It would be easy to label this “Zoella as you’ve never seen her before”, but that’s not necessarily true. If you’re familiar with Zoe, you’ll likely have seen her about as raw as it gets. On her YouTube channels she consistently presents herself as authentic, laid back and endearingly honest – but oddly that’s a role the mainstream media rarely allows her to fulfil. Whilst her cover feature in December’s issue of Blogosphere Magazine refreshingly showcases her as the accomplished, independent 26-year-old woman she is, there’s a tendency elsewhere to pigeonhole and portray her as a PG poster girl for the online generation. There’s no disputing that she’s still inspiring when polished and glossy, but there’s something about the stripped back styling of this shoot that’s just, well… so wonderfully Zoe.
It comes as absolutely no surprise that Zoe and the entire Blogosphere team have been announcing their adoration for the finished results. As Kate Pope – the magnificent hair and makeup artist behind the look – neatly puts it, “the message for this shoot was simple: to show Zoe for Zoe.” Mission accomplished.
“She has evolved from the teenage phenomenon into a beautiful woman,” Kate adds, “something the press has not allowed her to become.”
Set in a town house in Brighton with the sunshine pouring in, every image from the shoot radiates a relaxed combination of vulnerability and strength, and a unique kind of authenticity that Blogosphere somehow seems to have perfected.
From Marcus Butler to Victoria Magrath, each issue of the magazine presents a look at its cover star that simply wouldn’t be possible with any other publication. Editor Alice Audley is always on hand, to ensure what’s being created is a true representation of the subject and her vision, and amongst the team there’s an understanding of the unique world of online celebrity that you’d rarely find elsewhere. Put simply, they’re there to highlight the genuine individuals behind the global brands; not moulding them into anything they’re not, just celebrating what’s already there.
And that’s exactly what makes Kate the perfect fit.
“I aim to have a client looking like themselves on their best day,” she explains, “with that glow of being in love and happy; shining from within and feeling great!” Building her career around the philosophy that makeup should be used to enhance what’s already there, rather than hide it, she believes that “camouflage needn’t be thick and heavy; a little guidance in the right direction can make a whole lot of difference.” And her work is absolutely a testament to that!
From television and runway shows to helping brides feel truly, deeply confident all day long, every individual creation of Kate’s radiates the genuinely love and investment she feels for her work. When asked about her career highlights the answers are without exception focused around the way she has been able to make her clients feel about themselves, and it’s clear she really does believe in using makeup as a compliment, not a shield to hide behind. Summing up her philosophy, “I don’t create masks.”
This turn of phrase is more appropriate than you’d think, as Kate’s final role before pursuing a career in hair & makeup was performing in the Phantom of the Opera. As a ballerina, her introduction to makeup was a world away from Zoe’s fresh-faced cover image, creating characters and working with heavy stage makeup, but as her style developed she came to appreciate the power of subtlety.
That being said, her dramatic background still shines through when working on the makeup for runway shows. Not only are the looks more experimental, but she thrives on the buzzing atmosphere backstage. “The show must go on, nerves are good and pressure is essential.”
There’s something almost magic about someone who truly pours their heart into their work, and whether it’s a model, a bride or Zoella, Kate’s dedication to helping her clients shine is unwavering and remarkable. So while it may seem as though this is a brand new side to Zoe, maybe – just maybe – what we’re actually seeing is her finally being presented as herself.