The illustrious Michelle Phan (@RiceBunny), online sensation and Lancôme’s official video makeup artist, has a million Facebook fans, over 200,000 Twitter followers, and nearly half a billion views on YouTube. On her first trip to Canada, her fans were in full force, waiting hours in line at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall for a chance to snap her picture and snag an autograph.
A few hours before, we were lucky enough to meet Michelle at the glam L’Oréal Academy. She emerged from a pair of wide double doors, smartphone in hand, wearing a Mary Katrantzou-esque Zara dress and bright orange T-strap heels. It’s easy to see why she’s become such a star. In person, the 25-year-old is poised, well spoken, and her voice is as gracious and soothing as in one of her videos.
Though Michelle has been creating makeup tutorial videos for Lancôme since 2010, she started working on her own videos in 2007, before Twitter, Instagram and the iPhone. “The online space moves so quickly. 2007? That’s like 20 years ago,” she says. “Smartphones have really changed the way people consume and share content.” (Throughout the day, Michelle busily updated her status, shared photos and responded to tweets from her followers.)
With the rise of social media, Michelle has also been able to reach people that she never could have before. Recently, the Make A Wish Foundation approached Michelle about meeting with Ashlynn, a young cancer patient. “It made me cry,” she says. “It’s overwhelming to think that someone wants to spend time with you like that.” Together, they made a makeup video inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
Along with her many tutorials, Michelle has a new jewellery line, Ever Eden, which is segmented into chapters. The first chapter is inspired by Joan of Arc, but the next, out in November, will take a more delicate approach. Instead of edgy, armour-inspired accessories, she wants something “glittery. Something with gems. Just more romantic and beautiful.”
Always looking ahead, Michelle hopes to direct a fantasy period film one day. “That’s my dream,” she says. “I’m such a storyteller.” She’s already in talks about a project, but is in no rush. “I have my hands busy with so many different things, so I can put that on the back burner for when I’m an older woman.” We can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with!
Beauty Talk with Michelle Phan:
I never leave the house without… redefining my brows. Even if I’m checking my mail. People ask that question: If you were stuck on an island… First, I’d rather have a GPS cell phone. But for a makeup product, it would have to be a brow pencil.
One of the best products is… [Lancôme] Bi-Facil. You know it’s good if it can remove gold leaf on your face.
For fall, I’m excited about… the velvet texture trend, because it’s so luxurious. Whether it’s velvety-looking nails or a really matte and smooth and soft face. I’m also going to be doing a tutorial about lace—putting it on your nails. I see viewers sending me things they like, and I think lace is going to be big.
My favourite item from Lancôme’s upcoming fall collection, Midnight Rose, is… the eyeshadow and brow palette. It comes with tweezers, too. I want to take this home with me. I don’t think they’re launching it in the States. [The collection launches in Canada mid-September.]