The digital beauty and fashion pioneer, who has a legion of 7.5 million YouTube subscribers (and growing), is building an empire. In addition to her own company, ipsy, Michelle also recently partnered with Endemol Beyond USA to launch new premium lifestyle network ICON.
We caught up with Michelle at the ICON Creator Summit Tuesday in Los Angeles, to dish about all things ICON, her top tips for becoming a successful digital creator and what #BUILTBYGIRLS means to her.
"BuiltByGirls is a very empowering phrase," she told us. "It definitely shows that we're progressing as a society. That women have the opportunity to build anything – content, businesses, a family...it's so much more than just that. It's so exciting to see that as a humanity we are progressing and we're giving this power back to women and rebalancing it again which I think is really important."
Considering how Michelle has become such an influence and leader in the digital space, we were dying to know her top tip for becoming a YouTube star (or even mildly successful).
"You have to be self determined" she said. "Because you are your own one man or one woman studio. You're shooting yourself, you're producing it, you're writing it out, you're starring in it, you have to publish it and then you have to be your own PR. So, you are essentially your own entrepreneur. You're running your own business."
"That being said, any entrepreneur, any boss, any leader, you have to be very, very determined," she continued. "The internet is a shop that opens 24/7 every single day. It doesn't close shop. So, when you have this beast that needs content and you're not determined to feed it, it's going to be really hard for you to maintain it. So, that's my first tip, just having determination and having that discipline and drive."
Michelle also wants aspiring creators to know there is no such thing as right and wrong when it comes to creating digital content. "That's what I realized being online and creating content for so long," she said when we asked about the biggest lesson she's learned so far.
"I used to think the world was so black and white, but after seeing so many comments from people around the world with different perspectives, it gave me a much more rounded perspective on life," she continued. "There isn't such a thing as that one authoritative voice because anyone can be an authority in their own voice. I learned that I really am a unique person that can tell my own story and so is everyone else."
"Every person in this world has something to share and there is something remarkable about that. My dream is to hear more of these stories and connect more people together and maybe one day that can unify people instead of dividing us."
With the help of ICON, Michelle is hoping to achieve that. The company has been recruiting YouTube stars to create content for their network, like natural hair and beauty YouTube star Alba Ramos (SunKissAlba) and Irish lifestyle YouTube star Melanie Murphy.
As far as how to get noticed by Icon, Endemol Beyond USA Vice President of Programming Leslie Morgan told us the best way is to be yourself and be authentic. "Don't try to be something that you're not, because that will make us like 'what are you doing? Why are you acting this way?' and really be honest and true to what you want to do," she said. "So, if your passion is fashion, go for it. If your passion is cooking, travel, etc. go for that passion and just be who you are and be authentic."
To be who you are, go after your passion and never let anyone deter you from your dreams were all take home points from the summit, which brought together the network's creators for two days of growth and education. We only got a glimpse of it, but certainly left inspired.
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