Talia Castellano

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Talia Castellano
Talia Castellano.jpg
Castellano with her custom-made magazine cover, first shown on Ellen
BornAugust 18, 1999
DiedJuly 16, 2013(2013-07-16) (aged 13)
Cause of deathNeuroblastoma
Resting placeOhev Shalom Cemetery
Years active2011—2013

Talia Castellano (August 18, 1999 – July 16, 2013) was a Covergirl and an American Internet “celebrity” known for her YouTube channel "TaliaJoy18" that featured her makeup tutorials. Her channel was mainly dedicated to makeup, fashion and cancer vlogs where she would discuss neuroblastoma and leukemia, the diseases 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. As of May 2018, her YouTube channel has more than 1,480,000 subscribers with over 94 million video views.[1]

Early life[edit]

Castellano was born on August 18, 1999, in Orlando, Florida,[2] 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.[3]


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, she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer of the peripheral nerve system.[4] She underwent various types of therapies and treatments[5] 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.[6] Although she was given only months to live, a novel drug therapy[which?] provided her with an additional 11 months.[citation needed]

Media attention and rise to fame[edit]

When first diagnosed, Castellano bonded with family friend Tammy DeLaRosa, who was also a cancer survivor. Delarosa taught her how to use makeup. On August 27, 2011, she uploaded her first makeup tutorial, "Crazy eyeliner" to YouTube where it gained over 30,000 views.

Talia was well aware of her disease and 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, that will be my turn to go."[7] When Castellano became aware that her cancer was terminal, she opted to sign hospital forms requesting only palliative care.[7]

In September 2012, she appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was announced as a face for CoverGirl cosmetics.[8] She appeared in CoverGirl magazine ads with her slogan "Makeup is my wig".

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.[9]


Castellano passed away 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 in palliative care. After years of grueling treatment and with the disease metastasized, she declined any further proactive treatment.[10][11][12] An announcement was made soon after the time of Castellano's death, on the Angels For Talia Facebook page.


On July 16, 2013, the day Castellano died, a video was posted on her YouTube channel by her older sister Mattia, who explained how she wanted some of Castellano's old friends to help carry out Talia's legacy, by completing the 13-year-old's bucket list. She also stated her determination to create a makeup line for Talia, and a clothing line, which never carried through. Back at the time of her death, friends and family of Castellano posted pictures of things she wanted to do as part of her bucket list, such as getting a tattoo and having "a huge water balloon fight."[13] Castellano's YouTube channel and Twitter are now controlled by her elder sister and mother, with occasional updates, videos, and promotions.

During her illness, Castellano's father, Marc Winthrop, co-founded a charity, Band of Parents, focused on her wish to find a cure for neuroblastoma. This organization became one of the supporters of neuroblastoma research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.[14][15][16]

On December 11, 2013, the YouTube Rewind of 2013 was dedicated to Castellano. At the end of the video, the words, "For Talia Joy, who still inspires us" are handwritten.[17]


  1. ^ "taliajoy18". YouTube. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Talia Joy Castellano loses battle with cancer". India Today. July 17, 2013.
  3. ^ "Talia loses her battle with cancer". Heritage Florida Jewish News. August 2, 2013.
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ Waldron, Ben (August 8, 2012). "13-Year-Old Cancer Patient Wins, Breaks Hearts". ABC News.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b Carter, Brooke (2 August 2016). "What Happened to Talia Joy Castellano? - The Gazette Review". Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  8. ^ Saad, Nardine (July 16, 2013). "Talia Castellano: Ellen DeGeneres' honorary CoverGirl dies at 13". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Rouse, Wade (July 17, 2013). "Talia Castellano's Mother: Teen CoverGirl Was 'Caring, Inspirational, Talented'". People. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Colleen Wright (July 16, 2013). "Honorary CoverGirl Talia Castellano dies after 6 1/2-year battle with cancer". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  11. ^ Harrison, Lily. "Ellen DeGeneres Mourns Death of Cancer-Stricken Teen, CoverGirl Talia Castellano". E! Online. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  12. ^ Floyd, Tamara. "Talia Joy Castellano, 13 Years Old, Beauty Blogger Passes Away After Long Fight With Cancer". Babble.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2004.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Stebner, Beth (July 30, 2013). "Father of YouTube makeup star Talia Castellano seeks cure for pediatric cancer". Daily News. New York.
  15. ^ "2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. p. 52.
  16. ^ "2012 Annual Report" (PDF). Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. p. 51.
  17. ^ "2013 Youtube Rewind".