‘Epic’ is a word that gets thrown around online, and certainly YouTube isn’t shy about the term. But getting prominent placement in an annual YouTube Rewind video should count as an epic accomplishment, especially for a celebrity like Michelle Phan who bases her fame capital on the metrics of the web.
In its “YouTube Rewind: Turn Down for 2014” video, YouTube included Phan, famous for her web tutorials on applying make-up, in multiple scenes, most prominently in a montage of web celebs like PewtiePie and the Fine Bros. getting doused in an homage to the Ice Bucket Challenge; Phan manages to be the only one to avoid the fashion faux pas on having ice water make your mascara run.
In a behind-the-scenes video released by YouTube, Phan gets more camera time describing the excitement surrounding the now-annual Rewind production. “It’s like a fun way to bring everybody together,” Phan says at the start of the documentary extra, “like a mini-reunion.”
YouTube has been pulling together Rewind videos every year since 2010, but this is the first time Phan has been featured. Phan, who started making YouTube videos while she was still studying at Ringling College and editing them with a school-issued laptop computer, has worked professionally with YouTube for years, becoming one of the first videographers to ink a deal with Google after the tech giant bought the video service. In addition to continuing her make-up videos, Phan has since launched FAWN (For All Women Network), and now sees the doors to new kinds of content delivery being opened by streaming outlets. Phan today has 7.2 million YouTube subscribers.
She also spoke this May at Ringling’s commencement, as well as at a student event. In town, she spoke with SRQ Media Group about the potential of video on the web, stressing that distribution channels are evolving dramatically.