What happened to Zoella? Exploring the life and controversies of the early YouTuber

Zoella was one of the first YouTubers to make it big. The author, beauty guru and YouTuber may have ditched her nickname for the real thing, Zoe Sugg, but she’s still making the same content her fans love.

Who is Zoella and how old is she?

Zoelle was born Zoe Sugg on March 28, 1990 in Wiltshire, England, and is 30 years old. Sugg opted out of attending college due to her anxiety disorder and because she was unsure of what career to pursue. 

She has 11.1 million YouTuber subscribers as Zoella and 9.2 million Instagram followers. 

She used to vlog under the name Zoella. 

Sugg started blogging and vlogging as Zoella in 2009 where she discussed fashion and beauty while working at New Look. She named her main channel “zoella280390” after her birth date. In 2013, the Telegraph named her one “Britain’s most influential Tweeters.” 

Zoe and Alfie Reyes have been together since 2012 and they’re now expecting a baby.

Reyes and Sugg met at a meet and greet for his blog Pointless Blog in 2012. The two started dating after reconnecting at a party that year. They confirmed they were a couple in 2013 and moved in with each other in 2017. 

In March 2021, Sugg and Reyes announced they were expecting a baby girl in September. 

She’s faced a few controversies over the years. 

Like most internet starts, Sugg has faced scrutiny from the public and backlash over some of her actions.

In December 2014, she was caught vlogging and driving. She was called out by the Metropolitan Police who said, “She could have killed someone.”

In November 2017, her £50 ($70) advent calendar was criticized for its poor quality and high price. The products included were a packet of confetti, seven stickers and cookie cutters. Sugg denied setting the price. 

That same month, she was called out for resurfaced social media posts from 2009 to 2012. In the posts, she made homophobic, fatphobic and classist comments. She later apologized.

She’s spent the past few years writing, launching apps and working on beauty products.

 In 2014, she launched Zoella Beauty, a line of beauty products. That same year she signed a three-book deal with Penguin Books. Her novel Girl Online broke the record for the highest first-week sales of a debut author. She has since written Girl Online: On Tour, Girl Online: Going Solo, the nonfiction book Cordially Invited and the book series The Magpie Society with co-author Amy McCulloch.

Sugg doesn’t write her books on her own and works with a team to realize her vision. In 2019, she launched a line of home goods with U.K. retailers and launched Filmm and Template, two mobile photography apps. 

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If you enjoyed this story, read more about YouTuber Jules LeBlanc.

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