An undocumented immigrant from Mexico was picked by Google and Fox to ask a question at the January 28 Republican presidential debate. In the above video you can hear YouTube beautician and mother Dulce Candy Tejeda Ruiz tell the story of how she came to America in 1994. She traveled with her mother and children through a river and over a fence. Eventually, Dulce was reunited with her father who was working as a laborer on a farm in California.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Served in Iraq for 15 Months in 2006
In 2006, Dulce enlisted in the U.S. Army. She served for 15 months between 2006 and 2008 as mechanic and driver. You can watch a short video about her time in the service above. An article on Dulce from NBC News earlier this year reads, “In 2008 she was serving with the U.S. army in Iraq, coming under attack with rocket-propelled grenades on one occasion.” She told the network, “You’re restricted from wearing makeup and expressing your individuality. For 15 months I had to blend in like everyone else.” Which helped to inspire her to become a beautician. According to a separate profile in Forbes, Dulce served in the Army between 2006 and 2011, spending her last two years as a reservist.
2. Dulce Teaches DIY Makeup on Her YouTube Channel Where She Has Amassed Over 2 Million Followers
I’ve always loved beauty. I didn’t realize how much I loved it until it was completely stripped away in basic training. In Iraq you’re not allowed to wear any civilian clothing or express yourself with makeup. That’s not a priority when you’re deployed.
So that’s when I realized how much I loved it and how good it made me feel when I did have those moments to myself where I could play around with makeup or just browse magazines.
Meanwhile on Instagram, Dulce has gained 1.1 million followers.
3. She’s Studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Dulce said that, as of 2015, she’s studying for a degree in fashion designer. She told the magazine, “I go to school. I’m in fashion school, trying to attain my Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design.” She adds, “I vlog because I want to inspire other girls. I help them feel better through makeup and fashion.”
4. She Calls Gwen Stefani Her Inspiration
The final question in Dulce’s Teen Vogue interview is about inspirations. She cites Gwen Stefani as her makeup inspiration. Dulce says:
I like Gwen Stefani because she looks really good in red lipstick, and she never over does it with makeup. She does a great job at balancing bold eyes with soft lips and vice versa.
More recently, Dulce posted a photo of J-Lo on the Golden Globes red carpet. The YouTuber says, “My favorite #goldenglobes red carpet look! ?? @jlo always looking so perfect!.”
5. Conservative Commentators Think Dulce’s Role Was to Target Trump, Who Now Won’t Be There
When she was first revealed to be an undocumented immigrant, a commenter named Kimberly West wrote on Lipstick Alley, “It’s not fair that they all get to break the law repetitively for free while Americans get punished when we commit crimes.” A Brietbart report on Dulce reads, “The choice was likely intended to hit Donald Trump, whose proposed immigration reform is opposed by many company executives, including executives in Google and Fox.” Candidate Donald Trump has said that he will not attend the debate because of an ongoing feud he has with Fox anchor Megyn Kelly.