the truth about vlogging: introducing zoe sugg

In celebration of YouTube’s 10th anniversary, this week we will be delving into the weird and wonderful world of internet vlogging, as we meet the voices of the digi generation and online stars of tomorrow who have been redefining the very meaning of...

by Tish Weinstock
23 March 2015, 3:49am

"YouTubers aren't actors," says 24-year-old Zoe Sugg AKA Zoella, "it's our lives and the camera just becomes an extension of us, which I think is why so many people love watching YouTubers. Normal people, with normal emotions!" It's been six years since Zoe uploaded a video to YouTube and already she has over 7 million (no seriously) subscribers, making her one of the biggest personalities on the web. Personality, of course, being key here. Because, unlike the photoshopped models of high fashion, Zoe is famous for being herself: a real person talking about real life things from what to wear to how to wear it. In fact her whole life is like one big vlog, with her both her brother and boyfriend being vloggers too. But that's not all, last year she launched her own makeup line, appeared alongside One Direction and Rita Ora in Bob Geldoff's video for Band Aid 30, wrote her own book which was the highest selling book by a debut author of all time (there's a sequel in the pipeline), and even appeared on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off, which is where things become problematic, as although she's just a normal girl, Zoe is also a fully-fledged celebrity. In fact she's so influential that more people know who she is than some of the most respected style authorities in the business. How? Because, bored of fashion's unaffordable products and unattainable ideas about beauty and body image, more and more kids are starting to tune out of high fashion and log into the authentic, honest, and approachable world of vlogging. However, where there are fans there will always be haters and for some reason vloggers seem to attract quite a bit, especially from all those traditionalists who see the democratization of fashion as being the worst thing since unsliced bread. Which is something Zoe is quite keen to correct. We caught up with the British beauty to find out what it's like to be one of the biggest vloggers in the world.

What's so great about vlogging?
I love being able to share my thoughts and feelings with my viewers as well as them coming along with me on this crazy journey. I also love that I can talk about things that may help people with personal issues they could be dealing with on an every day basis.

Do you find that your personality is the same on screen and off or is there a certain level of performance involved?
I think the most important thing when it comes to vlogging is to be yourself. That can be quite difficult at times; if you're having a really bad day, you don't necessarily want to switch on the camera and talk, or bring others down. One thing I know a lot of my viewers tell me is that my positive attitude rubs off on them. That isn't to say I have to force being happy, it just means that if I'm ever having a down day, I might not film as much.

Why do you think vlogging has become such a craze, and even more popular than branded videos from large fashion companies?
Vlogging shows someone's real, day-to-day life, making it so much easier to relate to. It's also so much more social than videos from companies, there are many more opportunities to interact with viewers and often a really lovely community to discuss and get involved with. I would rather watch a video about which products that people have been loving that month than to read reviews in magazines for example, because they are real, genuine people, with opinions.

How has vlogging changed how we consume fashion?
I think it's made fashion so much more relevant for daily life, when you see someone style new pieces in their videos it shares their individual style as well as new trends. It's also a great way to share your style with your viewers, from high end to high street and how you choose to put your outfits together.

What would you say to critics who argue that vlogging has removed a certain sense of artistry and exclusivity when it comes to fashion?
I don't believe it has. I believe each video shows some form of artistry, every video will be different and it shows the creativity and individuality of the creator, so actually adds a new level of design and originality to fashion.

What makes you stand out from all other vloggers?
I'm not sure really! I've always just been myself in my videos, and I think people quite like that. I don't always have perfect hair, or perfect skin and I'll have off days just like everyone else, but I'm real and honest about that! We're all human at the end of the day.

How does it feel to have an entire community surrounding and supporting you?
That's the best bit about all this. It's absolutely amazing and very overwhelming at times. I am so grateful for everyone out there who is supporting me, and when I think about it, it makes me smile from ear to ear!

How do you deal with online trolls?
I go through phases where it bothers me a bit, or I just laugh it off. You just have to feel sorry for those people who have so much negativity to spread as something must be getting them down and wish them well.

Does vlogging empower you as a woman?
I think vlogging can empower anyone who does it. As a creator, you're in full control of what you're making and uploading, which is empowering in itself. I am so grateful that I am able to do something I love, be my own boss and to have had success with it. I applaud any one who is successful at the thing they love and apply themselves too. More people need to be celebrating the success of others!

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