FASHION Latinas flex their growing influence
Website: YouTube: Instagram & Twitter:
Through her beauty, style and day-in-the-life videos on her YouTube channel, Melissa Flores inspires viewers to add a bit of glamour to their everyday lives. The New Jersey-based influencer of Dominican descent first took to videoblogging to share with her friends what products and styles worked for her and what didn’t. While she continues to give her honest takes, she now also looks to her followers for their recommendations. Some send her requests to try out new products because they share similar skin tone, features or preferences.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t feel I had representation of other Latinas that I could look up to,” she says. “So I do keep that in mind. I know a lot of my followers follow me and look for my reviews specifically because they feel like they can relate.” She has built a devoted following — and nearly 90,000 subscribers — who appreciate that connection, her self-taught makeup mastery as well as her confidence-boosting encouragement. “What makes me feel beautiful ultimately has nothing to do with the beauty products that I try,” she says. “I really love the person that I am and how positive I am. That makes me feel good about myself and so beautiful.” Website: YouTube: Instagram & Twitter:
itsmelissaflores.com youtube.com/c/itsmelissaflores @melissaflores dulcecandy.com youtube.com/dulcecandy @DulceCandy
A YouTube content creator since 2008, Dulce Candy Ruiz is one of the first online beauty influencers. “For me, making videos started out as a hobby and something I genuinely enjoyed doing, not with an end goal in mind,” says Ruiz, a native of Michoacán, Mexico, who now lives in Los Angeles.
In 2015, Ruiz published “The Sweet Life: Find Passion, Embrace Fear, and Create Success on Your Own Terms,” a memoir in which she shares the lessons gleaned throughout her journeys: crossing the border into the United States; life after enlisting in the U.S. Army, including a 15-month deployment to Iraq; and her successes and missteps. The tome helped secure Ruiz as a beauty guru, role model and positive voice for Latinas and women around the world.
Today, Dulce Candy has amassed more than 5 million social fans who look to her for a mix of product reviews and recommendations, style tips and skilled makeup tutorials. Also of interest are her takes on life, love, motherhood and her experiences as a Latina and veteran that, while candid, always seem to have a silver lining. That approach has caught the attention of media and household brand names eager to tap into her expertise and influence. A line of custom toiletry and cosmetics bags designed with Tartan + Twine available at ULTA Beauty and an eyeshadow palette and lip color pallette co-branded with Pixi Beauty available at Target stores are just two of her recent launches.
“If I can reach one person each day with my stories, then that’s enough for me to continue to create content that has a positive impact,” she says.