A gentle scroll through the news today probably left you thinking, Hello world, what is a “Zoella,” please? And what does it do?
Turns out Zoella is a person. A 24-year-old female British person with millions of fans.
And today, every major news outlet is reporting on her. Let’s take this step by step to understand why everyone’s talking about this 24-year-old female British person with millions of fans.
1. Explain to me who this “Zoella” is. That doesn’t even sound like a proper real name. Is it Zoe or is it Ella? Make up your mind.
OK, so technically this girl is called Zoe. Zoe Sugg. She goes by “Zoella” for no immediately discernible reason. This is her face:
Zoella puts make-up on that face for a living. She’s from England and she’s a beauty blogger – or, more accurately, a “vlogger” (noun: like a blogger but with a “v” because she likes to make videos).
When she was 16, Zoella started uploading videos of herself doing make-up and playing around with beauty tricks. Because she’s pretty and likeable and this is how the internet rolls, she became famous. She started talking about body image and eating disorders and reltaionships, too. 6 million people subscribe to her youtube channel and 3.6 million people follow her on Instagram.
2. OK, sure. She’s one of those inexplicable online celebrity people. But why am I seeing her name everywhere today? Did she “break the internet”? I’ve heard that’s possible.
She has not, as yet, broken the internet. But she has broken a record: The record for most copies of a debut book sold. At the top of the bestseller list right now is a book called Girl Online. It’s Zoella’s debut novel — described as “a modern day Notting Hill for teenage girls — and it’s about someone conspicuously similar to Zoella falling in love with a rockstar.
Girl Online sold more copies in its first week of publication – 78,109 copies to be precise – than any other debut book on record, including the first instalments of the Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey. That’s phenomenal, but it’s not the full reason everyone is talking about Zoella.
3. Well, tell me the full story. I don’t have all day to hear about this girl; do I look like someone who has all day?
Alright, alright. So, it turns out Zoella didn’t write the book. Apparently, a woman called Siobhan Curham ghost-wrote it for and/or with her. It’s unclear how much of the novel — if any — she wrote herself. It’s pretty standard for models, bloggers, actors and other people in the entertainment industry to get a lot of help writing their books, so this isn’t really earth-shattering. But Zoella clearly got such nasty backlash about it online — People online celebrate the perceived failure of an untouchable, successful female on the internet! Shocking! — she’s decided to “quit the internet”.
4. So people on the internet are getting hot and bothered talking about an internet celebrity who announced on the internet that she’s going to quit the internet?
You’ve got it! That’s exactly what this is.
5. But just for a few days?