Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.

After spending five years making videos on YouTube, Nikki Phillippi has reached a major milestone. Phillippi, whose fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and music videos resonate with her fans, has reached one million subscribers. Along the way, she’s shared dozens of looks, offered a plethora of useful tips, joined forces with fashion and beauty network StyleHaul, and maintained a cheery attitude along the way. Here’s how she defines her career in her own words:

Tubefilter: How does it feel to have one million subscribers? What do you have to say to your fans?

Nikki Phillippi: It honestly feels surreal! I’ve been thinking lately that if I tried to count to one million it would take me a long time. To think that each of those numbers are people, with their own lives and families…It’s just mind blowing.

I think what I have to say to everyone is thank you! When people subscribe to my channel they are supporting me.. And their support means so much to me because they’ve been a part of drastically changing me and my husband’s lives. I get to make videos for a living and that’s CRAZY to me! I used to do this as a kid on my parents video cameras! Mind blown.

TF: What achievement are you most proud of within your career on YouTube?

NP: Honestly, I know this is really businessy and a lot of people do this now…but making YouTube into my job has made me really proud. I have been making videos since I was like 10, so I’m extremely happy, grateful and proud of the fact that I was able to make this into a job. I recognize this isn’t something I did solely by myself, but I just think it’s so cool! It’s really exciting to me to get to do this as more than just a hobby.

TF: On a similar note, what do you think is the most interesting way in which YouTube has changed since you started making videos?

NP: Along those same lines I think the professionalism has changed a lot since I started making videos. Not only has everyone’s quality continued to go up, but also big companies have stepped into the space to advertise. They have really allowed a lot more creators to make a living off the content they make.

Also, YouTube viewers have become so much more comfortable with creators working with brands. For the most part, I think our audiences trust us and trust that we’re only working with brands we enjoy and think they would too. They understand that it now takes a significant amount of time to make content, and so we have to get paid so we don’t have to work another job. We wouldn’t have time to produce content. When I first started YouTube though, I remember that subscribers would feel cheated just by people joining the partner program and running Adsense on their channels. Now that’s standard practice for practically anyone that uploads a video.

TF: Do you think your own personal videomaking style has changed in any significant ways as you’ve grown older?

NP: I would say that my content has just continued to improve. My equipment and knowledge of filming and editing has slowly improved over the years. As far as the type of content I make, that’s always evolving and will continue to evolve as I “grow up,” but I’ve always created lifestyle content from the beginning, so in that sense it’s the same. I’ve just become more comfortable talking by myself to a camera, and like I said, the quality has gone up.

TF: How would you describe your basic “philosophy” about beauty and makeup?

NP: I think that beauty and makeup are such personal things. I like to share what I do to feel beautiful, but I like to share it from the perspective of “this is MY taste and how I express myself in case you’re interested…but do YOU! There is no right or wrong!” I think it’s just important to try and be the best YOU you can be and to feel comfortable and confident in the choices you make. I don’t want people to feel the need to conform…I TRULY believe that there isn’t one definition of beauty.

TF: How have you approached brand partnerships as your channel has grown?

NP: As time has gone on I have found myself wanting to be more and more transparent with my subscribers. I think I always have been in some ways, but now, I go so far as to open the videos by announcing that it is sponsored by a certain brand. I want my viewers to know that I’m going to be straight up with them. Plus, I feel like they’re actually going to be more receptive to the brands I’m repping if I just tell them “yo. I’m working with this brand!” I think this prevents people from feeling tricked or used.

TF: How did you feel about your recent appearance on Good Day Chicago?

NP: Omg! That was so much fun! To be honest it was kind of surreal. Walking into the newsroom was like walking onto a movie set. I couldn’t believe I was there. I love working with Birchbox and it was so cool I got to go rep them on the news.

I think it went well! Darlene the anchor was so sweet and helpful and supportive and the whole PR team and Birchbox was just amazing. It was such a great experience.

TF: Any plans to make more music videos in the future?

NP: Actuallyyyy, I have a new music video coming out In January! We filmed it a couple months ago. I know it sounds strange to film something so early and then hold it for a few months, but it’s specifically for a series I do on my channel every year called How To Be Happy January where I talk about happiness (obviously). This video is a charity video, because I think working to help others is an important element of happiness. It’s aimed at bringing awareness to human trafficking, which is a cause I’m really passionate about. It’s a collaboration with Kylan Road and Rachel Talbott and I have a full orchestral band behind me. It is SO amazing and I seriously can’t wait for it to come out!

TF: What’s next for your channel?

NP: This year I want to work on improving my content, both aesthetically and also in terms of the value I’m bringing to my viewers in each video. I have so many ideas, but executing them when I’m so busy is hard, so that’s a goal for this year. Also, my blog The Gang is relaunching, and I want to make videos that go hand in hand with content on the site. The Gang is going to be an inspirational lifestyle blog and I have contributors I’m working with on it. I can’t wait for it to relaunch in conjunction with #howtobehappyjanuary. Hopefully, we will be able to inspire people to live out the life they most desire and by the end of 2016 I’ll be able to say that’s what I’m proudest of for the year.

On Deck (channels that will soon reach one million subscribers): Brizzy Voices, Programa Pânico, EnjoyVlogging

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