The Self-Made Makeup Maven Of YouTube

Lauren Luke, 27, is a single mother from Tyneside, England, whose YouTube videos on makeup application have made her an Internet sensation. YouTube

This story was written by CBS News' Eleanor Tuohy.

Lauren Luke is on a flight from London to New York. She's charming, direct and completely bowled over by what has happened to her life.

If the name Lauren Luke is not familiar to you then you are obviously not a teenage girl or regular YouTube user.

A little over two years ago, 27-year-old Luke was working evenings as a telephone dispatcher for a local cab company, hating the hours and missing her 10-year-old son.

Now she's a YouTube sensation with a cosmetics line due in stores worldwide at the beginning of April, and a book being published in October. All this from an idea started in her bedroom in Tyneside, England.

Luke, a single mother living with her mother and sister, decided the time had come to try something that would allow her to work during her son's school hours. She began selling makeup on Ebay, and as the business picked up, she posted tutorials on proper makeup application on YouTube for her customers. It saved her from typing up e-mails in response to customer questions.

That was when Lauren's life changed. An awful lot of people started watching her videos. Her YouTube channel, pancea81, has drawn more than 4.5 million viewers and Luke moves between the first- and second-most watched YouTube slots in Britain. According to Luke, her videos have had 31 million hits worldwide.

The turning point, Luke says, was when she posted a tutorial on how to recreate Leona Lewis' make up from her Bleeding Love music video.

"That's when things really started to go berserk," says Luke. That video alone - shot in her bedroom as she applies the make up to herself looking straight at the camera - had gotten over 2 million hits. It became a template for dozens more videos, each one presented in the same simple style. Many of the videos demonstrate how to create celebrity looks - musicians like Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and actresses like Kim Kardashian and all of the stars of "Sex and the City."

Lauren Luke will appear on Monday, March 2, 2009.
Luke is beginning to come to terms with the attention.

"I'm over the moon about it," she said. "It didn't dawn on us until people started to come up and say, 'Aaren't you the girl off YouTube?'"

Nintendo called Luke recently, would she be interested in them creating a makeup game centred around her for the Nintendo DS?

"It's mad to think I'll be on a Nintendo game," she laughs.
Part of Luke's massive appeal is how unaffected she is. Despite the cosmetics range coming out worldwide in April (which she is "dead proud of") and the buzz surrounding her growing so quickly that she's had to hire a manager, she still can't quite believe it's happening.

"It's hard when people call themselves 'fans,'" she said. "It's only me and it's quite overwhelming when people look at you in the street and you're wondering if you know them or you've got something on your face."

Despite her obvious appeal to teens, Luke's work is tapping into a very wide demographic. She's getting e-mails from mothers who haven't bothered with makeup for years. And, perhaps most poignantly, gets messages from young girls living with their fathers who don't have a mother to give them makeup tips. To those girls, she's become an online older sister.

A cheery role model, she happily notes "I'm nothing to be jealous of. I just tell the truth - what's good, what's not good. And it's not fluffy."

In Luke's earliest postings, she didn't know how to edit so posted her videos complete with mistakes, all ended with her friendly smile and trademark sign off to viewers, "Zoom, zoom."

The interactions with her fans on YouTube, on her Web site and via Facebook and Twitter clearly mean a great deal to her and despite her seemingly imminent global domination, Lauren Luke has never had a master plan.

"I've no business sense, I've always gone with my gut on what feels right," she said.
  • Eleanor Tuohy

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