YouTube’s original beauty queen Michelle Phan has made a triumphant return to the site by uploading her first video in over two years.
The Boston, Massachusetts-native posted the first makeup-related clip to her feed since 2016, following revelations of her depression battle in 2017, which she detailed in an animated short film.
Michelle, 32, first gained fame on the platform in 2007, but took a hiatus from her channel in recent years. Her latest clip shows a behind-the-scenes look at an ASMR-style advert for the new Morning Dew Crystal Lip Gloss, created by her company Em Cosmetics.
She’s back! Michelle Phan, 32, returned to YouTube with her first beauty-related upload since 2016
Ad: The social media personality teased the launch of a new product, a clear lip gloss, created under her Em Cosmetics line
Authentic: The video appeared different from Michelle’s other uploads, featuring more of a day-in-the-life style clip, with a surprise appearance from her cat
Michelle shared the three-minute clip, titled ‘Hello :)’, with the description ‘I missed you’ accompanied by a crying face emoji.
The video opens with Michelle playing with her cat, before she reveals, ‘Today we’re going to get some work done and shoot with a robot.’
The YouTube personality explains that today she will be ‘shooting Morning Dew’, a newly-unveiled clear lip gloss.
As Michelle poses with Baby’s Breath flowers, the song ‘Don’t think about it too much’ (by Commoninterest) fittingly plays in the background.
The video showcases the lip product being demonstrated on three models, before the robot has its moment in the spotlight.
The machinery is used to shoot close-ups of the product’s wand, applicator and packaging as it rests on a mirror covered in water, while an assistant delicately drops liquid onto the flat surface to create a hypnotic ripple effect.
Hopping on the trend for ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos, which are equal parts relaxing and stimulating, Michelle and her team made sure to capture plenty of alluring close ups of the gloss being swiped onto models’ lips.
Michelle ended the video with an elusive, ‘It took a village to make that. We hope you like it. See you later :)’
Sneak peak: A clip shows Michelle staring in the ad for the new product
Pout: A model showcases the new Em Cosmetics lip product in a behind-the-scenes look at filming the advertising campaign
Mesmerizing: Following on the trend for ASMR videos, the advert showed the clear lip gloss being applied slowly in a variety of ways
Ripples: Michelle said ‘it took a village’ to produce the ad, which at one stage featured the new product on a glass of liquid as an assistant added drops of water to make a ripple effect, right
The upload comes just over two years after the makeup guru opened up about her battle with depression.
In June 2017, she broke her silence on the platform having not posted any clips online since July 2016. (She had also briefly opened up to Racked in April 2017 about her struggles.)
‘Money can bring out the worst in people, and I was no exception,’ she said in the animated explainer video.
‘The taste of success was like a drug, and I couldn’t get enough,’ she said.
‘Once, I was a girl with dreams – who eventually became a product, smiling, selling, and selling. Who I was on camera, and who I was in real life, began to feel like strangers,’ she explained.
‘My insecurities go the worst of me. I became imprisoned by my own vanity, and was never satisfied with how I looked. My life online was picture-perfect, but in reality, I was carefully curating the image of a life I wanted, not had.’
‘You would think, This achievement is great. You should be happy.’
‘But I wasn’t. I was waking up feeling so broken. I didn’t know why,’ she added.
Legendary: Boston-native Michelle, pictured, became a global sensation after uploading her first beauty video to YouTube in 2007
Relaunch: Michelle, pictured, announced she was re-launching Em Cosmetics under her own terms when her venture with L’Oreal failed
Michelle, who was featured on the covers of Nylon and Forbes shortly before her near total-disappearance from the internet, was believed to be worth an estimated $500 million.
In 2013, she debuted her makeup line Em in partnership with L’Oreal, but it was ill-fated due to what customers deemed high price points and it failed in 2015.
In 2016 she brought it back to ‘do it her way’, saying, ‘I’m actually happy that Em didn’t do well, because I’m happy that I own it. It is my makeup brand, it’s not L’Oreal’s makeup brand. It’s not for me; it’s for my viewers who have been there since the beginning.’
In 2017, she relaunched the brand with a streamlined offering of liquid eyeliners and cream lip glosses. Earlier this year, Em Cosmetics launched two brow products – Fine Liner Brow Pencil and Micro-Fluff Sculpting Brow Cream – as well as four shades of the Color Drops Serum Blush.
Michelle, who was Lancome’s first official video makeup artist, is often credited with creating the beauty blogger genre on YouTube after she uploaded a grainy webcam tutorial in 2007.
When her latest upload hit the internet, hundreds of fans and followers rushed to support Michelle.
Support: Hundreds of people flooded Twitter, delighted that ‘The OG beauty guru’ is back
Many users gushed how she was the very reason they got into beauty, while others heralded her return as the ‘end of the toxicity’ referring to numerous high profile spats among YouTube beauty personalities.
On the YouTube clip, over 5,000 people weighed in in less than 24 hours.
‘omg my heart got happy when I realized she posted a new video,’ said one user.
Another stated, ‘Is it weird that I still trust this woman with my life’.
One follower noted how Michelle’s community of 8.8 million subscribers had remained intact, despite her lengthy hiatus.
‘Welcome back girly! I’ve been watching you since I was 11. And now I’m 23. So crazy to think about that,’ one fan wrote.
While Michelle neglected to upload any beauty content, a 24-hour music live-stream has been on her platform since June 2019.
The ’24/7 Magic Hour Radio Chill’ music is a venture with Thematic, an online marketplace that lets musicians license their work with pre-cleared rights to video creators.
Michelle is one of the founders and investors in Thematic.
Well wishers: Michelle showed she still has the power of influence, as thousands of people rushed to welcome her back to the platform