Zoe Elizabeth Sugg (born 28 March 1990) is an English fashion and beauty vlogger, YouTuber, and author. She is best known by her YouTube username Zoella. Her debut novel, Girl Online, was released in November 2014 and broke the record for highest first-week sales of a first-time novelist since Nielsen BookScan began compiling such records in 1998.
Sugg is the older sister of Joe Sugg, who is also a vlogger and internet personality known on YouTube as ThatcherJoe. She grew up in Lacock, Wiltshire, where she attended The Corsham School secondary school and arts college, and currently lives in Brighton. She is in a relationship (first made public in August 2013) with fellow YouTube star Alfie Deyes.
Sugg was working as an apprentice at an interior design company when she created her blog, "Zoella", in February 2009. By the end of the year it had a thousand followers and as of September 2015 it has received over 540 million total visits. The fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog expanded into a YouTube channel in 2009, while Sugg was working for British clothing retailer New Look.
In 2013, Sugg was named as one of the National Citizen Service's ambassadors, helping to promote the newly launched youth service. The following year she was named as the first "Digital Ambassador" for Mind, the mental health charity.
Sugg's main channel, Zoella, first named "zoella280390" after her birth date, is mostly fashion, beauty hauls, and "favourites" videos (showing her favourite products of the previous month). Her second channel, MoreZoella, contains mostly vlogs where she shows her viewers what she does in her day. She is a member of the Style Haul network and is represented by Dominic Smales at Gleam Futures. Sugg also appears alongside many other YouTubers on the channel Daily Mix, which is managed by Gleam. Sugg has done many collaborations on her channel Zoella with other YouTubers, including: Louise Pentland, Tanya Burr, Alfie Deyes, Tyler Oakley, Troye Sivan, Grace Helbig, and many others.
Sugg is influential through social media, being mentioned by The Telegraph as one of "Britain's most influential Tweeters" in 2013. As of June 2017, Sugg's main YouTube channel has over 11.8 million subscribers and over 976 million video views, and is the 50th most subscribed channel on the website; her second channel "MoreZoella" has over 4.6 million subscribers and over 589 million video views. She also has over 8.6 million followers on Twitter and over 11.1 million on Instagram.
As of June 2017, Zoella's main channel subscriber count stands at 11,814,219 and has a total of 976,920,411 views.
In December 2014 Sugg was criticised for filming whilst driving her car. A member of the Metropolitan Police said "She could have killed someone. How can anyone who has their eyes off the road for that amount of time be in complete control of a vehicle?" Sugg's spokesperson stated that "at the time of filming she was in mostly stationary traffic."
Sugg's debut novel, Girl Online, was released on 25 November 2014. The book is aimed at a young adult audience and surrounds a 15-year-old anonymous blogger and what happens when her blog goes viral. While based around similar experiences, Sugg has stated that the book is "in no way autobiographical". The novel achieved "the highest first-week sales for a debut author since records began in 1998," 78,109 copies. As of December 2014 it is also the fastest selling book of the year.
Penguin stated that "Sugg did not write Girl Online on her own", stating that she "has worked with an expert editorial team to help her bring to life her characters and experiences in a heartwarming and compelling story". It has been reported that young-adult novelist Siobhan Curham was a ghostwriter for the novel, although neither Penguin nor Sugg have stated this. Penguin stated that Curham was an "editorial consultant" for the novel.
Sugg featured on the 2014 single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" as part of the Band Aid 30 charity supergroup, raising money for the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. The single debuted at No.1 on the UK Official Singles Chart.
In June 2014 Sugg was a guest panellist on the daytime chat show Loose Women. She also appeared on This Morning in July 2014, to talk about social anxiety. Sugg took part in the 2015 comic relief edition of The Great British Bake Off.
Sugg, along with The Slow Mo Guys and Vice News, featured in television, print, and billboard advertisements in the UK which ran from 25 September 2014. The prime time TV adverts will be broadcast on the three terrestrial UK channels.
Sugg launched a range of beauty products under the brand name Zoella Beauty in September 2014. The "bath and beauty" range launch was, according to the Metro, the "biggest beauty launch of the year". She launched an edition of the products called "Tutti Fruity" in 2015, as well as a limited Christmas edition. In 2016 she launched an edition called "Sweet Inspirations". In July 2017, the "Jelly & Gelato" range was released.
Advent calendar controversy
Sugg attracted criticism from some of her followers and in the media during November 2017 after releasing a 12-door £50 Advent calendar; with criticism focusing on the "extortionate" price and alleged poor quality. The calendar contained items such as a small pack of confetti, a packet of seven stickers and cookie cutters. A spokesperson for Sugg responded that "Zoe is incredibly proud of the Christmas collection and excited to see it in store. However, the pricing and in-store promotional strategy of the collection, including the calendar, is at the control of third parties and is not set by Zoe."
Offensive social media posts controversy
Sugg apologised in November 2017 following controversy surrounding posts she had made on social media between 2009 and 2012 mocking gay people and "chavs". Sugg responded on Twitter claiming the posts had been "taken out of context" and writing "I’m sorry if I have offended anyone, that was not my intention."
Awards and nominations
Sugg won the 2011 Cosmopolitan Blog Award in the "Best Established Beauty Blog" category and went on to win the "Best Beauty Vlogger" award the following year. She was also awarded the 2013 and 2014 "Best British Vlogger" award at the Radio 1 Teen Awards; the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for "UK Favourite Vlogger"; and the 2014 Teen Choice Award for "Choice Web Star: Fashion/Beauty".
Sugg was listed as one of The Telegraph's "40 best beauty bloggers" in September 2014, and "Queen of the Haul" by British Vogue in November. Hers was the fourth most popular channel in the UK in 2014. She was included in the 2015 Debrett's 500, listing the most influential people in Britain, under the New Media category. In 2015 she was named as the "Most Inspirational Women of the Decade" in technology by Grazia and she was named the 34th Sexiest Woman in the world by FHM.
|2011||Cosmopolitan Blog Award||Best Established Beauty Blog||Won|
|2012||Best Beauty Vlogger||Won|
|2014||Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award||UK Favourite Vlogger||Won|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Webstar: Fashion/Beauty||Won|
|2015||Teen Choice Award||Choice Webstar: Fashion/Beauty||Won|
|2016||Shorty Award||YouTuber of the Year||Nominated|