Angelica Torres, also known as @candylover89, opened her first store at 18.
"It just started kind of growing," she said.
But when she had to close her store, she fell into a depression. She decided to start going live on social media. At the beginning, it was just her mom watching, but now she has hundreds of thousands of people who tune in regularly.
Torres is one of this year’s American Influencer Awards finalists for Makeup Influencer of the Year.
The American Influencer Awards celebrates the best in beauty, lifestyle, fashion and fitness. After nearly 550,000 nominations from more than 115,000 people, the finalists have been chosen. Vote for your favorite influencers by Sept. 30 here. The winners will be announced in November.
Find more information about the American Influencer Awards here.
The following is an excerpt from the conversation with Torres. It was edited for space and clarity.
Q: How did you get started in beauty?
A: I basically started making phone cases. So I started bedazzling phone cases and I would actually make them for influencers. I’ve made phone cases for Patrick Star, Manny MUA, Jacylyn Hill, a lot of people. I was doing them and selling them at a swap meet. Little by little I started saving up and I opened my own store when I was 18. I would sell the phone cases, wigs, and clothing. A few things happened that made me have to close my physical store and stay online. I got really depressed because I didn’t know what I was going to do, I was only 21 at the time and because I left school I was like “what am I going to do now?” I started going live on Facebook and out of nowhere it blew up.
Q: What is the most common misconception about working as an influencer?
A: That it’s not just beauty, it’s not just makeup, it is a full-time job. There is influencers out there that don’t really have a positive message to share, but there is a lot of us that are doing this for the right reasons, to inspire other people, to share that positive influence. If this Is what you love to do, do it. But just know that there’s going to be some people that aren’t going to like what you do and are going to judge what you do.
Q: What has been your biggest hurdle?
A: I’ve always been really self-conscious my whole life. I used to have a really big gap in my teeth and that was one of my biggest insecurities when I was growing up. I had braces, I got Invisalign, but I had some other issues going on. I had to get veneers to make them a little bit bigger to fill in the gaps so they wouldn’t be moving all the time, and now that’s one of the things that I get hated on. No matter what you do, you’re going to get hate regardless. It’s okay to not be perfect.
Q: How do you continue to be unique and make yourself stand out from everyone else in the beauty industry?
A: One of the things for sure is being bilingual. I think that makes it really fun for some people because it’s not just makeup. People are actually learning. I think because each of my platforms are different. I’m just having a good time. I always try to bring different content. They see everything. I try to keep it entertaining and just show different aspects.
Q: You’re in the process of creating your own makeup line. What is the vision for your line?
A: I’m so picky. I want everything to be perfect. I’ve played with so much makeup throughout the years. I feel like the people that are helping with my makeup line probably hate me right now. But I want it to be nice and sparkly. I still want it to represent what I like. I think it’s going to be a really cute brand. There’s things coming.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: American Influencer Awards: Meet the finalist with Angelica Torres