The Rise of British Mega-Influencer Zoella

We’re sure Zoe Sugg, known as “Zoella” by her followers, knew she’d be a household name at
the onslaught of her first bedroom broadcast in 2009. However, named Forbes’ Top Influencer
may be more than she imagined.

Zoella began her beauty vlogger career 7-years ago. Now, at 27, she posts from the 5-bedroom house she purchased with the spoils of earnings. It’s her cheerful and charming girl-next- door delivery that keeps her fans on call for her channel notifications. The Englander is one of YouTube’s most-followed influencers with a whopping 11.6 million subscribers and counting.

This year, she ranked number 1 in Forbes’, first ever, Top Influencer list. This self-made, self-taught beauty fanatic gain her notoriety reviewing cosmetics and showing off her drugstore hauls. Her “how to” video on a gold eyes-berry lip combo garnered 5.3 million views as of March 2017.

Despite her fame, she hasn’t wavered from what works. Viewers can find videos that review $4 moisturizer from the drugstore to high-end $40 department store buys. Although, in light of her fame, she’s created a second YouTube channel MoreZoella, a curated chronicle of her daily life which has over 4.5 million subscribers.

So what’s her secret sauce?

Part of it is her transparency. The willingness to share her, carefully edited, day-to- day activities earned her a loyal following. The second ingredient is authenticity. Stephanie Horbaczewski, founder and CEO of the fashion and lifestyle influencer network StyleHaul, states: “If you want to be entertained, there are a million places to be entertained. These are the people that are able to bring communities together.”

In addition to YouTube clicks, the onscreen brands collaborations, as well as becoming an author has added to her successful earnings. In 2014, she published, Girl Online which broke massive records in her home country. Once it reached across the pond, the title became a New York Times Bestseller. Soon after, she followed with her sequels in 2015 and 2016. In the same year she published her first novel, she attached her name to a beauty line at the U.K. drugstore chain, Superdrug which broke sales records.

With amazing achievements as a beauty vlogger, what makes Zoella a true influencer is the use of her platform to discuss her anxiety disorder, along with her struggles with panic attacks. This level of transparency has not only helped the followers in her community, but also garnered the attention of a U.K. mental health nonprofit, making her the first digital ambassador. She shares this quote:

“A lot of people get the assumption that because someone is able to sit here in front of a camera and speak for 10 to 20 minutes and broadcast it in front of hundreds of thousands, potentially millions, of people on the internet, that must mean that they are 100% confident, have absolutely no self-esteem issues, have no real-life problems, they’re always happy, they’re always jolly. That is so wrong. There are a lot more things to people than you might first realize.”

It’s evident that Zoella’s millions encompass more than her dollars.