There’s no mistaking Zoella: The bubbly Brit with the ombre tresses has spunk, sparkle, and a wildly devoted YouTube following — 1.4 million fans subscribe to her beauty, fashion, and lifestyle channel.
At 22, Zoe Sugg, the brains behind Zoella, has turned her beauty blog into somewhat of a media enterprise and it all began with a boring night. Sugg had been scouring the web for beauty blogs and vlogs to stay up on beauty world happenings when one night, with little else to do, she decided to join in.
Like many beauty bloggers on the scene, Sugg started her YouTube channel as a way to combat shyness and to get in on the conversation that was happening.
At first, she was stumped for what to film, so she shot a day out shopping with a friend. For the first “proper” Zoella video as she refers to it, she simply filmed 60 things in her bedroom for a glimpse into her life. Her following grew slowly. She admits on her blog to having gained just three followers in two weeks, but she kept at it and her present YouTube celebrity still surprises her.
“It’s amazing that Zoella pays the bills these days and I am just very fortunate that my hobby turned into a proper job,” she said in an email interview.
Despite her ability to rake in subscribers and views, the beauty guru said she is, “Excited, appreciative, humbled, amazed, and very much looking forward to the future,” when she considers her success as Zoella.
When it comes to tutorials, you’ll find Sugg demonstrating everything from her daily makeup routine (or her brother’s attempt to do her makeup) to easy hairstyles to a Topshop haul with an accompanying £500 gift card giveaway for viewers.
Sugg has made quite a name for herself since starting Zoella in 2009. She appeared in Teen Vogue as a “YouTube mega star” in February 2013 and in 2011, won Cosmopolitan UK’s “Best established beauty blog” award.
Now, Zoella fans are so devout that some have even created blogs dedicated to their beauty idol: Zoella-style, Queen Zoella, Little Zoella Things.
Sugg signed with beauty/fashion-focused YouTube MCN StyleHaul in November 2012 and has been steadily growing Zoella since. To her, building a brand means, “Sticking to what is true to you, being consistent and working hard,” she said.
Partnering with brands is a departure for Sugg in some ways — mostly because she’s determined to always share products she genuinely believes in.
“I turn down about 99 percent of the approaches that are made by brands that want to be on my channel,” she said. “Because, as with everything else that I do on my channel, I only talk about stuff I love.”
Instead, Sugg partners with other brands like Sprinkle of Glitter and Tanya Burr on their own channels, which she said is a great experience.
As for the future, Sugg wouldn’t say exactly what’s in store for Zoella. Opting to keep an air of mystery, she exclaimed “There are loads of exciting things in the pipeline, so watch this space!”