YouTube superstar Michelle Phan has built an empire following the success of her wildly-popular makeup tutorials on the video sharing site.
After becoming a Lancôme brand ambassador, the 28-year-old founded the makeup subscription service ipsy, launched her own makeup collection, wrote a comic book, and most recently founded the ICON Network. Not to mention, she operated the Open Studios space in El Lay where she mentors other content creators.
However, in a new interview with Nylonmag, the entrepreneur reveals she didn't have the easiest time fitting in with her peers, and often was the subject of bullying from the time she was in first grade all the way through college.
Miz Phan opens up about being one of the few Asian students at her school growing up in Tampa:
"I would walk down the hallway, and they would yell, 'Ching Chong, Ching Chong!' It made me insecure about my nationality and race. It was really hurtful. I eventually realized that they were just words, and that I could go into my happy place in my head and occupy my thoughts with my passions, like drawing and creating."
The beauty mogul remembers experimenting with her style throughout her upbringing. The mag writes:
"To try to fit in, Phan would ask African-American girls to braid her hair in cornrows. Her Latina friends would encourage her to put baby oil in her locks. Sometimes she would try to make herself look more Caucasian by dressing preppy and attempting to make her eyes look rounder."
"I didn't really have a defined style. I didn't know what my culture or aesthetic was, so I would cosplay to feel part of theirs. I was hiding the true me."
Even at the Ringling College of Art and Design, Phan's classmates would make fun of her for dressing up for class:
"I was taught to dress nice, to show everyone around you that you care. I was brought up that way. Even though we had no money, my mother believed in looking good. I guess in art school, it was cool to look broke. If you dressed up, you were trying too hard. But when you come from nothing, it's the last thing you want to look like."
Ummm. Dress for success, y'all!!
The beauty shares another memory from a college party when a girl played one of her makeup tutorial videos to mock her then-hobby:
"I thought by then I could get away from it. They were all laughing at me as I put concealer around my eyes in the video. They kept making references to Silence of the Lambs. I was so hurt I left the party in tears and told myself I would never go back. I guess I was a homebody at heart. I liked being in my cave, in my own world. I felt safer that way."
Ugh! Little did they know!!
Joke's on them.
She remains positive though, and credits her hardships for her success:
"Sometimes you have to suffer to learn something. I became a stronger person because of it. I accept what the universe gives me, even if it's bad. I will turn it into something else. I always do."