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Dulce Candy Ruiz Talks Quitting YouTube & Starting Over With A New Venture

She's taking 'passionate living' straight to the bank.

BOSS UP

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.

Dulce-Candy-Ruiz-xoNecole 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."

For more of Dulce Candy's life and her new endeavors, follow her on social media @dulcecandy and @sweetsoul.

Featured image courtesy of Dulce Candy Ruiz.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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