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‘They feel they can be much more intrusive because they see themselves as friends.
Which is true and what’s so magical about the relationship, but it feels a bit weird because our talent don’t see themselves as being any better, bigger or more famous than the people who are watching.’ The multimillion-dollar question is, of course, why is this select bunch so successful?
Thatcher Joe, real name Joe Sugg, who shares a flat with Caspar Lee, is Zoella’s younger brother. Tanya Burr is engaged to Jim Chapman, whose older sisters are behind Pixiwoo.
‘Our absolute priority is preserving the relationships between them and their audience, because that is much more valuable than any kind of deal,’ Smales says.
‘If a commercial third party approached and offered the world in terms of money, you wouldn’t find many of them would take that deal if it meant damaging their relationship with their viewers. If you talked to any of them they would say the same.’ Along with the money and the screaming fans come downsides, as with any kind of fame.
Ask a 14-year-old girl who her favourite celebrity is and you may get a surprising answer.
More than likely it will not be Katy Perry, Emma Watson or even Harry Styles, but a 24-year-old from Brighton called Zoe.