Joe Sugg stole the hearts of many when his rise to fame became evident via his Youtube channel; VULKAN sat down with the budding star to see how his experience has been, and what we can expect to see in the future!
Can you tell us a bit about your rise to fame on the Internet and how it has changed your day-to-day life?
Umm…my rise to ‘fame’-I don’t know, it’s a bit weird to call it that-but my rise to where I am now, I’d say, happened very quick. I’ve been doing YouTube for five years, 4 years full-time, and beforehand, I was a roof thatcher-which is a very physical job. I’d start at 8am and I’d finish at 6pm and it was very tough. With YouTube, I’m the busiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I can always remember, before plunging into YouTube full time, asking my management if I could actually do it and we really didn’t know; it was a bit of a gamble. Obviously, I was really lucky with the people I knew-my sister helped me get into it, as well as other YouTubers-and I’ve been around the right people at the right time. However, like I said, it’s made me a very busy boy, so you never really switch off.
What do you love the most about your job?
What I love the most about my job is the fact that I have an audience who love what is essentially watching me have fun with my mates and do amazingly cool things. What I also love about my job is that anything that happens, be it good or bad, I can film it, document it, and share it with my following, which they really appreciate. I’m a creative person so I love thinking of new ways to entertain people, whether it’s a new game, new challenge, or even semi-okay impressions. I want to be an entertainer…that’s all I want to be.
Aside from your Youtube stardom, you’ve also dabbled in music, to help fundraise for various causes. Did you enjoy those experiences?
We got the opportunity to do a charity single for Comic Relief back in the day, all the boys and myself, and we loved it…it was such good fun! I’ve grown up watching things like Comic Relief, so to be to be part of it and to help make a difference to people’s lives was amazing. Raising money for a great cause but also having a laugh with my mates was just a win-win; the best possible situation. Then we were also able to work with Band Aid, which was a very different kettle of fish. It was my sister, Alfie, and I in a room full of some of the biggest musical artists in the world, and I’ve never felt so out of my comfort zone. We were the only ones there that weren’t these amazing singers, so it was a very bizarre experience but it was for a great cause. It was just great to be there and it was an absolute honor. It was one of the most memorable days of my life and even though I’ve never felt so out of my comfort zone, I enjoyed every second of it.
What charities and causes are most important to you?
For me, I think they all are. I don’t think there’s a single charity that deserves more focus than another; they’re all equally as important.
Do you think music is something you’ll take more seriously in the future?
Yes, I’m currently writing my first album…just joking. With me, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. We’ve got an engaged following online, which I’m very lucky to have, and there are so many things I want to try out. I don’t know how long I’m going to be in this position for, but I want to ride the wave for as long as possible. I also feel like I just want to be an entertainer! That’s why I brought out the two graphic novels, that’s why I did the DVD with Caspar, and that’s why I make these videos every week. I never want to stick to one thing, I always want to go forward with the next challenge and try something new. I know music is one of those things that a vast majority of my audience want me to do. I guess I’ll see how it goes. I mean, the buzz we’re getting from the “Joe and Caspar Hit The Road USA Tour” is great, and I always wonder what it must be like to go up on stage on your own and sing to an audience. That’s the next stage to adrenaline, in my opinion.
Your sister has also known Youtube success. How did you both get started in it?
So Zoe had a blog-she’s always been into Fashion and Beauty. It all started as a hobby and she never intended for it to get to the size that it is now. She’d write posts, a couple of people would read them, and that would be enough for her. She just wanted to share her thoughts with anyone who would listen and that grew to what it is now. Being the older sister, she said “Joe, you’ve been making videos with mum and dad’s’ camcorder for years now, why not make videos and put them on YouTube?” I responded with “what’s the point?” and then one day, she decided to include me in one of her videos. I remember I was actually hung-over at the time and I didn’t want to be in it. We did the sibling tag and I remember seeing all the comments saying “Joe should start his own channel” and Zoe was like “yeah, you should do it…you make stuff like this anyway, so why not put it on YouTube?” Zoe then introduced me to people like Alfie, Marcus, Jim, and Caspar and I would watch their videos all the time and think this is something I could do! I had all these ideas that maybe Alfie could do this, or Caspar could do that, but then I thought hang on a minute, maybe I should be doing them, so I gave it a go!
Your DARE series is pretty hilarious! What is the most outrageous thing a fan has ever dared you to do? Did you do it?
I usually pick out the dares I know I can do. I’ll pick out ones that are outside my comfort zone, but will also make great viewing. In terms of the worst, there’s not really a ‘worst’ dare…they’re all pretty bad. I remember snorting a shot of balsamic vinegar and obviously that stung a lot more than I thought.
How do you come up with new content every day? Do you find it overwhelming to have to keep things constantly fresh?
I’d say that’s one of the biggest challenges of what we do. I’m doing all these exciting things outside of YouTube but at the end of the day, the main fan base, if you will, is on YouTube. If it wasn’t for my channel, I wouldn’t be able to do all these other cool things. So I know YouTube is my most important thing and creating new content is what I think makes a channel stand out. It’s a fun process, but it’s also very difficult. It takes a lot of trial and error but it’s the most rewarding thing when you’ve thought of something yourself and it goes down really well with the audience.
Having such a huge audience, you’re subject to a lot of admirers and haters. What’s the best feedback you’ve received? What’s the worst?
Any positive feedback is the best feedback for me. It’s just nice when you get comments like “I really like the way you come across in your videos” or compliments around what I do online and the content I make, rather than comments on what I look like. The best ones are when people compliment my humor! In terms of hate, surprisingly, I very rarely see hate in my comments. In terms of haters, one thing I know they want is a reaction or a response, so I don’t give them the time of day. I’d rather focus my attention on positive comments and reply to them.
Have you ever thought of trying your hand at acting (on the big screen)? Do you think your experience on the Tube has prepared you for something like that?
I think my time on YouTube has definitely made me more confident. I used to be the shy guy at school and I’m quite shy around new people, until I get to know them really well…that’s when I become the crazy Joe Sugg. However, going back to the big screen question, I would love to give it a go! Like I said though, I have no idea how long this is going to go on for, so might as well make the most of it whilst I can and experience everything. You only regret the things you didn’t do in life.
We see that you’re the author of a graphic novel, “Username: Evie,” with a sequel set to be released this year. What inspires your writing? How do you develop your characters? Is it more of a solo project or a collaborative work?
I wouldn’t say I’m an author…I’d say I’m part of a team who produced a graphic novel. It’s not a one-person process, there’s a lot that goes into it-I am a good drawer, though. I had an amazing time making it and I love it; it’s got kids reading again. I’ve always been into graphic novels and comic books growing up, and that’s why this book is a Joe Sugg kind of thing to do.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Joseph Sinclair
STYLIST: Krishan Parmar
MAKEUP ARTIST: Lauren Griffin Using MAC
HAIR STYLIST: Kieron Webb using The London Barber grooming range
INTERVIEWED BY: Rebecca Besnos – VULKAN Editor