It’s hard to do your job as a writer when you just want to fill a page with sad-face emoticons, so bear with us as we string these words together: YouTube makeup sensation, and self-proclaimed “Professional Makeup Guru” Talia Castellano has died at the age of 13.
We first met Talia through her YouTube channel in 2012 when she was learning to deal with her double cancer diagnosis (leukemia and neuroblastoma), and finding joy — her middle name, by the way — in her makeup palettes. “Makeup is my wig,” she would say, showing how to bring eyeshadow into the crease, or detailing exactly which shade of MAC a viewer should buy to recreate her look.
Talia was and is an inspiration. Sure, she taught us how to keep our brushes clean, and how to preen like Nikki Minaj (see above), but she also taught us how to strap on a smile in truly the most devastating of situations, to woman up and be cheery in the face of, well, catastrophe. To say that the pocket-sized beauty maven was wise beyond her years is an understatement that flies in the face of everything the lover of neon and glitter believed in. She put her prognosis right out there, explaining that she only had months left to live, to her devoted followers who would have been forgiven for forgetting that Talia was sick at all.
“This is not fair to me anymore,” she said. “I’m only 13. I shouldn’t really have to be doing this. No one should have to do this, not even adults. And it’s really not fair for kids to have cancer and it really freakin’ sucks. It sucks so badly.”
If there’s anything we can profess to know about Talia, it’s that the honorary Cover Girl would not want a world of beauty devotees mourning today. She’d want us to cue up a makeup tutorial and learn how to paint our lids like a sunset. She’d want us to say ‘screw the wig’ (whatever it is we may hide behind), and play around in pots of color. So, dig in. Put your face on, and smile for Talia.
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