Do you remember Michelle Phan? Before James Charles, Patrick Starr, and Huda Kattan, Phan was the original YouTube beauty influencer. While she may not have created the makeup tutorial, she certainly paved the way — with her video formats and friendly personality — for many other vloggers to make it big and monetize. Phan, along with a handful of others, is where influencer culture began — until it transformed through the hyperfiltered hallways of Instagram, and then TikTok gave way to VSCO girl, Egirl, and Softgirl subcultures.
Influencer culture has also led the way for Snapchat filters and facetuning apps, which have given us a warped, unattainable new beauty ideal. The world of hyperfiltered beauty is both dangerous and awe-inspiring, but digital perfection took a whole new form when computer-generated models, like Shudu, and influencers, like Lil Miquela, entered the race for likes.