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Michelle Phan didn’t start wearing full makeup until age 18, yet less than 10 years later, at age 27, she’s one of the Internet’s foremost authorities on beauty. “I fell in love with the transformed version of myself,” she says, recalling the first time her mother taught her how to wear eyeliner. Today, more than 7 million YouTube subscribers turn to Phan for their own lessons in beauty, from makeup tutorials and how-tos, down to the art of perfecting selfies.
But it’s not just her trend-savvy and user-friendly video content that’s garnered Phan her fan base; she’s also a serious entrepreneur who’s parlayed her expertise and digital know-how into a number of successful partnerships and launches. These include Em, her makeup line collaboration with L’Oreal, and the uber-popular Ipsy, a rapidly growing beauty site and product subscription service that attracts beauty lovers with its low $10-a-month fee and exclusive online content. “We support a lot of mom-and-pop beauty brands, especially those who are just starting out and want to get into the market,” says L.A.-based Phan, who is very hands-on in the product selection process and currently has her eye on up-and-coming brands including Pacifica and Lime Crime. “This is a great way to advertise and to reach over 700,000 people who are beauty fanatics, so you know for sure they are going to use your products. Also, they are very social online. They are taking pictures of it, tweeting about it, using it in their videos, so they get a lot of love.”
Phan is also approaching her latest venture with this same level of passion: a newly announced join venture with Cutting Edge Group called Shift Music Group, designed to use social media to help promote and spread awareness for emerging music artists. “Beauty is art and so is music,” says Phan on how her background ties in with the partnership. “When you think about getting ready in the morning, a lot of people they always have music playing. They get ready to their music; it’s their routine, it’s their ritual. … Beauty plays a huge role in music too because you have to look at the artist. As a musician you have a look — you have a certain look that you really go by, and I really feel like they go hand in hand with each other.” Up first? The Late Night Alumni, a U.S. house group whose music is already making its way into Phan’s beauty videos.
Fresh on the heels of her tour to promote her first book, Make Up: Your Guide to Beauty, Style and Success Online and Off, Phan invited Pret-a-Reporter into her Los Angeles studio to talk playlists, makeup idols and business advice, and to give us her top five makeup tips for making a face last from first business meeting all the way to last call.
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