Makeup Guru and YouTube star Michelle Phan has become a legend in the digital industry — proving how young the Internet age has allowed stars to be. When many of us were graduating high school, Michelle Phan was starting to put her beauty tutorials out on YouTube. When many of of us were graduating college, Michelle Phan was signing with Lancôme to be their exclusive video makeup artist.
This beauty guru changed the face of the web, producing the most incredible makeup tutorials online that range from mastering the basic smokey eye to recreating Game of Thrones characters in your living room. She’s now delved into her own cosmetics line that boasts products like “the life palette” whose categories include “love life” and “career life” — in other words, covering all of one’s basic beauty needs.
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The best part? Phan’s a foodie at heart, as well as one of the sweetest, charming subjects we’ve had the pleasure of shooting. Also, she really bonded with our TNP mascot Scout (the Australian shepherd). We’re wondering when she’ll be doing that makeup tutorial?
TNP: What would be your ideal food day?
Michelle Phan: "Vietnamese Coffee (cà phê đá). Breakfast — A Vietnamese sizzling omelette (Bánh Xèo). Lunch — A mean Vietnamese sandwich (Bánh Mi). Dinner — A hearty bowl of Chicken pho (Pho Ga) loaded with half a bottle of Sriracha sauce (half kidding). I like my food spicy!"
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TNP: What’s your drink?
"Green tea everyday."
TNP: What’s the beauty routine you do every morning?
"I clean my face with a wet cotton pad (I don’t use cleanser in the morning). After, I always use sunscreen (at least SPF 35) before using serums, moisturizers, and makeup."
TNP: Ever snack while You-Tubing? What do you snack on?
"Seasoned seaweed. My favorite is from Korea and it’s called Gim."
TNP: What’s a favorite childhood recipe that you grew up with?
"Grilled cheese. I would place a pat of butter on the pan and melt it, and toss a toasted slice of bread on it to soak in the butter (healthy, right?). Afterwards, turning the heat down a bit, I’d use slices of Kraft cheese to slowly melt the cheddar and top it off with the other toasted slice and voila! My favorite childhood snack!"
TNP: What beauty products won’t you travel without?
"Concealer. Unless I’m going on set for a zombie video."
TNP: What products are always inside your bathroom mirror?
"I like to hide my secrets behind my mirror. Kidding. Cotton swabs, nail clippers, and all my essentials that I don’t want to misplace."
"The new thing in beauty? The bigger the brow, the better the look. Big brows are back. I know people have been saying that for the past ten years, but in all seriousness, it’s the real deal. Big brows are truly back and they’re taking the fashion world by storm. I feel bad for the tweezer industry."
TNP: The character you haven’t re-created yet through makeup that you’d still like to?
"Brandon Lee as Eric Draven [from the film The Crow]. What a sick look. My hero is Bruce Lee, so I would love to one day recreate this look to pay homage to him."
TNP: Your other “must-sees” besides your own videos?
"Adventure Time. It’s one of my favorite cartoon shows. It doesn’t feel like a kids show. What I like about the series is that it has a very dark, meaningful underlying theme that reflects how we live our lives. It’s a kids show that makes you think."
TNP: How has the web changed since you launched?
"The fact that now my mother has an Instagram and she can follow and like my photos, how cool is that? The web is no longer the wild wild west. It’s a developed ecosystem that has changed the world forever."
TNP: What are your vices?
"I’m impatient. I can’t sit still and wait. I always have to get things done and move. That’s why my boyfriend is my yang. He slows me down. A balanced life is a happy life."
TNP: What are five things you’re loving right now?
"Beanies to conceal a bad hair day, my new car (the Range Rover Evoque), TSA pre-check line, my Unicorn slippers (they make my feet feel magical) and my mom. She’s the coolest."
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TNP: What are your favorite cities for food? Where do you go to in each?
"Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, New York, Los Angeles, and now San Francisco. [I go to] Japan for the best sushi and ramen, Thailand for the best (and cheapest) grilled seafood, Vietnam for the best coffee, New York for my favorite six dollar chicken and rice on 53rd and 6th, Los Angeles for the best authentic Southern Italian food I’ve ever had (and I’ve been to Italy) at Clusi Batusi, and San Francisco for the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market (look for their salmon lox)."
TNP: If you could host a dinner party, with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would you cook (or order in)?
"Pot luck style! I’d invite my mother, because she makes the bomb-dot-com pho, Joan of Arc (maybe she can bring some French baguette), Jiro Yoshino (he’ll bring the best sushi, hands down), Banksy (he can bring art — we don’t need to eat it but it can be a nice center piece for the table) and last but not least, Jesus, because I know he’ll bring the best wine — and if we run out I’ll just bring a jug of water!"