Zoella: When Success Breeds Jealousy


I’m 32 years old, and I’m not exactly what would be considered to be educated in up-to-date fashion and beauty. Indeed, my own fashion sense mimics that of a 15 year old boy, and when this is combined with frizzy hair that Monica Gellar would be proud of and make up that looks like it has been applied in a quickly moving car on a bumpy road I project an overall sense of ‘never mind, at least she tried’ when I leave the house each morning. Because of this, I don’t follow many beauty and fashion blogs or vlogs, namely because the content doesn’t often relate to my lifestyle.

However, there is one particular vlog that caught my attention about a year ago: Zoella. While I had nothing in common with her, I found myself glued to a number of her videos simply for one reason: I like her, and from the numbers she’s acquired on her YouTube account, so do over 6 million others. She’s positive, she exudes a happy and sparkly personality and above all she seems to genuinely enjoy what she does.

Recently, Zoella has started to appear everywhere here in the UK. She has her own make up line, she has become a spokesperson for Mind, a mental health charity, after discussing her own issues with anxiety, she’s recently been the recipient of two Teen Choice Awards, her YouTube following grows daily and she deserves every bit of it. She’s a nice girl with a positive message to lots of young people, and it’s nice to see that, for once, somebody is being represented as a role model for all of the right reasons.

However, as it always seems to be with the British Press, I was disheartened to read a rather unprovoked and scathing article in The Independent that openly attacked Zoella, hiding behind the premise of debating the mixed messages that she appears to give out to her fans. While I can concede that the writer made one or two valid points on these contradictions, (and am trying to avoid going all Belieber about it), I was infuriated by the fact that the majority of the article served no purpose other than to belittle a young woman who has made a success of herself.

Unfortunately, success often breeds jealousy.

The world is full of stories that need to be told every day – war, poverty, famine, abuse, cruelty, triumph – isn’t it about time that these columnists started focusing on these issues rather than wasting their talents on trying to bring others down?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

23 thoughts on “Zoella: When Success Breeds Jealousy

  1. I’m so out of it that I haven’t yet heard of her. She sounds delightful. But some reporters, like various restaurant and movie reviewers, want to say something unique, something that catches the interest of readers. I think the bottom line is what newspapers are often all about: profit (and staying in business). If people don’t read, there’s no advertising. And with all the digital information, newspapers are particularly trying to get noticed. Sounds like it’s working.

  2. That is the sad fact about social media. The more presence you put out there the more there is to attack. It definitely gives reason for consideration. I don’t have “millions of fans,” but I can relate in a small way. We really present our most vulnerable parts to judgement when we go big.

    • Agree. That’s also the role of the paparazzi – to dig up dirty secrets of celebrities and make a living out of it. But we should also think about our role as consumers. There’s clear demand for the OK, People, Hello magazines and the like. We lap up celebrity news like a mop to water. I’m aware I’m talking in the collective here, but we as a society should rethink where this demand is coming from. To curb demand means the supply will shrink.

  3. I am a huge fan of Zoella. I found her first a year ago as well on a blog I was following. She’s amazing and has helped me through a lot of bad days. Great post!

  4. I think you’re right about the British media loving to knock people down when they get a bit ‘above themselves’ – I don’t know whether it happens in all other countries, but it runs deep here doesn’t it? I was reading that Japanese has an expression: “the nail that pops up is always hammered down” and Australia: “tall poppies get cut short.” So maybe it’s not just us!

    I think the fact that Zoella is so classically pretty, successful and smiley brings all kinds of long-buried, half-remembered school memories and rivalries bubbling to the surface. The article in the Independent is catty. The opinion of the writer could have been expressed without attaching it to one particular face – but then, putting Zoella’s face to it is classic clickbait, isn’t it?

  5. The world needs more writers…good ones and great ones I mean. The reason newspapers are failing is because they lack talent and focus on real issues. News has become entertainment focused instead of staying true to their original calling which in my view alerting us to what is really important in our society, education, human rights, ending world hunger etc. The focus now is dumbed down to appealing to juveniles sense of fashion and silly pop stars. By the time society is wrapped up in non-news issues we find our country is at war, none have ha clue to who the enemy is, but they can tell you what their reality “stars” had for breakfast.

  6. I think she’s gorgeous. But unfortunately, that’s because that’s all she seems to want to be. She represents the worst type of female success – achieved through little actual work, based on superficiality and in a way that limits or prohibits similar success of her admirers, while actually promising or promoting to them such success.

  7. I love Zoella too. She’s so pretty and nice.
    It’s sad how instead of getting happy for other’s success, we, people, try to belittle others and make them wish if they weren’t that successful. I think that we can accomplish more if we just get rid of jealousy.

  8. I’ve never heard of her, I’m not very up-to-date in the Youtube world, but it’s very true that a lot of people just simply don’t like others who are successful.

  9. It really doesn’t sit well with me that a grown woman can publicly attack this bright young thing for being.. well.. a bright young thing! Even to the point of saying that her eyes are too big? Really? So much for the sisterhood! It also stinks of link bait which stinks. I expect better from The Indie. Sigh.
    Great post x

    • Thanks! The writer could have taken it as an opportunity to discuss so many things, and instead yet used it to rip apart someone who is an inspiration to millions of young people…

  10. It’s funny reading that article. I honestly shook my head and thought “do your research”. I’m not saying Zoe talks about body image in every other video, but she does it regularly and emphasises that you should use make-up because you want to, not because you feel you have to (and many youtube and blogger beauty guru’s emphasise that). It has to be fun and I feel she brings that message across rather well in a lot of her videos. I think you’re probably right that there is jealousy involved.

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