YouTube Star Michelle Phan: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Her

From growing up on food stamps to building a nearly $100 million empire.

ByABC News
March 19, 2015, 12:18 PM

— -- She went from growing up on food stamps to building a nearly $100 million empire. And it all started on YouTube.

Michelle Phan, 27, is an American woman we can all admire. She is the first woman to reach one billion views on Youtube. She now has nearly 8 million followers.

Her "how to" makeup videos have become so successful, she's parlayed their popularity into her own L'oreal makeup line, co-founded the company ipsy and a book, "Make Up: Your Life Guide To Beauty, Style, and Success - Online and Off."

Now she’s on a mission to do so much more than teach young girls how to wear makeup. She wants to educate women on how to become their own entrepreneur and mentor any young creators who want to follow in her footsteps.

In an interview with Rebecca Jarvis ABC’s chief business and economics correspondent Phan announced she is in the process of launching 2 new apps, one so her fans can follow her life and another is a video and photo editing app.

"I really believe in giving tools and resources to other creators so that they can create beautiful videos,” Phan explained.

Phan also announced on Real Biz she plans to give back to young artists by building an 8,000-square-foot production studio where creators can bring their art to life.

"I’m calling it Open Studios – OS,” Phan explained. “There’s going to be cameras and sets built out there so that any creator whether you’re on Instagram or YouTube or Vine, we don’t care where you’re from, if you have a great idea, you have an amazing aesthetic when it comes to beauty, you can come and shoot, take photographs and create content. We’re providing the resources,” she added.

Her millions of fans want to know, just where does this 27 year old get her inspiration. In an interview with ABC News she gave a look into her life growing up as a Vietnamese-American teen in Tampa, Florida, and revealed her mother’s true story of chasing the America dream.

Michelle Phan is seen with her mother in an undated handout photo.

"I get it from my mother,” she explained. “She was an immigrant when she came here to America, she had a great education when she was in Vietnam, but after the war, the entire country was devastated. So she came out here and didn’t know how to speak English, had less than $20 in her pocket. For the rest of her life she had to become a beautician and do nails.

Phan says she was inspired how her mother was able to empower women doing their brows and doing their nails and giving them their pedicure. But her mother always told her she wanted her daughter to “have more potential than her."

Michelle Phan is pictured with her family in an undated family photo.

Rebecca Jarvis wanted to get to know the woman who’s liked by more than 3 million people on Facebook and has over 7.5 million fans on YouTube. So Jarvis did a round of Real Biz Rapid Fire.

Here Are 7 Secrets You Don’t Know About Michelle Phan.

1. One Piece of Makeup Michelle Phan Can’t Live Without?


2. Last Thing Michelle Phan Bought Online?

A telescope. “It’s for this blood moon that’s coming out soon. I wanted to view it and take pictures of it. Total nerd on my part,” said Phan.

3. First Thing Michelle Phan Bought When She Became the Michelle Phan that Everybody Knows. The big YouTube Celebrity.

“I got an apartment for my family, so they can move out of this one-room, that they were renting out of a family.”

4. How Much Sleep Does Michelle Phan Get Managing All of Her Empire?

5 hours a day. “But hopefully with my growing team I can bump that up to 6 hours, that’d be nice,” Phan added.

5. Michelle Phan’s Biggest Money Fail to Date?

KickStarter Documentary

Phan explains that she is pretty good at managing her money. But she loves helping out fellow creators and was inspired by physicist Nassim Haramein’s documentary. “He was able to crack Einstein’s theory of relativity. He uncovered this beautiful pattern in life, that is mathematic and also artistically beautiful.” She explains, “He bridges everything together so that a 6 years old child can watch his lecture and actually understand what he’s talking about.”

“I spent 20,000 dollars on this one documentary cause I really believed in it. I don’t think it was a fail, but I haven’t seen it yet. And I haven’t heard back from them, so…we’ll see,” Phan added.

6. Number One Piece of Advice to People Who Want To Follow in Michelle Phan’s Footsteps?

“I always say good luck because my followers, they are in control of their destiny and they can create their own luck,” Phan said.

7. What Does Michelle Phan Do for Fun When She’s Not Running Her Beauty Empire?

“I’m a total nerd, so I’m on my telescope or I read a lot. I’m very inspired by ancient history.”

“Honestly, what I have the most fun with, I just hang out with my cat and I go online and I talk to my followers and I have real conversations with them,” She added.