Family, friends and admirers are mourning the loss of Talia Castellano, the luminous, cancer-stricken 13-year-old who became an honorary CoverGirl after inspiring hundreds of thousands of people with her YouTube makeup tutorials.
On Tuesday, fellow CoverGirl Ellen DeGeneres shared the news that Talia, who battled neuroblastoma for six years, had passed away, and a post on Talia's Facebook page read: "God speed little one, may you be free from pain and suffering, may your soul feel the light and love that you brought to so many of us on this Earth during the short time you were here with us."
As those who love Talia celebrate her memory and vivacious spirit, we look back at a brief, but bright life that provided a shining light to so many.
• She's the First and Only Honorary CoverGirl: After racking up an impressive following on her YouTube page, Talia was invited by Ellen DeGeneres to be a guest on her show in September 2013. There, the budding makeup artist got a major surprise when DeGeneres revealed that Talia had been named an honorary CoverGirl. The host then unveiled Talia's very own campaign photo, and the cosmetics giant presented her with an array of makeup products, a makeup table...and a check for $20,000.
• She Was as Prolific as She Was Loved: In a span of a year, Talia posted almost 200 YouTube videos, most of them gamely sharing makeup tips and tricks she picked up, along with reviews of beauty products like makeup brushes and mascaras. Talia clearly clicked with her fan base: She racked up 750,000 subscribers, and her clips garnered more than 15 million views.
• She Was Quite the Fashion Risk-Taker: Even at her young age, Talia had no qualms about pushing the fashion envelope. Her entertaining videos included tutorials on how to make "fire eyes," "pink candy cane eyes," "galaxy smoky eye," "ice princess" and "dramatic Ke$ha smoky eye."
• Beauty Was in Her DNA: Talia was the daughter of an esthetician—something that the teen acknowledged led to her love of cosmetics. "My mom's an esthetician, so growing up, beauty has always been in the house," she once said. YouTube happened to provide the perfect outlet for her boundless creative energy. "Finding the guru community on YouTube was huge for me—I decided to start making videos because it looked like they were having so much fun." Indeed, as her videos will attest, Talia had lots and lots of that.
• She Openly Shared Her Health Struggles: Although the bulk of her videos focused on makeup, Talia didn't shy away from discussing her cancer battle: She also used her YouTube page as a forum for what she called her "CancerVlog." In her last entry, which was dated May 22, she spoke candidly about her hospitalization. "I've been in the hospital for the past four weeks, and it's been very dreadful," she said with characteristic honesty and directness, as she touched on the "anxiety" and "pain" that she was experiencing. Still, her spirit never wavered: She vowed to upload more makeup videos despite her waning health. "Hopefully I'll try to film some tutorials for you guys," she said.