Who is Zoella and why is she baking off for Comic Relief?

Meet the YouTube sensation who is set to take the Bake Off tent by storm for Red Nose Day

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Any celebrity reality TV line-up is bound to feature at least one face you don’t recognise and this year’s Comic Relief Bake Off special is no exception.

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Sitting pretty among household names like Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Jonathan Ross is Zoella. She may look like your average twenty-something tween idol but this Brighton based blogger is a force to be reckoned with.

Surely that’s not her real name?

Zoella is the online alias of Zoe Sugg, a beauty blogger turned YouTube sensation who shot to fame thanks to her videos about everything from what’s in her handbag to high street fashion hauls.

She’s been amassing a miniature army of fans from across the globe since she began blogging in 2009 and currently has more than 7 million YouTube subscribers.

And that’s just on ONE of her YouTube channels. She has two. As you do.

Has she actually done anything of note though?

Sugg is probably most famous for sharing her experiences with anxiety and panic attacks online. She’s been dealing with them since her teens and her videos offering advice about coping are among some of her most popular.

They were so popular in fact, that mental health charity Mind picked the plucky vlogger to become their first Digital Ambassador. She fronted their #DontPanicButton appeal, aimed at raising awareness of anxiety and panic attacks in young people.

And then there was that debut novel of hers, Girl Online. It sent Sugg straight into the record books when it was released in December, selling more copies in its first week – 78,000 to be precise – than any other book since Nielsen BookScan’s records began back in 1998.

There was a bit of a to-do over just how much help she had writing it – publisher Penguin admitted that it had indeed been ghost written – but we probably shouldn’t mention the war. She still has a deal for a second book after all.

And she makes the Bake Off line-up why?

Well if she was good enough for Band Aid – she joined the line-up along with best-selling ‘Pointless Book’ (no, seriously) author, fellow YouTuber and boyfriend Alfie Deyes – surely she’s good enough for Bake Off?

On a boat with @pointlessblog in Greece! He's my favourite ⛵️

A post shared by Zoella (@zoella) on


Teens and young adults worship at the altar of Zoella, with her Facebook page clocking up more than two million likes, her Instagram account boasting three and a half million followers, and her Tweets cherished by more than two million people.

What can we expect from her during her time in the Bake Off tent?

Plenty of fun, if her Twitter feed is anything to go by: She’s been happily posting behind the scenes snaps of herself and Gok Wan since the big reveal this morning.

“Bake Off is one of my favourite programmes so I was genuinely a little bit shocked and very excited when I was asked to take part”, Sugg revealed.

Sounds like someone had a Berry good time indeed.

That’s all well and good but can she bake a cake?

Take a detour to Sugg’s YouTube channel and you’ll see that she’s no stranger to an oven. In fact, she enjoys a good bake herself.

“My advice for people wanting to hold a bake for Red Nose Day is to get your friends involved,” she says. “It’s always nice to have more than just two hands if you’re making cakes.”

It’s clear that she practices what she preaches, getting boyfriend Alfie into the kitchen to whip up some cupcakes – is there nothing to be said for the humble bun any more? – with errr, interesting results.

Let’s hope her signature Banana Salted Caramel Cupcakes and Brighton Beach Hit Marble Cake Showstopper Bake end up looking a little less ghastly.

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See the full roster of Comic Relief bakers here and watch Zoella Bake Off against Jonathan Ross, Gok Wan and Abbey Clancy on Wed 18 Feb, 8pm BBC1.