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He was born in Rawtenstall, England and he has been making videos since 2006. He went to Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School, and often included it in his tweets. His school was in one of his early videos, and he can be seen in the top right corner of a whole-school photo in the extension corridor. His school shaped his life, however he is not yet included on the "most successful" board, although students are making appeals.
He currently resides in London, England, with fellow YouTuber and best friend Dan Howell. He completed a degree in English Language and Linguistics and then a post graduate in the Department of Theatre, Film and television, going on to obtain a Master of Arts in Video Postproduction with Specialisation in Visual Effects at the University of York.
Phil uploaded his first YouTube video on February 2006. It was called "Awaiting the Tide" and has since been made private by Phil, as has over 100 other of his early videos. The earliest remaining video on Phil's channel is from March 27, 2006. It is his third video and first vlog, called "Phil's Video Blog – 27th March 2006." It was filmed on a black and white camera that he later on said he won out of a cereal box.
His favourite animals are lions; a recurring theme in his videos used to be that he has a little stuffed lion (named Lion) in the background. Before YouTube removed annotations, Lion would sometimes 'speak' via speech bubble annotations (this was well before YouTube discontinued the annotations feature in January 2019). Phil also used to have a recurring segment at the end of his videos called 'Draw Phil Naked', where he showed fan drawings of him naked yet somehow covered up. He ended this in September 2015, saying, "This has been a long time coming... I just felt there were only so many ways people could draw me naked in a non-creepy way, and we reached that limit a while ago." He is also known to keep his channel relatively PG, and avoids swearing in his videos.
He also owned a pet brine shrimp named Simon, who sadly died on May 3rd, 2011, and was in Phil's videos constantly during the time he was alive. In May 2019 Phil grew a triop from some powder, which he named Tony and which lived until July 2019. In August 2019, Dan and Phil adopted a betta fish, which they named Norman after the character from Bates Motel. Norman has featured in Phil's content a number of times since then, such as 'Doing A Makeup Tutorial Inspired By My Fish', the recurring 'NormanCam' in liveshows, and Norman Fest 2020 which was streamed on April Fool's Day. It was announced that Norman had passed away on January 12th, 2021.
A famous quote from Phil is, "It's a good thing to be strange; normalness leads to sadness."
Phil was formerly associated with the "Fantastic Foursome", a group of English YouTubers which included Daniel Howell, Chris Kendall (aka crabstickz), and PJ Liguori (aka KickThePj). The four of them appeared in several YouTube videos together in 2012/13.
Phil Lester is also, though the usually uncredited, creator of the YouTube sensation the 7 Second Challenge, along with the Toilet Tag and the Tumblr Tag. In 2015, he and Dan turned the 7 Second Challenge into a mobile app, which was eventually discontinued in 2018.
In 2015, Dan and Phil released a book, The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire, which topped the Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller lists. Alongside this, they went on a UK tour entitled The Amazing Tour Is Not On Fire, and followed this with North American, Australia and European dates in 2016.
In November 2017, Dan and Phil announced a second world tour called 'Interactive Introverts' to take place in 2018. The tour kicked off on 28 April in Brighton, and visited places across the UK, Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. The premiere of the DVD took place in São Paulo on 28 November 2018.
On June 30, 2019, Phil came out to the public with his YouTube video "Coming Out to You " stating that he was out as gay to his friends and family, but felt it was time to share his story in the hopes it would help others.
Other YouTube channels
Phil has a second channel, named "LessAmazingPhil" where he uploads videos that are either too short or not relevant to anything that he would upload onto his main channel. He also uploads his weekly hour-long liveshows on there.
Along with Dan, he was also one of the presenters of the Super Amazing Project, a YouTube video series from My Damn Channel, encompassing scary/freaky happenings sent in by viewers, challenges between the two presenters, and strange news from the previous week. The show spanned for three series, however Dan confirmed in a YouNow broadcast that except for seasonal specials, there will be no series 4. Its legacy was carried to their radio show. They have made another joint channel called DanAndPhilGAMES where they play video games and record it.
Dan and Phil created a channel called "DanAndPhilCRAFTS" on April 1st, 2015, announcing on the same day that it was just an April Fools' joke. At Summer in the City 2015, Dan and Phil were presented with a Silver Play Button from YouTube for surpassing 100,000 subscribers on their channel.
Dan and Phil also have a joint gaming channel, DanAndPhilGames. The first video on this channel was uploaded in September 2014 and the most recent was uploaded in December 2018; the channel is currently on indefinite hiatus.
In the Media
Phil has appeared on TV numerous times including being on The Weakest Link, a Confused.com advert, the Jeremy Kyle audience, Blue Peter and Friday Download.
He has also been in a movie called "Faintheart". He was also in an Oreo advert, which was advertising the Oreo Lick Race. It included clips of Phil and Daniel Howell doing their Oreo Lick Race, along with other YouTubers. It has since been deleted for the reason that it was not made clear that the video was an advertisement.
On 15 April 2013, Dan and Phil interviewed Fall Out Boy in New York City on their comeback tour. They also appeared briefly in the audience on Fuse TV for Fall Out Boy's appearance. They have also interviewed One Direction at the 2012 Radio 1 Teen Awards.
Dan and Phil also appeared in the movie Big Hero 6, as Technician 1 and Technician 2 respectively. (UK Cinema version only).
It was announced in November 2012 that both Dan and Phil would host BBC Radio 1's request show on Sundays 7pm-9pm, starting on 13 January 2013. The show was fully interactive, allowing listeners to call in to request a song and doing challenges to get it played ("fan wars"). On the website, music videos were shown which fans had made and emailed to Dan and Phil. The entire show was streamed in video, live on the BBC Radio 1 website.
In August 2013, Dan and Phil received a Sony Golden Headphones Award for the UK's favourite radio presenters, voted on by the fans.
In September 2014, their radio slot was changed from Sundays, 7:00pm – 9:00pm (UK Time) to Mondays from 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm (UK Time) and was rebranded as the Internet Takeover. Several different YouTubers (such as Zoella, ThatcherJoe, Tyler Oakley, etc.) were given the chance to 'take over' the radio show that week, with Dan and Phil hosting on the first Monday of every month.
In April 2016, BBC Radio 1's "Internet Takeover" was ended by the BBC after it was announced that Dan and Phil were going on tour in the United States for three months.
- He was voted Sugarscape's Hottest Lad of 2013.
- He is lactose intolerant.
- He found out during the Interactive Introverts tour that he is allergic to chocolate.
- One of the mascots from the popular game Crossy Road (called "Emo Goose"), was suggested and voiced by him.
- His favorite color is blue.
- His actual hair color is reddish-brown, but for most of his time as an active YouTuber he has dyed it black.
- His favorite Pokémon is Growlithe.
- He was addicted to Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
- As a child, he had a fear of horses.
- His favorite snack/food is popcorn.
- He and his best friend Dan are huge fans of Muse, and their favorite album by the band is Origin of Symmetry.
- In 2011, he set a Guinness World Record for fastest coin stacking, placing 25 coins on top of each other in 31.617 seconds.
- He doesn't like any sort of cheese. In his video The Cheese Challenge, in which he tried previous foods he did not like before, he tried 4 different kinds of cheese, only to find out he still hated cheese.
- He is the creator of many YouTube challenges, the most notable one being "The 7 Second Challenge", which led to the creation of his and Dan Howell's app, "The 7 Second Challenge".
- He was featured in asdfmovie 9 in the same skit as Dan.
- He wrote The Amazing Book is not on Fire and Dan and Phil Go Outside with his best friend Dan.
- He and Dan have gone on two world tours together; The Amazing Tour Is Not On Fire in 2016 and Interactive Introverts in 2018.
- He loves to buy plants to put around the house, this of course drives Dan crazy.
- In July 2016, he did a baking video with Rosanna Pansino and Dan where they made Spider Donuts from the game Undertale.
- He is 68.6% British & Irish, 11.5% French & German, 1.9% Scandinavian,< 0.1% Sardinian/Italian, < 0.1% Sub-Saharan African, and < 0.1% Unassigned (Based on his 23andMe DNA Test).
- He and Dan released a Party Game called Truth Bombs on October 19 2017.
- In 2018, he changed up his hairstyle from "emo fringe" to "quiff". He joked with others that he was the last one standing of the "emo YouTubers". He revealed in Why I Changed My Emo Hair that he wanted to do something different with his hair. He also stated he has gained more confidence in how he looks since the change.
- Dan and Phil moved out of their London apartment in spring 2017 into a a new apartment in the same city.
- It is the 3rd apartment they moved into together since getting their first shared apartment in Manchester in 2011.
- In a video on Phil's channel 'Something we want to tell you!' featuring Dan, they announced that they will be moving into a house that they have been renovating since 2017 somewhere in 2021.
- During the summer of 2020, Phil named a pigeon which frequently visited his balcony 'Steve'. After being informed by a Twitter user that Steve had something wrapped around his foot and needed veterinary attention, Dan and Phil captured Steve in a pet carrier and took him to the vet. This was the subject of Phil's video 'Trying To Catch And Rescue An Injured WILD Pigeon'.
Note: The following dates are according to
- 1 million subscribers: July 5, 2013
- 2 million subscribers: August 28, 2014
- 3 million subscribers: October 11, 2015
- 4 million subscribers: March 14, 2017