Internet Phenom Michelle Phan Receives Honorary Doctorate from Ringling College

    Pin it!

    Internet Phenom Michelle Phan Receives Honorary Doctorate from Ringling College

    March 24, 2014 - Artist, successful businesswoman, internet sensation and self-described “artrepreneur” Michelle Phan now has one more accolade to add to her resume: an Honorary Doctorate of Arts in the Business of Art & Design from Ringling College of Art and Design. 

    The 26-year-old has had a life-long passion for cosmetics. While a student at Ringling College, Michelle experimented with makeup, treating her face as a living canvas as she honed her skills as an artist. As Michelle studied portrait painting and the effect of light and color on the face, she was discovering how to translate this knowledge into the art of makeup. She chronicled the process on her personal blog and began uploading tutorial videos on YouTube.

    “Makeup IS art—the only difference is it’s on a moving canvas that constantly changes throughout the day,” explains Michelle. “It’s an extension of our self-expression, and a powerful tool that shapes how we see ourselves.”

    That passion struck an immediate chord in others, as Michelle’s online tutorials – which she began to make in her Ringling College dorm room – soon went viral and she began to amass a large following. She has since become the second-most viewed female on YouTube, with more than 700 million views and 6 million+ subscribers. She was named an official online makeup artist by Lancome and was profiled in the likes of Teen VogueVanity Fair, and Forbes.  

    Her business that took off while she was still at Ringling, and in 2012 she launched a multi-channel network on YouTube, as well as, an interactive online community where beauty devotees can network, try new products, and watch and upload beauty tutorials. Her biggest achievement came in 2013 with the launch of em Michelle Phan, a full cosmetics line produced in conjunction with L’Oreal.  

    “We are very proud of Michelle’s accomplishments and how she has made her artistic talent and passion into a thriving enterprise,” says Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art and Design. “Her success is an inspiration to all of us in the Ringling College community. Artists and creatives who can create, adapt, evolve, and achieve in an ever-changing world exemplify what we hope to instill in every Ringling College student.” 

    Ringling College is passionate about creativity and its role in the future economy. In fact, the College’s goal is to “shatter the myth of the starving artist.” As evidence of this, Ringling launched the Business of Art & Design major in 2008 — a business degree program infused with studio-based art and design practice.  The program was the first of its kind in the nation. Michelle Phan’s tremendous success in mixing art and design with entrepreneurism epitomizes the essence of that program and is the reason why she was selected to receive an Honorary Degree.  

    The degree was conferred during Ringling College’s Commencement ceremony on May 9, 2014. For more information please contact the Office of the President at 941.309.6106 or via email to 

    Keep posted with Michelle Phan on her various social media channels: