Castellano with her CoverGirl magazine cover
|Born||Talia Joy Castellano
August 18, 1999
Orlando, Florida, U.S.
|Died||July 16, 2013
Talia Joy Castellano (August 18, 1999 – July 16, 2013) was a covergirl and an American Internet celebrity known for her YouTube channel "TaliaJoy18" that featured her unique makeup tutorials. Her channel was mainly dedicated to makeup, fashion and cancer vlogs where she would discuss neuroblastoma, the disease she battled for six years. At the time of Castellano's death, her channel had more than 750,000 subscribers and 45 million video views. Since then, her YouTube channel has grown to more than 1,000,000 subscribers. Even after her death, her Instagram feed @taliajoy18 has over 2,000,000 followers.
Talia Joy Castellano was born on August 18, 1999, in Orlando, Florida, and grew up in and around central Florida with her mother, Desiree Castellano, and in New York City with her father, Marc Winthrop. She had three siblings: Kaitlyn, Jackson Winthrop and Mattia Castellano.
When she was 7 years old, Castellano began experiencing fevers and abdominal pain. When an X-ray on February 14, 2007 showed unusual anatomical displacements in her chest, Castellano was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric childhood cancer of the peripheral nerve system. She underwent various types of therapies and treatments and was initially declared cancer-free, but relapsed three times in the next six years. During that time she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (previously known as preleukemia) and progressive neuroblastoma. There are no known treatments to tackle both cancers at the same time. Although she was given only months to live, a novel drug therapy provided her with an additional 11 months.
Media attention and rise to fame
When first diagnosed, Castellano bonded with a family friend Tammy DeLaRosa, who was also a cancer survivor. There, she discovered the world of makeup. On August 27, 2011, Castellano uploaded her first makeup tutorial, "Crazy eyeliner" to YouTube where it gained over 30,000 views. Castellano was known for being upbeat and positive when it came to battling the aggressive cancer, and she was well aware of the reality of the situation, according to her mother. She has stated in videos that she was not afraid of dying, and that "when it's my turn to go, I'll be okay with that." When Castellano became aware that her cancer was terminal, she opted to sign hospital forms requesting only palliative care.
In September 2012, she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was announced an honorary face for CoverGirl cosmetics. She subsequently appeared in CoverGirl magazine ads with her slogans "Makeup is my wig" and "Just keep swimming".
She also collaborated with the Orlando-based BASE Camp Children's Cancer Foundation, a program to give support to children battling cancer in the central Florida area and to their families.
Talia died at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida, on July 16, 2013, about a month before her 14th birthday, after spending the last three months of her life hospitalized for palliative care. After years of grueling treatment and with the disease metastasized, she declined any further proactive treatment. An announcement was made soon after the time of Castellano's death, 11:22 a.m., on the Angels For Talia Facebook page.
On July 16, 2013, the day Talia Joy Castellano passed, a video was posted on her TaliaJoy18 channel by her older sister Mattia. She explained how she wanted fans to help carry out Talia's legacy, by completing the 13-year-old's bucket list. Mattia also stated her determination to create a makeup line for Talia, and a clothing line. Fans have been posting pictures of things Castellano wanted to do as part of her bucket list, such as getting a tattoo and having "a huge water balloon fight." Castellano's YouTube channel, Twitter and Instagram are now controlled by her older sister and mother, with occasional updates and videos. During her illness, Talia's father, Marc Winthrop, co-founded a charity, Band of Parents, focused on finding a cure for neuroblastoma, a dream of Talia Joy Castellano's. This organization became one of the largest supporters of neuroblastoma research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
On December 11, 2013, the YouTube Rewind of 2013 was dedicated to Talia. At the end of the video, the words, "For Talia Joy, who still inspires us" are handwritten.
- "Talia Joy Castellano loses battle with cancer". India Today. July 17, 2013.
- "Talia loses her battle with cancer". Heritage Florida Jewish News. August 2, 2013.
- Abraham, Tamara (October 16, 2012). "The most inspiring CoverGirl ever? Make-up blogger, 13, fighting two types of cancer becomes honorary face of beauty giant". Daily Mail.
- Waldron, Ben (August 8, 2012). "13-Year-Old Cancer Patient Wins, Breaks Hearts". ABC News.
- Amethyst Tate (August 10, 2012). "Talia Castellano, 12-Year-Old Cancer Patient and YouTube Sensation, Will Not Let Terminal Illness Stop Her". International Business Times. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Saad, Nardine (July 16, 2013). "Talia Castellano: Ellen DeGeneres' honorary CoverGirl dies at 13". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Rouse, Wade (July 17, 2013). "Talia Castellano's Mother: Teen CoverGirl Was 'Caring, Inspirational, Talented'". People. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Colleen Wright (July 16, 2013). "Honorary CoverGirl Talia Castellano dies after 6 1/2 year battle with cancer". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Harrison, Lily. "Ellen DeGeneres Mourns Death of Cancer-Stricken Teen, CoverGirl Talia Castellano". E! Online. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- Floyd, Tamara. "Talia Joy Castellano, 13 Years Old, Beauty Blogger Passes Away After Long Fight With Cancer". Babble.com. Retrieved July 24, 2004.
- Stebner, Beth (July 21, 2013). "Talia Joy Castellano bucket list: Fans carry out things 13-year-old YouTube star didn't get to do after losing battle to cancer". Daily News (New York).
- Stebner, Beth (July 30, 2013). "Father of YouTube makeup star Talia Castellano seeks cure for pediatric cancer". Daily News (New York).
- "2011 Annual Report". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. p. 52.
- "2012 Annual Report". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. p. 51.
- "2013 Youtube Rewind".