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.