Based on the comments we’ve received on fellow VTP writer Sarah Bui’s last Michelle Phan post, it seems like the YouTube make-up guru is a pretty polarizing figure within the community. Some love her, some hate her, some admire her for her talent but question her taste. Whether or not you call yourself a Phan fan though, it’s hard to deny her incredible media presence. With over a million subscribers, Phan recently edged out parody producer VenetianPrincess as the top subscribed female YouTuber.
Following her newfound no.1 status, Phan’s taken the opportunity to work in a philanthropic message in her latest video, wherein she discusses her Vietnamese origins, the values her mother instilled in her as a child, and her current efforts to help end malaria.
The link in her tweet forwards you to Phan’s recent blog on the Huffington Post, where she wrote:
Growing up as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, I am well aware of the adverse effects malaria can have on a nation. I will be visiting Vietnam for the first time this month, and while I do not know what to expect on my trip, I know that Vietnam is an under-developed country home to millions of beautiful people that do not enjoy the same medical care that we do here in the United States. While I am honored to be a Vietnamese-American, I still feel a very strong connection to my roots and to my family that I have never met. As my audience on Youtube has grown, so has the responsibility to use my network to create positive messages of self-beauty, and to raise awareness for causes such as the fight to #endmalaria.
I suspect some anti-Phan extremists will find a way to warp this into another Michelle Phan antic, while fans will continue subscribing to her in spite of it all, but I think, as long as she’s not marring the cause against Malaria, at least she can use her celebrity status to raise awareness for a cause that desperately needs international attention. Many of us in the Western world probably take it for granted that we can go to bed at night without fear of waking up infected the next morning.
As the World Health Organization points out, 243 million people were afflicted with malaria in 2008, and 10% of those afflictions were concentrated in Southeast Asia. Vietnam in particular has done well to reduce malaria affliction by 85% in the last ten years–from 383,000 in 1998 to 60,400 in 2008–but outbreaks still threaten the country. Just last April, Vietnamese News Agency reported a malaria epidemic that swept through 15 provinces in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
So while many netizens will continue to disagree on Michelle Phan’s character, let’s not let that dissension overshadow the real point Phan’s trying to drive at–that Malaria is still a crippling force in the 21st century, but that something as simple as a treated mosquito net can help ameliorate the situation.
There’s a lot you can do to help end malaria. Check out Malaria No More or WorldVision’s End Malaria Campaign if you’d like to help out. And if there’s more information that you think VTP should know, please do contact us.
Revision: It looks like Michelle Phan did not end up going to Vietnam this year as she stated. When Twitter user TiffanysBlueBox tweeted, “@RiceBunny what happened to going to vietnam?” on November 22, Phan responded, ” Couldn’t make it on this trip because of Thanksgiving. I’ll be going next year =)”