Deliciously Ella has gone too far. She’s created a weird kale-based cult
Ella’s taking over the world and I’m scared
Healthy food and lifestyle super-blogger Ella Woodward is launching a new website, “Love Yourself”, costing £35 for 12 weeks of access to the plan.
Ella’s hugely successful debut recipe book “Deliciously Ella: Awesome Ingredients and Incredible Food that You and Your Body Will Love” is a number one Amazon Bestseller, with over 200,000 sales since its launch this spring.
Her Deliciously Ella app is consistently at the top of the AppStore Food and Drink category, and she now has a regular column in the Telegraph, advising readers on cooking “The Deliciously Ella way”.
The twenty three year old started her blog two years ago as a way to encourage herself to try more plant-based recipes while overcoming a rare disease, and has become an international success at the forefront of healthy living.
She now runs her hugely lucrative Deliciously Ella business from her office in Bloomsbury.
She has pioneered a natural, wholesome, “glowing-from-the-inside-out” movement for 21st Century Sloanes, and can almost single-handedly claim to have made kale “cool”for this strata of society.
But is her new website a step too far?
Jetting off to the Caribbean, sipping on a £6 cold-pressed green juice or doing headstands with her personal trainer, it’s easy to envy Deliciously Ella’s seemingly perfect life.
She is young, beautiful and by all accounts lovely, but there are concerns that the Deliciously Ella movement has crossed over from lifestyle inspiration and become a lifestyle cult.
Her website “Love Yourself” will advise obsessive fans not only on how to cook like Ella and work out like Ella, but also how to mimic every aspect of her life.
People are no longer only inspired by her wholesome recipes of coconut oil and medjool dates, but by her wardrobe, her holiday destinations, her nail varnish, her hair colour and her beauty regimes.
By putting herself on such a public pedestal, Ella has made herself hugely successful, but has also left her private life vulnerable and open to scrutiny.
Her unprecedented success has been dismissed by some as being aided by her privileged family background; daughter of MP Shaun Woodward and Camilla Sainsbury, the Evening Standard described her as “politician’s daughter from one of the country’s wealthiest supermarket dynasties.”
Privately educated at Rugby School, she grew up in a multi-million pound Oxfordshire mansion, Sarsden House, which has its own Wikipedia page. Her family also own a villa in the Hamptons and a holiday home on Mustique, among numerous other properties.
One of the main criticisms of Deliciously Ella is that she is out of touch with reality. Normal people cannot afford to pop down to WholeFoods to pick up a kilogram of almond butter or a pot of spirulina.
People will full-time jobs don’t have the time to soak almonds for 24 hours to activate them, or slave away spiralizing courgettes to make healthy spaghetti.
So, she’s balling, but that’s not necessarily the point.
Ella has recently received comments on Instagram saying “you make my skin crawl”, and “your body is shit,” and she says that these sorts of messages are common.
Brushing off Ella’s success and jealously pooh-poohing her because of her influential is a total cop-out. Yes, Ella has had head starts in life, but she has also had massive set-backs due to illness, and it hasn’t all been easy sailing.
Ella was diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome in 2011, and turned to a plant-based diet in desperation after conventional medicine failed to help her. Overnight, she gave up meat, fish, gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and slowly began to turn her life around.
In the face of these criticisms, Ella is quick to remind blog-readers that “Just like everyone else, she tells us, ‘I cry, I stress, I panic and all the rest of it.”
“We don’t tend to post photos of ourselves crying…but that doesn’t meant that we don’t all do it.”
It can be hard to differentiate Deliciously Ella from Ella Woodward, a real young woman with feelings and insecurities, but her new website seems to just extrapolate this problem.
People hold so much misplaced belief in the power of Deliciously Ella to transform their frumpy, boring lives into the virtual life of this smiling, well-dressed yoga bunny, and her new website is exploiting this power.
Ella herself writes on her blog:
“Social media creates a world of constant comparisons, we’re no longer just comparing ourselves with our friends and the people around us but we’re now comparing ourselves with hundreds or even thousands of total strangers.”
And yet, by literally selling her lifestyle for £35 direct debit, Ella is actively promoting the commercialization of her personal life, and encouraging people to scrutinize her every action.
She can no longer just be Ella Woodward, because creating this website she is transforming herself into a brand and a commodity.
She has created 6 weeks of meal plans and detailed shopping lists, so that as people open the fridge in the morning, as they strut around Waitrose and as they spend £80 on a pair of yoga pants, they’re living as mini clones of virtual Ella.
And the problem with this, as she herself tells readers, is that “my Instagram life is not my whole life,” meaning that however many baobob energy balls we stuff ourselves with, our life will never fully emulate her perfect virtual life, because it just isn’t real.