Meet Talia Joy Castellano, a spunky, smart and lovable 12-year-old who applies eye shadow masterfully and artistically, as if her lids were an empty canvas.
Castellano is the star of a YouTube series offering tutorials on makeup application and her helpful tips and bubbly personality have earned her channel, taliajoy18, over 100,000 subscribers. This tenacious seventh grader is also battling two types of cancer and this week her videos became more serious when she started talking about the details of her disease with her fans.
In an August 8 video titled “VLOG, idk what to say” she shares that she can either go through a highly risky bone marrow transplant or skip the procedure and likely live for only four months to a year.
This is probably the most serious vlog I’ve done. I received bad news about my cancer spreading to my bone marrow…Basically there aren’t a lot of options for treatment anymore…Yes, I’m scared.
Anyone who has stood by the side of a friend or relative fighting cancer has probably often wondered what’s going on inside that person’s head. What does cancer feel like?
This little girl who has endured over five years of surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell transplants, and blood transfusions will tell you exactly what it feels like to face a terrible disease. In a casual tone, sometimes referring to her viewers as “bro” and frequently using the word “like,” she speaks from the heart and tells all. Her articulateness, knowledge, strength and upbeat attitude will blow you away, make you cry and lead you to see life a little differently.
One of her fans wrote in (and there are literally thousands upon thousands of comments like this on all her videos):
WOW!I just saw you on channel 11news this morning and I looked you up. I’m so happy I found you, you are so brave and strong!! You have inspired me in so many ways, I want to thank you.. You really touched my heart!GOD BLESS YOU always xoxoxo
Castellano’s videos are raw and unprofessional. Sometimes she’s simply sitting in front of her laptop and talking. But her sweet voice, her pretty and expressive face and her ease in front of the camera make her a first-class talent. Hollywood are you watching?
Diagnosed with cancer over five years ago
When Castellano was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2007 and started undergoing chemotherapy treatments she lost her hair but she refused to put on a wig. She found herself wearing a lot of makeup to distract people from her bald head. Makeup became her wig.
“When I put on my makeup I feel like I can embrace those features that I really like about myself,” Castellano shares in a video. “I feel if someone’s looking at me, they’re looking at my makeup, not looking at my bald head.”
Her love for eye shadow, mascara and lipstick led her to create YouTube video tutorials on makeup application and Castellano quickly gained a huge following. Her videos are entertaining, her personality lovable and her tutorials are incredibly helpful. Watch a few below:
The tone of Castellano’s videos changed when she got real about her disease. Preleukemia recently showed up in her bone marrow and doctors are saying she has four months to a year to live—unless she undergoes a bone transplant, which would be the most major treatment she has undergone yet.
In her August 7 YouTube video, Castellano shares:
There aren’t a lot of options for treatment anymore. The thing they want to do right now is a bone marrow transplant, and that is going to be one of the toughest things I’m going to have to do, if I do it…Right now where I’m leaning is not doing it because I really don’t want to go through with it because the chances of surviving are fewer than surviving. If my body rejects it then I’m screwed. Right now I’m on a load of chemo so it will keep me stable. It won’t knock it all out. If we don’t go through with it they told me four months to a year.
In the meantime Castellano plans to keep up with her makeup tutorials:
Having cancer has been a gift yet a horrible, horrible, terrifying thing. But I’ve gotten so many benefits from it…Having a YouTube channel and having to inspire people and having people look up to me and explaining to you guys how I love and adore makeup, using it as my wig and having so much self-confidence to go out to the grocery store without a wig… It’s just amazing.