Michelle Phan in Egypt.
With nearly 9 million subscribers, YouTube star Michelle Phan suddenly stopped posting to her beauty channel without any explanation. Some fans literally thought she was dead. After seven months of travel, she returned to social media with a fresh perspective.
In an interview with Refinery 29, Michelle Phan opens up about depression. She says she was not medically diagnosed, but had all the symptoms. She would take several online quizzes, and they would all point to depression.
At the beginning of 2016, Phan landed on the covers of Forbes and Nylon, being praised for her success both online and offline.
You would think she would be happy and pleased with these achievements, but she was not. Of her dual covers, she muses: “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.”
At first Phan tried to use weekends to unplug and escape, but then made the decision to drop everything and travel. "I decided to pack my life into a small suitcase, and I literally just left," she said. "I bought a one-way ticket to Switzerland. I even had contracts where my team still needed me. But I had to go."
Her seven month getaway also took her to China, Egypt, and Amsterdam. For her fans, the spontaneous disappearance and seven months of silence were confusing. “People literally thought I had died,” she says. “But I just needed a break. It was a way to show my followers that even someone like me needs a break; the pressure of being ‘on’ all the time is not realistic.”
Phan is now focused on relaunching her failed beauty line EM Cosmetics concentrating on quality rather than quantity.
Phan’s experience is a real life example about the power of travel. Sometimes getting out of your daily routine, stepping out of your comfort zone and into new experiences abroad is all you need to reboot.
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