Deliciously Stella is probably not who you think she is.
No, she does not post pictures of courgetti, nor selfies in various yoga poses or whilst ‘indulging’ in a sweet potato brownie.
This blogger has become ‘instafamous’ by doing the exact opposite: mocking the gigantic flood of wellness and clean-eating bloggers engulfing the internet with an arguably much more memorable parody account.
The brains behind the Instagram account followed by 125,000 and counting is Bella Younger (she initially wanted to go with ‘Deliciously Bella’ but found it was taken), a 28-year-old comedian from London.
After trying her hand at journalism and copy-writing, Younger started the account because the ubiquitous ‘clean eating’, gluten-free, paleo, dairy-free, wheat-free hashtags and didactic accounts clogging her feed left her feeling overwhelmed.
“There was so many avocados on Instagram,” she says over coffee. “Everyone’s food was so perfect all the time and I was like ‘I’m disgusting, I’ve got hula hoops in my hair and I’m so hungover all the time and I feel my life is so far from as together as these women’s’.”
Deciding there needed to be an alternative, Younger launched her alter-ego ‘Deliciously Stella’. While she may be wildly popular now, not everyone was amused at first.
“When I first did it, I sent it to two friends and my friend text me back and goes: ‘You’re never going to get a boyfriend again’ and then it started taking off and I said: ‘You were wrong. I mean, you weren’t wrong I haven’t had a boyfriend since then but that’s a choice’.”
Examples of posts include pictures of ‘energy balls’ (Pizza Express dough balls) and ‘cacao and coconut cookies’ ( a four-pack of Bounty chocolate cookies).
The comments on her pictures are testament to how relatable the account is. Underneath a photo captioned: “Starting this coconut juice cleanse tomorrow and I can’t wait to get started,” along with the hashtags #getttheglow #eatclean to accompany a picture of cans of Malibus’ finest Strawberry Kiwi rum cocktail, comments include: “This page is too funny”, “Now this is the type of cleanse I want to do” and “Follow this girl”.
The only negative reaction she’s had thus far was from someone genuinely concerned Younger was dishing out harmful nutritional advice. She was forced to clarify to them that it was all in the name of comedy.
“I was like: ‘I’m so sorry, it’s a parody account. I definitely don’t think people should drink WKD for breakfast […] Other than that it has been fine, people just sort of take it with a pinch of salt because it is so ridiculous.”
Behind all the humour and wit - and Younger is very funny, both in reality and online - she does take an issue with the way clean eating perpetuates another type of perfection for women to aspire to, labelling the trend “very Stepford wife-y”.
“My issue is that it holds women up to an unrealistic standard and it gives us this absolutely unrealistic ideal that we have to constantly be perfect and lovely and it is really Stepford Wife-y. It’s just really not what I’m about at all.
“I think, in a way, it can be great because it has given all these women a chance to build their own businesses and it has done so much for female entrepreneurship – and that’s brilliant – but I think, on the other hand, it is a little bit anti-feminist in the way it says eating this way and looking this way and doing this is the only way to be good. Words like ‘clean’ and stuff like that… it’s suggesting that my life in how I get up and get on the tube and commute to work and eat crisps and get pissed is unclean and therefore bad and that is what annoyed me.”
So how do those female entrepreneurs who have made a career out of documenting their nutrition, fitness and wellness advice on social media react to Younger? Surprisingly well: many of those who inspire her account are among her fans including Clean Eating Alice, Madeline Shaw and Tess Ward who is a good friend.
“They’re great, they love it, they’re so nice. […] It’s actually really nice because I was a bit like ‘Woah am I being mean?’ and they were all like: ‘No, fine whatever’.”
Younger was surprised to see Millie Mackintosh, the former Made In Chelsea star who has since gained 1.2 million Instagram followers with her food, fashion and fitness posts - i.e. the “antithesis” to Deliciously Stella - following her.
When I asked why she follows Younger, Mackintosh explained: “I do follow Deliciously Stella. I believe life is about balance and variation and I don’t deny myself treats as and when I feel like indulging. I think her account is honest and non conformist.”
Health bloggers aside, Younger thinks her account resonates with others because, like her, they too were sick of the amount of hashtags, photos and avocados.
“I think we were just overrun of pictures and pictures of perfection and sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that people are normal, loads of people are still just being normal,” Younger says.
“Even just on Facebook with people you know, girls you went to uni with etc. You think ‘Oh they’re life looks amazing, she’s gone on a nice holiday’, but she might have just been dumped or her dog might have died. She might be having a terrible time and you just don’t know. Social media is not an accurate representation at all of what people are doing.”
Younger concedes this to be true in her own case: “Sometimes I wake up and am like ‘I just don’t feel very funny today, I don’t feel like putting something up that’s like ‘I’m always having a ‘lol’ and I am just this fun, jaunty person all the time’.”
This represents a wider problem with Instagram, Younger says, that it presents the accounts we follow as “peers”.
“It’s not, ‘Oh this is a celebrity’, it’s ‘oh this is just a girl sipping on a green juice who looks unbelievably amazing’. What you don’t realise is that she’s taken 55 of those selfies and then she's got one and face-tuned it, filtered it and made herself look lovely. You know what, she’s got every right to do that but 15-year-old girls don’t realise that’s being done.”
Younger’s Instafame has led her onto bigger things in a remarkably short amount of time. When we meet she is rehearsing for her one-woman comedy show at Edinburgh fringe, has a weekly podcast and recently appeared on a BBC Three short segment where she advised viewers on the best way to get rid of “muffin tops” before proceeding to eat the tops off four chocolate muffins.
“I’m just going to keep going. It’s been amazing for my career, I was basically a completely unknown comedian and now I’m someone who gets asked to do really cool stuff.”
Bella Younger’s Deliciously Stella is at Pleasance Below in Edinburgh until 28 August.
Deliciously Stella's guide to eating in Edinburgh
""Being a busy wellness guru, I often find myself travelling all over the country, spreading my healthy message. My followers often ask me how I stay healthy when I’m on the go and I always say that the most important thing to do, is do your research. Luckily for me, Scotland is renowned for its unique approach to healthy eating and Edinburgh is no exception.
When I’m in Edinburgh I like to eat locally sourced so I try to only eat food within walking distance of my Edinburgh show venue. I’m at the Pleasance this year so I’ll be visiting Tempting tattie and the Castle Rock chippie in the Grass Market. If I’m going low carb I’ll just look for the nearest place that serves a deep fried haggis.
One of my favourite things about Edinburgh’s wellness cafe’s is that they will batter anything. You could say that the deep fat fryer is Scotland’s nutribullet and it never fails to add something extra special to your favourite healthy dish. Deep fried courgetti and avocados are delicious and nutritious and are a great alternative to a raw food diet. Cafe Piccante on Broughton street is a favourite. They’re known as the disco chippy so you can dance yourself to a healthier, happier you while waiting for your nourishing dish.
A lot of people like to take vitamin tablets to boost their diet but the Scots have got real tablet. Tablet is so nourishing and delicious. Head to the fudge kitchen on the Royal Mile to find all the healthy tablets you could ever need.
I like to make sure I juice cleanse at least once a week and when I’m in Scotland the first cleanse I go to is Buckfast. Buckfast is full of fortified (which means healthy) grapes which are one of your five a day and bursting with invigorating vitamins to keep you feeling energised all day long.
As I’m sure you know, porridge is such a brilliant, healthy way to start the day. Obviously porridge is nothing without the toppings so make sure to add an extra helping of goodness with some of Scotland’s famous berries. I love foraging. A great place to find produce is Lickety Splits sweet shop on Jeffrey Street. Their selection is amazing so you’ll be sure to find all the soor plooms and gummy raspberries you could want. Also don’t forget that porridge isn’t porridge unless it’s washed down with a nourishing Irn Bru.
One of the first things people ask me about my lifestyle is ‘am I allowed to snack?’ Luckily the answer is absolutely yes. I always like to keep some healthy energy balls to hand when I’m out and about and the Scots have got spherical food nailed. Having a couple of Tunnocks tea cakes in a tupperware is a great way to make sure you’ve always got something healthy to reach for when you’re on the go.”
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