Zoe Sugg nearly walked out of brother Joe’s West End debut because of anxiety

YouTube star Zoe Sugg has said she was recently overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety so strong she nearly walked out during her brother Joe Sugg’s West End debut in Waitress.

The millionaire vlogger and author said she had to talk herself out of leaving the theatre while sat in the audience before her Strictly Come Dancing star brother – who also rose to fame on YouTube – took to the stage in the hit musical for the first time.

Recalling the anxiety she felt while sat in the theatre, she told Grazia magazine: “I sometimes have an overwhelming feeling of ‘I can’t be here and I can’t be doing this’.

Zoe Sugg
Zoe Sugg (David Titlow/Grazia)

“All of a sudden I got this overwhelming feeling of ‘You need to leave now’, and I thought, ‘I can’t be that sister who legs it before my brother walks out on stage!’

“I’ve been taught to know when it’s happening, why, and what I can do to make myself feel better. So I kept reminding myself – ‘I want to be here, so feeling like I need to leave isn’t real’.

“But years ago, I would 100% have left.”

Having rose to fame 10 years ago at the age of 19 with her fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog and YouTube channel, Sugg – otherwise known as Zoella – has previously talked about experiencing panic attacks and having crippling self-doubt alongside a psychological condition called imposter syndrome.

Sugg, 29, said she felt the need to talk about her problems in her YouTube video Dealing with Anxiety and Panic Attacks.

Joe Sugg joins the cast of Waitress
Joe Sugg on stage in Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre London (David Jensen/PA)

“It looked like I had this perfect life but I wanted people to know the whole picture,” she said.

“I wanted to be like, ‘Actually sometimes I struggle – that time you saw me on stage I was crying two minutes beforehand’.”

On the importance of taking a break from social media, Sugg said: “Sometimes I get so consumed in everything I’m doing I don’t prioritise myself as much as I should – that’s something I always advocate as there’s only one of yourself, so look after you.

“So I took a step back. I refocused; it was kind of a realignment.”

Speaking ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Sugg shared her support for Grazia’s Where’s Your Head At? campaign, which calls for mental and physical health to be given parity of treatment in workplaces and colleges.

She said: “It would be incredible if more employers were open to mental health.

“It would be so great if people could can say to their boss, ‘I know I’ve not broken a leg but I need a sick day for my mind’.

“There’s a first aid course that you can go on for mental health. When I worked in previous jobs I would have loved to feel comfortable enough to say ‘I’m really struggling’.”

Grazia is available now.