8 Bits of Life Wisdom From Beauty Guru Michelle Phan

UPDATED: May 27, 2024
PUBLISHED: April 19, 2017

“In Vietnamese, em is a term of affection meaning ‘little sister,’ ‘girlfriend’ or ‘sweetheart.’

“I don’t want to give any expectations. When I announced [in 2013] that I was launching the brand with a major makeup brand, I think there was too much expectation. That was the problem.

“I’m the type of person who is not into hype at all. So from the get-go, it wasn’t really authentic and genuine. Coming forward now with the rebirth, it’s going to be 100 percent me, and it’s going to feel like me. People will know this was the brand they were waiting for, and that’s what they can expect.”

Related: How Michelle Phan Built a $500 Million Beauty Empire


“Happiness today is just having peace. Having peace with myself and having peace with others because you can go home at night and you can sleep without having to worry that maybe you screwed someone over, or maybe a business you’re doing is not ethical.”

Wealth and Fame

“People would tell me, Michelle, you could be the next Oprah, be a billionaire, become big. I look at all of these celebrities and wealthy actors and actresses who have become rich; many of them end up just getting into drugs. They have to find other methods to fill the void. I don’t want to have all this excess. In the name of what? I’d rather find happiness through knowledge.”


“If you say no to one opportunity, another one will come along. You can’t see opportunity as a scarce thing.”

The YouEconomy

“People are wanting to free themselves from the nine-to-five, from the infrastructure that’s been set in place for so long. Imagine the possibility of enlightening someone who can disrupt agriculture and this person becomes an influencer, and they start teaching people how to grow the best strawberries at home using aquaponics that you can build by going to a local home improvement store. The possibilities are endless and we’re just at the forefront.”


“You have to ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing. If you’re just doing it to make money, you’re going to burn out really fast, and that’s what I tell every single entrepreneur. If it’s just to make the bottom line, find an exit, forget it, because you’re probably going to be beat by someone who’s hungrier than you, who has more passion than you.”


“If you’re easily influenced by everyone around you, find some time to be alone. Be comfortable in your own space with your own mind, because you get so much clarity when you’re not influenced by so many different people telling you this and that.”

Staying Grounded

“I give away everything. I get a lot of free makeup and clothes sent to me. I just give it away. I don’t keep anything. I’ll wear it, I’ll take a picture and tag the designer but then I’ll give it away. I don’t need it because I’m the type of person who doesn’t need anything. I’m OK having very little. Living large is really a perception. It’s just something that was engineered for us to perceive that this is what happiness really is.”

Related: 4 Inspirational Michelle Phan Videos That Will Push You to Dream Bigger


This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.