Hair styled in a long high ponytail. Lips painted in a popping shade of red that adds even more sexiness to her statement outfit. A black, see-through lace bodysuit paired with streetwear pants of the same color, along with a matching jacket, all accented by a gorgeous set of pearls and white heels. On this sunny winter day, the look of YouTube star Dulce Candy Ruiz fills the streets of her friendly Californian neighborhood with boldness and a fresh breeze of creativity. As she poses in the driveway of her home, Jesse, her husband and biggest supporter, masters her angles and captures the best portraits of her.
Courtesy of Dulce Candy Ruiz/Instagram
From the outside, it looks just like a regular day in the life of a YouTuber who has more than a million followers on Instagram alone. Yet, when Dulce and I both sit down for an interview, I understand from the honesty and vulnerability she exudes that it was, in fact, the day everything changed. It was the day she'd finally gathered enough strength to steer away from the empire that she built to spread her wings and fly to new horizons.
"We were simply outside doing this photo shoot, and I don't know what possessed me," she explains. "I wasn't expecting myself to do that, but I did. I grabbed my phone and tweeted it out: I'm quitting YouTube."
Making the Shift: A Bold Move to Let Go
Courtesy of Dulce Candy Ruiz
The decision for Dulce to quit YouTube took five years. "I didn't have a lot of confidence to let go in the past because I was unclear as to what I wanted to do with my life, which is why it took me so long to redirect my energy," she confesses. "Because YouTube was a safe space for me—it provided me with a lot of stability, I knew what to expect—I kept reverting to the same old pattern and cycle."
Indeed, since 2008, Dulce has positioned herself as a major force in the beauty and fashion industry. Over time, her blog and social media posts, along with her viral YouTube videos, turned her into a trusted source. Most importantly, she's been able to live off of her passion even though she was convinced that foregoing a higher level of education after high school would reduce her chances of one day becoming successful. It's not hard to imagine how much of a tough choice it was to close the book on her biggest accomplishments—let alone in current times when the world is experiencing a devastating pandemic.
When asked what prompted such a bold move, Dulce admits that although YouTube was her safe space, it was no longer her healthy space. Quite the contrary, it had become somewhat of a glass ceiling that was preventing her from elevating to her higher self. "I didn't see myself growing on that platform anymore. I'd reached a point where the things that used to come easy to me before, like editing videos, setting up the lighting and background, or even the content that I was producing as a whole, left me feeling restricted and became difficult to do," she recalls. "I was often making excuses and was also constantly debating whether it was the kind of life I wanted to live or not. I considered these as big signs that it was time for me to move on."
"I believe that life is meant to be lived in a flow. When that's the case, the challenges that you come across in your journey excite you. They become a source of motivation and ultimately lead you to find happiness. On my end, these challenges were pushing me back and draining my energy. I was living in resistance."
Intently listening to Dulce reveal the reasons that drove her out, her words confirm the assumptions that I had of her: that she is the kind of woman who is very mindful of the way she feels, and she uses that information as a compass to guide her through achieving her personal legacy. As I question her on whether or not she still believes that quitting YouTube was the right thing to do, the indubitable intonation of her voice says it all. "[Quitting YouTube] was a really liberating feeling. Once I put it out to the world—an act that I had no doubts would hold me accountable to not go back to my word—the big weight and pressure that I was bearing on my shoulders instantly lifted off, which was a confirmation that I was, indeed, taking a step in the right direction."
"With that said, from the moment the simple thought of quitting crossed my mind five years ago, I knew that it was what I was supposed to do—without consulting my husband, my mother, or anybody else. Something that I learned is how important it is for us to trust our inner voice and let go of the need to seek the opinion of others."
Dulce continues, "It's mandatory to listen to our intuition and to spend the necessary time to learn about ourselves. This is what enables us to harness the power to really discover and understand what we want to do as well as who we want to become. Because deep inside, we know."
Changing the Narrative: Quitters Do Win and Winners Do Quit
Courtesy of Dulce Candy Ruiz
The more we progress as human beings, the more we grant ourselves the permission to tailor the definition of success and allow success to look different on everyone. Nevertheless, it seems like no matter what we decide to equate success to, the ultimate goal remains a common one: to live our best life—or as Dulce beautifully calls it, "passionate living"—regardless of the consequences it may entail.
"One thing I'm not going to do is to stay in a place where I don't feel fulfilled for the sake of stability. Had I stayed in the military when I was younger, I could've benefited from housing, a guaranteed paycheck at the end of every month, and a plethora of other benefits. Yet, I wasn't happy. I don't think that any kind of opportunity or amount of money is worth bringing me down, let alone costing me my peace. And so, I left."
Now, you're probably thinking that walking away from money is way easier said than done—and you're right. I would even say that it's extremely scary. But one thing that speaking with Dulce has taught me is that it's possible.
"If you're not content with your current situation and wish to pursue your goals, do like I do," she advises, "Start by investing two hours of your time daily to work on them. Filter out your surroundings and the things that you consume to help your vibration rise higher. Exert a lot of energy in your dreams and bringing your vision to life while still maintaining your other job, and without allowing the negative emotions it involves to tear you down. It's all about balance here [and keeping your why at the forefront of your mind]."
The Mexico native adds that she is now able to see and experience the world differently and can dedicate her focus to the things she enjoys and the legacy she wants to leave behind. I can't help but think about American football coach Vince Lombardi's famous saying, "Quitters never win, winners never quit." What if the latter, although motivating, was a narrative rooted in falseness or, dare I say, burnout culture? What if, in the end, we all could win regardless?
As time goes by, women of all ages, races, and social statuses keep proving that quitting does not deserve the negative connotation it's always been associated with.
In other words, if it doesn't feel right, may Dulce's testimony serve as a reminder that you're allowed to let go.
Owning Her Pivot and Expanding Her Impact
Courtesy of Dulce Candy Ruiz
At the time of our interview, Dulce still considers herself in transition, and she's giving herself the freedom to surrender to her creative callings and explore different avenues. She's also actively working on the development of her new brand called Sweet Soul—and from what we can see of her recent Instagram stories, a possible second book. (The first, titled The Sweet Life: Find Passion, Embrace Fear, and Create Success on Your Own Terms, was published in 2015 and chronicles the story of how she emigrated from Mexico to the United States, enlisted in the Army, and found her calling in beauty and fashion.) For if the butterfly has decided to desert her kingdom, something that she's not leaving behind is the garden and beautiful flowers that she's been growing for over a decade, namely her audience.
"What also drove me to quit is the fact that I do respect and care for my audience deeply. I value their time a lot and it'd be disrespectful to show up as an inauthentic version of myself that's not passionate just to stick to what I've been doing."
"I want the things they'll take away from the content that I create to always elevate them, and for that to happen, my content must evolve at the same pace as I do. It shall remain in alignment with who I am. Sweet Soul, my upcoming stationery and jewelry line, will be just that. It aims to empower women through self-discovery and self-love. Both have been a defining part of my own journey, and to make helping other women learn how to truly love themselves and how to be confident enough to step into their true essence my purpose feels natural."
Building and ensuring the success of Sweet Soul is a challenge for Dulce, though, but it's one she's excited and enthusiastic to take on. "I really feel like I'm starting from scratch again, which I technically am. It's a new path for me, one that I've never explored before. I've never owned nor have I ever built a thriving company that sells products. From securing a design house to figuring out successful sales and social media strategies, everything is a challenge."
And it's not only that that makes her new venture challenging, there's also the eventuality that she has to rebuild everything that revolves around it, especially her connections and perhaps even her following. "I'm well aware that not everyone will be interested in the things that I'm now pursuing. When you decide to initiate such a shift, everything in your life changes—your attitude, your priorities, your interests, and of course, your relationships."
In a world where individuals are constantly put in boxes, Dulce simply wishes to be seen as who she is. But if she's really to be categorized, then she's a soul-centered creator.
"My legacy doesn't necessarily have to be so huge that it shakes up the generations to come. As long as the people whom I have crossed paths with during my existence remember the way I made them feel, how I showed up in any field of my life, then that's enough for me."
Featured image courtesy of Dulce Candy Ruiz.
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The most Gemini woman you'll ever meet. Communications & community enthusiast, I run a media platform centered around spirituality, and I'm always looking to connect with fellow creatives. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @savannahtaider
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
If you are looking to bring a little spice into your life, dating a fire sign is the way to do it. These bold lovers are confident enough to take the lead but may surprise you with how generous they are as well. Fire signs are the heat, the passion, the charisma, and the heart of the zodiac. They are often the initiators in love, and don’t mind making the first move. The three fire signs: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, love uniquely in their own way, but all have a lasting impact on those they meet.
You can feel a fire sign’s energy from a mile away, and getting close to them on a romantic level is a whole other type of heat.
Fire Signs in Love: What Is It Like To Date a Fire Sign?
Dating a fire sign is exciting, heartfelt, intense, and sexy. Fire signs are some of the most independent of the zodiac signs, yet they are also some of the most loyal. Their inner fire will warm your heart, but treat them badly, and it can just as easily burn. Due to fire signs' nature of feeling everything a little more heightened, they make empathic lovers, but they can also let their feelings overwhelm them and become easily irrational or agitated.
Fire signs can get heated quickly, and dating an unevolved one can get messy as they love to put on a show. They need a partner who is a good balance to their fierce nature, but someone who isn’t going to put out their inner fire in the process.
When it comes to who fire signs are looking to date, they look for partners who can love just as passionately as they can, and expect an unwavering type of loyalty. They are also looking for confident lovers, as they aren’t one to play games or beat around the bush. They are the type of partner to be your biggest cheerleader and will support you in all your endeavors, building up your self-esteem in the process.
These lovers are ready to risk it all when it comes to their relationships and love, and dating them is a fun adventure, to say the least. These are creative, confident, romantic, and heart-warming souls, and dating a fire sign is inspiring.
Dating an Aries
Aries are independent lovers. They are free spirits that are a little hard to settle down with, as most fire signs are, yet you will know how much they are willing to give and put into the relationship through their efforts. You have to be going at the same pace as them in life, and they need to see you as someone who can keep up with them to gain their respect and commitment. Aries have a vision when it comes to their life and love, and are looking for a partner that aligns with their plans or goals that they have for themselves.
Aries, at their best, are loyal and exciting; at their worst, they are competitive and brash.
When it comes to dating an Aries, they want to do things that keep their energy moving and stimulate them. They are fun lovers and are constantly doing things as a young soul does, fueling their spirit. Aries doesn’t want to feel restricted or limited in any way and seek relationships where there is a certain amount of freedom, which in turn sometimes leads them into emotionally unavailable relationships. An evolved Aries seeks their balance and finds themselves in long-lasting partnerships where they can still feel authentically themselves.
Dating an Aries is a compelling adventure.
Learn how an Aries pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Leo
Dating a Leo is like entering a rom-com movie. Leos are bold, outspoken, and dramatic lovers. They tend to prefer a spotlight on them, but when it comes to love, they are usually willing to share the stage. Leos want a grand love. They are all about outrageous romantic gestures, complete and utter loyalty, and a little spice. Leos want to be adored, and when you are dating one, they want all of your attention to be on them. Evolved Leos understand they cannot be the center of everyone's world, but Leo’s still going through their love journey may find themselves entertaining drama and controlling the scenario.
Leo’s, at their best, are playful and loving; at their worst, they are irrational and disruptive.
All in all, however, Leos can make some of the best partners to date as they rule the 5th house, the house of romance, dating, love, and flirtation. They are fun partners and are often the ones planning the dates or outings, and creating an atmosphere that is happy and inviting. They are the type to create an uplifting energy in their relationships, and you can expect a lot of laughs in this pairing. Leos don’t hold back when it comes to most things in life, including love. They will express their love and admiration for you often and will expect the same respect in turn.
Dating a Leo is a statement.
Learn how a Leo pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
Dating a Sagittarius
Sagittariuses are hard to grasp, but if they decide to let you into their world, you’ll find a space of wonder, adventure, and magic. There are many different stages a Sagittarius moves through in love, and as much as they like to do things quickly in all other aspects of their lives, when it comes to dating, they tend to take it more slowly. They are not the type to be in a rush to define the relationship and take their time when opening their heart. You will feel their love, their personality, and their attention, but getting to know their deepest selves, their goals, and their dreams is going to take time for Sagittarius, and they prefer to have some fun with you while they get there.
Sagittarius, at their best, are warm and hopeful; at their worst, they are harsh and disingenuous.
Being ruled by abundant Jupiter, Sagittarius lives larger than life. They want a love that feels like it was destined by the stars, and it needs to make sense and fall into place for them with ease. They are looking for all types of synchronicities and signs when dating you, and once you make it past this stage, they truly have their eyes open to you. Sagittarius wants to go on adventures, learn, travel, and explore the world and you while dating. This is a spontaneous sign, and if you can match their energy of passion and wanderlust, then this is a good match for you when it comes to love.
Dating a Sagittarius is a journey.
Learn how a Sagittarius pairs with each sign of the zodiac in love here.
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Featured image by Milena Magazin/Getty Images