August 16, 2012

12-Year-Old Terminally Ill Cancer Patient Gives YouTube Makeup Tutorials

Talia Castellano is a very strong person. She's probably stronger than most. She is twelve years old and for five long years she's been battling neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer. She has repeatedly endured a long list of harsh treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and blood transfusions. Relapse after relapse has brought her on a roller coaster ride that is a continuous test of will and strength. And throughout the process, Talia has chosen to do something very interesting. She's made her struggle public.


Very public. She shares her life online with over one hundred thousand subscribers via her YouTube channel taliajoy18. Talia's channel is as much an inspiration as it is a creative outlet. She uses the channel as a way to give online makeup tutorials. Even at twelve, her skills are finely honed. Her face glows with both makeup and joy as she gives a gift to those seeking advice and hope. She chooses to wear no wig while she records video, allowing the full gravity of her situation to sink in. The point? Her bare head is nowhere near as noticeable as her beautiful face. Viewers understand immediately what the problem is, but Talia is able to keep eyes on her for so many other reasons. A born show woman, her personality, grace and talent shine through in each one of her tutorials. Her videos cover everything from Grammy artist inspired makeup tutorials to showing off makeup hauls from stores like Stilla and Sula.

Talia is quite candid in her videos. If she's not feeling well, she's not afraid to say so. Dealing with her cancer upfront and head on seems to be the approach she's most comfortable with. On August 7th, Talia posted a vlog informing her subscribers and the world that after a battery of tests, she had been diagnosed with pre-leukemia, which simply put is a precursor to the real thing. This leaves her to battle not just one but two kinds of aggressive cancer and though there is treatment for each kind, there is no treatment that works to fight both at the same time. Throughout the video, Talia inadvertently shows her fear, stopping short in one sentence before being forced to use the word "die", while also showing a level of weary acceptance that comes with having traveled down the same long road many times before only to arrive back at the beginning each time. She discloses that she's probably going to opt out of the bone marrow transplant that the doctors tell her could be the one thing that can save her. She assures her viewers that she's weighing her options carefully but lets it be known that she's close to being tired of dealing with the "crap". It is a brutally honest statement that is meant to prepare the viewer, in the nicest of ways for the possible end. In the end, Talia signs off leaving the watcher with the impression that she will be back very soon with more makeup videos and that the vlog was just an update. Her love for her YouTube channel is ever clear and she will no doubt carry on with producing her makeup videos for watchers around the world for as long as possible.

If you're inspired to step up your makeup game, but aren't sure where to find the great supplies and makeup lines that Talia uses, start with a pharmacy or the makeup department at the closest department store. Shopping online is also a great place to find what you're looking for, often all in once place. You can watch how-to videos, find tips and tricks and download makeup coupons from Sephora and more at

(Guest Post by Carol)

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