FASH­ION Lati­nas flex their grow­ing in­flu­ence

The Commercial Appeal - - Mlife - MELISSA FLORES

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.

Melissa Flores

DULCE CANDY

Dulce Candy

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