This Tuesday, July 16, the world lost a beautiful young girl who inspired millions with her story of positivity and unyielding hope. Talia Castellano, who went by TaliaJoy18 on YouTube, was an honorary covergirl, makeup guru, and tutorialist, all at the tender age of thirteen. Her legacy of overwhelming passion, love, and desire to “just keep swimming” is immortalized not just in the videos she leaves behind, but in the “handprints and footprints she left on the world,” according to her older sister.
Talia suffered from neuroblastoma, a very severe and aggressive type of cancer, for over six years. Though Talia was young and very sick, she refused to let these things define her; she channeled her energy into making uplifting, funny, and incredibly heartfelt YouTube videos, mostly consisting of makeup tutorials. Talia refused to wear a wig after loosing her hair to cancer treatments, boldly proclaiming, “makeup is my wig.”
Talia’s upbeat personality and inspiring story caught the attention of YouTubers, with her videos grossing over 40 million views and attracting a plethora of celebrity attention, including that of talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. DeGeneres went on to make Talia an honorary CoverGirl model, giving her the chance to host a radio show and meet Justin Beiber, whom the makeup guru was a huge fan of.
Talia’s passing was reported on her official Facebook page, saying that she had “earned her wings” at 11:22 AM. A huge outpouring of sympathy and support has taken over the page’s comments, with many people talking about how Talia inspired them to “just keep swimming.”
A few days before passing, Talia hand wrote a “bucket list,” which included such activities as horseback riding and “messy twister.” The hashtag #taliasbucklist has been used by her fans as they share pictures and stories of themselves completing tasks from the list in Talia’s memory.
Though Talia is no longer with us, her videos, heart, and story will continue to touch many. May Talia help us all remember to “just keep swimming.”