Purple-haired Wendy Ayche, better known as beauty tipster Wengie on YouTube, knows style — and code.
“I used to stay up all night to try and get this PHP code and CSS code in,” she said. “I’m a little nerd, which maybe not a lot of people can see.”
Now she can add another achievement to that list: a high-profile voice-acting gig. She’s the new Powerpuff Girl, Blisstina Consuela Utonium, in the Australia/New Zealand airing of the Cartoon Network series “The Powerpuff Girls“.
The show originally aired from 1998 to 2005. Remember Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, the three super-powered girls who fought crime? The series returned for several specials. Then in 2016, Cartoon Network rebooted it. The show is now in its second season.
On her path to YouTube fame, Wengie worked at Burger King and held jobs in accounting and social media. She coined what would become her YouTube username when teaching at a dance studio with another Wendy. To differentiate herself, she used her Chinese name Wen Jie, changing the “J” to a “G” because it would be easier to pronounce. (Wengie was born in Guangzhou, China, but grew up in Australia.)
“Basically Cartoon Network contacted me via email,” the 30-year-old said at the Cartoon Network office in Sydney. “I get a lot of emails, so at first I was like, is this a scam? Is this a prank? Is this real? So I got my team to double check. It’s the real deal.”
Boy, was it the real deal. And boy, did Wengie want the role.
“Auditions are weird to me because I’ve never auditioned for my own channel, I always get the main role. I never knew I wanted to be a Powerpuff Girl, but now it’s my life goal.”
There was screaming involved in reaching that goal.
“I had a professional voice coach judge me,” Wengie said. “She gave me opportunities to deliver some of the lines from the episodes, some of them pretty challenging as well, because you really have to get into it. This character screams a lot.”
So who is Bliss? We know she’s the fourth Powerpuff Girl and we know from the images she has blue hair, which happens to be Wengie’s “life goal hair colour.”
Bliss is also a “bit taller than the other girls.” That’s because Bliss is a teenager, while the other three sisters are perpetually in kindergarten.
“What I love about her is she’s so different to the other three, because the other three have been doing this for a long time and saving the world. They’re powerful, they’re confident, they have their own personalities and she’s a little more vulnerable and new,” Wengie said.
Both Wengie and Bliss appeal to a young demographic. Wengie posts videos including “DIY Edible School Supplies — 8 Pranks for Back to School,” which has 35 million views so far, and “Late for School Routine 5 Minute Makeup, Hairstyle & Clothes Outfit Tips,” which has 12 million views.
Bliss is “this cute, really relatable character,” Wengie said. “Everyone can see a bit of themselves in her and I can see myself in her as well, because I used to be a little bit of a loner, insecure.”
Bliss also shares similarities with Wonder Woman from the hugely popular . On the island of Themyscira, populated solely by female Amazonian warriors, there’s a strong theme of sisterhood.
“Bliss’s journey in finding herself, I think Wonder Woman had an element of that,” Wengie said. “She started off very insecure, being bossed around by people, just listening to people, but she got her own thoughts after a while, like I know I’m going to do this, and be powerful.”
Growing up, Wengie loved drawing anime and playing fighting games (her favourite game was King of Fighters), but nerdom wasn’t the only thing that prepared her for her YouTube career. Business acumen gained from working in accounting and marketing helped bring her success on a crowded platform.
“Being a YouTuber and being a successful YouTuber involves you bridging that line from making videos in your bedroom to actually building a production company/media business,” she said.
In fact, YouTube is the hardest career she’s had, she said. It’s one she can’t do alone, working with her fiance and a team of editors.
“We work seven days a week. I don’t think we’ve had a holiday for two years. In fact, I’ve turned down great paid island holidays.” Companies wanted her to post photos to Instagram, but she couldn’t go, simply because she had to make videos.
That hustle helped her achieve her first milestone: the silver button, a plaque from YouTube that marks 100,000 subscribers. For Wengie, it was another “life goal”. Then she got the gold button at 1 million. It was like she’d achieved a level in a video game.
“I’m a gamer. So for me it just made sense to game for the button. I just want to get that badge, you know? So yeah, that drove a lot of my motivation in the beginning.”
The next level is the diamond button: 10 million.
“My whole life I wanted that button. I didn’t do it for the fame or the money. I just wanted that button.”
Being a nerd is the “basis of how I started this whole career,” Wengie said.
Bliss will be introduced in “The Powerpuff Girls: Power of Four”, a five-part movie airing in the US on Sept. 17, where Bliss will be voiced by South African singer Toya Delazy. It will be released with Wengie as Bliss on Sept. 18 in Australia. The UK air date is to come.
Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here’s your place for the lighter side of tech.
Batteries Not Included: The CNET team shares experiences that remind us why tech stuff is cool.