One moment of honesty can change the course of your life. For Candace Reels, that life-changing moment came when she admitted that she was unhappy. Shortly after turning 26, Reels acknowledged the fact that she felt lost in the world, wasn’t fulfilled by her job, and felt a lack of inspiration. What did she do to change things?  In true millennial fashion, Reels took to social media. She created a secret Instagram account that provided the type of inspiration she was seeking and bridged her passions for intersectional feminism and activism. Needless to say, her account didn’t stay secret for long. Her curated feed sparked conversations about social issues in a relatable (and often humorous) way, encouraged others to express themselves, and helped people connect. Soon, Reels’ Instagram account grew into an online community of like-minded people, and thus Female Collective was born.

A reminder that we all need.

A post shared by Candace Reels (@femalecollective) on

“The purpose behind Female Collective is to empower, uplift, and celebrate all women,” Reels tells ESSENCE. “Women together, of all races, sexualities, and class are so much stronger together than separately.” We were so inspired by Reel’s story of entrepreneurship and her conviction for fighting the good fight, we knew we wanted to talk with her. ESSENCE recently caught up with the Female Collective founder to talk about her company and how she winds down when simply existing in the world as a Black woman can be draining. ESSENCE: What is intersectional feminism? Candace Reels: Feminism, to most people, probably means equality between men and women. As a Black woman, you can’t break it down. Feminism should be broken down into class, gender. ESSENCE: How does fashion play a part in the Female Collective mission? Reels: I consider myself a shy person, so I’ve always expressed myself through my clothing. I love fashion and I knew I’d eventually incorporate that into Female Collective. I create graphic tees that allow women to express who they are without saying anything. Wearing a shirt that tells the world, this is what I believe, can create conversations. ESSENCE: How do you define self-care? Reels: Self-care means doing whatever makes you happy. It makes you present in the moment. It doesn’t always have to be taking a bubble bath or going to the spa. Those things are also self-care, but I believe small, daily things are a part of self-care as well. ESSENCE: Do you have any advice for women who feel unfulfilled Reels: Listen to that. Figure out why. Is it your work environment? Take that moment and find out why, and figure out what you can do about it. ESSENCE: Okay, so, what products are currently in your beauty routine? Reels: I continue to be pretty natural. I use Noto Botanics because they are made with natural and organic ingredients. And they’re multi-purpose. ESSENCE: So what can we expect next from you and the Female Collective? Reels: In 2019 I want to host Female Collective events and workshops focusing on self-care and self-love. I want to [mentor] high school girls and college girls. I also want to get more involved in my community of Los Angeles.


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