一直
Phan 在现实生活中也消失了。最初，她的两家美容公司 Ipsy 和 Em Cosmetics 的同事甚至都不知道她去
了哪里。在 2017 年，她发布了一个名为“我为什么离开”的视频，向粉丝们保证她正在线下发展，但似
这个长达 11 分钟的“我为什么离开”的视频现在仍然是 Phan 最热的视频。这是一部自我说明的卡通电
影，于 2017 年 6 月 1 日发布，解释了她的缺席以及从她在母亲的美甲沙龙工作到登上《福布斯》封面后
但是成功并不意味着 Phan 很快乐：“曾经，我是一个有梦想的女孩，最终成为一件产品，销售，微笑又
销售……在旅途中的某个地方，我迷失了自己。”截至撰写本文时，该视频的观看次数为 1300 万。你可以
然后突然，上周，她又出现了。周二，她发布了两年来的第三个视频。它的标题是“ Hello :)”，由大约 30
秒的猫的镜头组成，接着是 3 分钟的 Em Cosmetics 唇彩制作的广告，这可能并不是粉迷们熟悉的。尽管
如此，Phan 的名字在出现后不久就开始在 Twitter 上重新流行。 “我甚至没有打算发一个新视频，但昨
看过她使用美容产品将自己变成 Daenerys Targaryen。（顺便说一句，还有四百万其他人也观看了该视频。）
尽管许多美妆 YouTubers 都用你最激动的朋友的语气来讲述他们的视频，并带有很多“likes”和“Oh My
Gods”，但 Phan 的声音仍然有相同的禅宗音调给她的视频带来了知识渊博的知心姐姐气质。
在最近返回 YouTube 时，她说：“作为创作者，我一直在拍摄和记录周围的世界。我为自己拍摄了许多我
但是她对回到过去毫无兴趣。 “我错失了很多，” Phan 说。她经常旅行，但有一半都不记得了。 “我
燃烧殆尽了。我只是累了。我完成了我所想要的一切-甚至更多！我来 YouTube 不是为了明星。但是我相
信我不会是一无是处。”在 2018 年，美妆订阅服务 Ipsy 的估值为 5 亿美元，而她的频道在巅峰时期每月
赚了 6 万美元。
Read the full article on The Cut.