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Zoella - Media Studies [A Level, WJEC] Cheat Sheet by

Zoella won't come up in an exam after 2023.

Zoella (then vs now)


Zoella has become an ambassador for MIND.

She has been a figurehead for National Citizen's Service, which aims to foster community spirit.

She was part of 2014 Band Aid single.

She openly discusses her own anxiety and panic attacks.

Zoella became the fastest selling author since records began.

Critics have unearthed old Twitter posts: one, posted in 2010, said "I find it funny when gay men spit... it's like they're trying to be a bit macho but never works."­ Another, from 2011, said about the X Factor: "why did that fat chav go and stand next to him?"

Other messages suggested a woman should "keep her legs shut" and described someone who thought a £2000 dress was too expensive as a "­tra­mp".

Criticised for promoting "­dan­ger­ous­" ideas of beauty and perfec­tion.

Cited as one of the causes of declining literacy among teenagers.


- A range of stereo­typ­ically feminine codes, including pastel pinks, fairy lights and flowing fabrics construct a stereo­typical repres­ent­ation of femini­nity.
- The menu bar on includes the hyperlinks "­BEA­UTY­", "­FOO­D" and "­STY­LE", which reinforces stereo­typ­ical, hegemonic repres­ent­ations of women as just being interested in these areas.
- Zoella's gender perfor­mat­ivity constructs a hegemo­nically situated and stereo­typical constr­uction of female identity, reinfo­rcing and potent­ially manipu­lating the dominant ideolo­gical perspe­ctive of her target.
- Zoella subverts stereo­typical repres­ent­ations of women, being open and honest about her issues with anxiety, and even occasi­onally appearing without makeup, once more making her more relatable to her young target audience.
- Postco­lonial readings will focus on only white people being repres­ented in her videos, inadve­rtently constr­ucting a racial hierarchy and enacting symbolic annihi­lation.

Media Industries

- YouTube channel homepage and her blog present a clear layout and clean user experi­ence.
- Zoella presents in her videos a hyperreal constr­uction of life, femininity and identity, presenting a fantastic yet relatable world to her target audience.
- Binary opposi­tions are constr­ucted through Zoella, the idealised femini­nity, and Alfie, the stereo­typical mascul­inity.
- Typical fashion and lifestyle channel, featuring a range of approp­riate paradi­gmatic features
- Delibe­rately amateurish cinema­tog­raphy and editing constructs Zoella as relatable and human for her young target audience.


- Audience engagement (time spent on respective sites) is maximised through algori­thm­ically optimised aspects such as YouTube's autoplay and's "Read Next" buttons.
- Revenue predom­inantly generated through advert­ising and click-­through
- Zoella herself is an indepe­ndent and vertically integrated organi­sation, utilising external distri­butors such as Hodder and Stoughton to publish her books.
- Zoella, like any other media industry, is motivated through profit and power.
- Self regulated, and occasi­onally has ran into legal implic­ations from her Instagram feed, after she was found guilty of promoting brands without announcing it was paid-for content.


- adopts a friendly and welcoming mode of address to its white, working class, hetero­sexual female target audience.
- Audience are invited to partic­ipate with Zoella, as shown through her recipes and instru­ctions for things such as making pancakes and other foods in her picnic articles.
- There are opport­unities for audiences to directly interact with Zoella, for example through YouTube comments and sometimes in public events, such as VidCon - a YouTub­er/fan meet-a­nd-­gre­et-­style event.
- Negotiated and opposi­tional readings may take exception to the capitalist nature of Zoella's marketing strategy, as seen in the "­fuc­kzo­ell­a" commen­tator on the old version of her blog.
- Since reinve­nting herself from Zoella to Zoe Sugg, Zoella has consci­ously targeted an older, yet still mainst­ream, working class female target audience.

-- How Zoella targets the audience through her content and the ways in which the content is marketed, distri­buted and circulated --

- Gender, female -

Emotive content- the videos appeal to its female audience through narratives that engage with subject matter emotio­nally. Zoella contin­uously tells us how she "­fee­ls" about the problems she faces.

Zoella foregr­ounds stereo­typical female­-based activities in her presen­tation: fashion, make-up, relati­ons­hips.

Costume stereo­typ­ically female- female colour palette deployed in mise-e­n-s­cene.

Use of pets and pet-or­ien­tated refere­nces.

Presenter constructs a version of ideal beauty- highly stylised, lots of makeup, attention paid to costume.

Intimate confes­sional tone- creates a relatable female character.

A quiet/­passive presen­tation style that fits with target audience expect­ations and female presenter stereo­types.

- Age, 13-24 -

Heavy use of social media (Insta­gram, Snapchat, YouTube) - these sites fit with the social media applic­ations most promin­ently used by this age group.

Youthful co-pre­sen­ters.

Deliberate amateur aesthetic suggests authen­ticity to this media-­sat­urated audience segment.

Everyday activities of this demogr­aphic are incorp­orated into narratives to create connec­tions with the target audience (shopping, stopping at drive-­thr­ough, eating at fast-food restau­rants).

Fan connec­tions showcased in uploads - fans represent the real target audience.

Light comedic tone effected

Youth oriented slang deployed

Use of YouTube commentary to create intimate connec­tions with the target audience.

Secondary target audience (parents and advert­isers); engaged by content that is safe in terms of sexual content and other taboo areas.

- Socio-­eco­nomic groups, BC1C2 -

- Partne­rships built with companies who target similar demogr­aphic groups (ASOS/­H&M) - companies who represent high street fashion at value prices.

- Language moderately formal - some extended language deployed with Standard English used to mirror lower-­mid­dle­-class values and educat­ional backgr­ound.

- Zoella's house represents an ideal youthful enviro­nment - a place of fun and social­ising.

- BC1C2 targeting allows uploads to be associated with more lucrative advert­ising tie-ins.

- Lifestyle, Bachelor -

Foregr­ounding of her hetero­sexual relati­onship with Alfie.

- Activities -

Zoella foregr­ounds stereo­typical female­-based activities in her presen­tation.

- Psycho­metric grouping - mainst­rea­mer­/as­pirer -

Narratives are apolitical, they rarely deal with serious social commen­tary. Choice of cars and home residence represent an aspira­tional life-style based upon material posses­sions and their acquis­ition.

- Aspirant tribe -

Zoella is concerned to be "­on-­tre­nd", she is constantly chasing the latest fashions. Zoella's vlogging lifestyle also represents an ideal job choice. Her wardrobe choices and hairstyles reflect a brand-­driven outlook. Her partne­rships and activities foreground a concern to be a "­social butter­fly­".


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