If Zoella is the inspiration for every woman under 20, who's inspiring the 30-somethings?

I’m honestly not sure I can manage any more. I’ve survived a morning watching vlogger YouTube videos and, if forced to sit through another, I think I might suffocate myself face down in one of their featured cupcakes.

With their fishtail-plait how-to videos, and pug-accessorised Instagram posts, the Zoellas and Tanya Burrs of this world are dictating how a whole generation of British teenagers live.

Professionally, I’m happy to explain why this bedroom-based influencer revolution is so important to brands right now (it is, there’s a much longer, more insightful report I can send you). Personally, however, I’m in my (mid)-Thirties and I don’t want to watch anyone unpack their latest Asos delivery, no matter how fantastic their contouring might be.

I’m not the only one. In an entirely unscientific survey I conducted via my Facebook friends – who are by and large in their thirties – I could find only one person who admitted watching Zoella online. However, I could also only find one who was still buying things recommended in magazines.

But we are still being influenced. The lack of room in my wardrobe at home is testament to the fact. But by who?

For an age group I’m dubbing pre-Millennials, the list of influencers aren’t a million miles away in terms of themes from the generation behind. Fashion and beauty are still important, although interiors, fitness and food make a bigger impact than they do for the young ‘uns.

The platform isn’t that different either. Thirty-somethings are less YouTube-led, but certainly not less web-led. Instagram in particular is proving a huge source of (insta)-inspo, closely followed by blogs, Pinterest and magazine-style websites.

What really differs is the absence of hero worship.

Women in this age group are seeking out opinions and lifestyles they genuinely value, rather than zeroing in on one person and blindly following them to Superdrug and back

The 14-year-olds want everything Tanya Burr recommends, because it’s Tanya Burr. The 34-year-olds, meanwhile, want the beauty products Sally Hughes (a personal favourite) recommends because she’s consistently shown she really knows what works and what doesn’t. We don’t necessarily want to know about the rest of her life.

Deliciously Ella is a case in point. While I have long since un-followed her quinoa-soaked, impossibly perfect Instagram feed, which made me want to stick wheat-free bread sticks in both eyes, I’m still merrily making recipes from her book and app, because they’re healthy and even a kitchen dunce like me can manage them.*

So, who makes the grade?

Deliciously Ella: Inspiring a generation of women to choose kale over chocolate at the checkout.

Sally Hughes: Guardian beauty columnist and author of Pretty Honest. Best bob in the business with a perfectly rouged cheek that’s not turned by stupidly priced products.

Caroline Hirons: Skincare expert who breaks through the bullshit

Liberty London Girl: Foodie fashion editor. As likely to turn you on to an amazing place to buy heritage tomatoes as prompt the purchase of a new pair of shoes.

Garance Dore: Impeccably dressed fashion photographer, illustrator and brand collaborator

Jasmine & Melissa Hemsley: Probably the reason you’ve got a spiralizer in your kitchen

Rachel Brathen, aka Yoga Girl: Aruba-living, Swedish-born yoga teacher who coined the much-used hashtag #yogaeverydamnday

Lauren Laverne: DJ, broadcaster, columnist and now, as co-founder of The Pool, internet entrepreneur

Pandora Sykes: Sunday Times Style’s resident Wardrobe Mistress and much-followed fashionable Instagrammer


* Disclosure. I’ve only actually made four of her recipes. While they’re easy, calling in at Whole Foods on the way home is even easier. But next time I have a day off, I’m definitely going to try recipe number 5. Definitely.


Carla Buzasi