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Candace Reels, Founder of The Female Collective

This month we caught up with Candace Reels, creator, intersectional feminist and Founder of The Female Collective. A global community for those who reject the status quo.

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Candace Reels

Where did the idea for the Female Collective come from?

At 26, I had my what-am-I-doing-with-my-life existential moment. Unhappy with my job at the time and lacking any kind of inspiration, I knew it was time to hit the refresh button. I went on Instagram looking for ways to motivate myself but didn’t really see anything I connected with. So I started my own Instagram account, I didn’t tell anyone about it.

None of my friends and family knew. And I just started posting things that motivated and inspired me — quotes from people that inspired me like Maya Angelou and Angela Davis, along with my own self-love quotes. I started seeing that I wasn’t the only one who needed to be motivated, feel inspired, and remind myself of my worthiness. A lot of people started commenting things like, “This is exactly what I needed today and thank you for motivating me to keep going.” It truly just started growing from there. Enter the Female Collective, a platform born out of my passion for activism, intersectional feminism and just the need for daily self-love reminders.

What made you make the jump and start really chasing the dream that became FC?

Community has always been important to me. As I believe it’s vital to us as humans to have the right people around us who support, listen, and are just there for you no matter what. A safe space where you know you won’t be judged and I really want to create that sense of community online with Female Collective. I felt like it was something that was truly needed in a society where we are supposed to be and act a certain way and I wanted to let people know that it’s more than ok to be your truest self. It’s a safe space for people who reject the social constructs of the patriarchy and status quo.

7 years on a community of 1M+ and stronger than ever, what are your tips for other founders looking to build a community online?

Stay at it, even in moments of self-doubt and uncertainty. Which happens A LOT! You could be having the best year of your life in terms of success and the next year everything could fall a part. But what I love to say is that things fall apart to build back up again in an even better way. So if you truly believe in something go for it no matter what. Your belief in yourself and determination will help you build what you want in life.

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Any advice when it comes to having self doubt?

Overcoming self-doubt is not easy, I know from a lot of experience. In the world we live in we’re always seeing what everyone else is accomplishing and we start to get down on ourselves for not doing whatever it is that we see our counterparts do. So what has really helped me is that I always remind myself that people are only showing us their highlight reel and we truly don’t know what that other person is dealing with. Also that their journey is not our journey. We’re all born in this world to live unique lives and we should focus on what makes us special and present that to the world. Comparing yourself is going to get you nowhere, but loving who you are to the fullest is going to bring you everything you want in life.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face in your journey?

Probably my biggest challenge has been me. Getting in my own way, not believing in myself, and comparing myself to others. I’ve accomplished so much in the past few years and sometimes I forget that. I’m always telling people to celebrate their wins no matter how big or small and yet I wasn’t always doing that myself. So to get over this challenge I've really been celebrating myself. I’m doing great things and it’s ok to express that. I’m proud of who I am and everything I have and will accomplish in life!

What is the biggest learning you’ve had so far?

To be yourself no matter what society tries to make you to be. Being yourself will get you where you want to go in life. I’ve had many moments of feeling lost and confused and the moment I ground myself and get back to my roots of who I am and where I want to go in life I feel clear again.

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You’re quite the Fashionista, where do you get your style inspiration from?

Thank you! I get inspiration from everywhere. From people watching while I'm working at a coffee shop, watching classic movies, to things I see on Pinterest or Instagram. As a Libra I'm constantly changing my look. I love a good revamp every year. So right now I'm very into 1930s Harlem Renaissance ( a classic pinstripe suit is my go to ) and I'm really embracing 90’s hip hop sportswear. I love mixing colors, patterns, and decades. It’s a lot of fun!

Is there a piece of jewelry you can not live without?

Gold or silver hoops! I just don’t feel right if i’m not wearing my hoops. They have become a part of me now haha.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Sadly one of the things that helps me unwind is watching The Real Housewives. I love it all so much. Just getting lost in all the nonsense that happens in that franchise truly helps me unwind. Also just hanging out with my dog Frankie. He's a chocolate labradoodle and just has so much personality. He truly lives in the moment and so when I’m hanging with him I try to do that same.

A champion for empowering women, who are some of the women that inspire you?

My mom is my biggest inspiration. She has helped me become the woman I am today. There would be no Female Collective without her guidance, help, and just believing in me. Ingraining in me as a young Black girl that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. Because of my mom I know and believe that I can do anything.

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What’s next on your bucket list for 2023?

Writing a book is on my bucket list for 2023 and just might actually happen, travelling more, and honestly just finding my joy again. I feel like I lost that the last couple of years. So this year I really want to focus on what truly makes me happy and just be present.

Thank you for chatting with us Candace!

To find out more about The Female Collective you can follow them here.

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