Paola Ruiz, one of the most famous Colombian influencers in the United States, rose to the top thanks to social media after an extremely difficult life, surrounded by bullying, emigration, the loss of a brother and exhausting medical treatments.
The worst moment of her life was when two girls at school threw trash at her and called her “deformed” because of her physique.
“Even so, that day, I learned two things: never to be like them and to prove to myself that I was more than that and that my physique was not going to be an impediment to being the successful woman I always wanted to be,” explains Ruiz, today with more than four million followers on TikTok and more than one million on YouTube.
Her creative life began at the age of six. She always dreamed of acting or modeling. The first time she visited the United States for a cheerleading competition, she was interviewed by the press. However, as she grew older, bullying and low self-esteem kept her from her dreams.
“When I was 20, I was coming home from working at a pet groomer, and I felt very ugly. However, my bosses insisted that I download TikTok, as they saw me as creative. So, I decided to make a transition from ugly to pretty, and that first video went viral. That’s how I found the courage to move forward”, says Paola.
The creator was born in Armenia (Colombia), in the middle of the coffee-growing region. Her mother was only 15 years old at the time and had limited resources. From the age of six, she worked, helping her to sell empanadas in the streets. At 14, she emigrated to the United States, cleaning houses and making eyelashes. She won a scholarship to Florida International University (FIU) and studied International Relations and Political Science. And so began his new life, with many sacrifices and projects.
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“Living in two countries allowed me to understand more about people’s niches and tastes, to be more versatile, and to get to know people’s cultures and customs, which gave me more understanding to viralize my videos. Living in Miami has allowed me to generate content for an entire continent,” says the influencer.
To those who are forced to emigrate, Paola Ruiz sends the message to “be very positive and persist.” Despite leaving behind family, roots, and dreams, for her, “a new country is an opportunity for new dreams and goals, to be able to be who you wanted to be.”
“Starting from scratch is necessary to value more and gain strength. In addition to adapting, we must leave the name of our countries high and show that Latinos are successful, friendly, and we can do anything,” she says.
Personal Information on Paola Ruiz
- Full Name: Paola Ruiz
- Nationality: Colombian
- Place of residence: Miami, USA
- Profession: Influencer, content creator
- Social media platforms:
- Medical condition: Cleft lip and palate; has undergone 5 reconstructive surgeries
- Early life: Suffered from bullying due to her facial scars
- Claim to fame: First LatAm influencer with cleft lip to go viral on social media
- Areas of expertise: Using TikTok for business/marketing, overcoming challenges as an entrepreneur on TikTok
- Key tips for businesses using TikTok:
- Create quality content
- Engage with viewers
- Use niche influencers
- Have a defined niche
- Use viral music/trends
- Viral marketing examples mentioned: Arena Roja jewelry, Fashion Nova, Bloom digestive tea
- Core message:
- Be authentic
- Be patient
- Interact with the audience – human connection is key for sales.
Today, Paola Ruiz is the queen of social networks, where she explores topics such as family comedy, dance, and fashion. She currently lives in Miami with her mother, grandmother, and dogs. Her goals are acting in science-fiction series or movies, working at the United Nations against human rights violations, and being the first woman with a cleft lip to model for major brands.