Female Collective is an intersectional feminist brand and online community that celebrates, empowers, uplifts, and supports all women. Founded by Candace Reels, the platform has accumulated over 100,000 followers on instagram. In response to the profusion of sexual assault allegations rocking the country, the Collective posed a question to their followers: “If all the people who have been sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped, write ME TOO in the comments, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Within hours of being posted, the image had almost four thousand comments.
We caught up with Candace to talk her platform, and how critical it is today.
I started Female Collective a little over a year and a half ago when I was going through a transition in my life. I had just turned 26 and my personal life and career life were not where I had imagined it would be. I desperately needed some inspiration and motivation in my life. Being a millennial, I of course went to the ‘gram to find something to lift my spirits up, but I couldn’t find anything that I really connected to. So that’s when I decided to start my own account that would help me on this weird, incredible journey we call life.
Every day I started posting quotes and people that inspired and uplifted me, including some of my favorite women like Frida Kahlo, Angela Davis, Maya Angelou, and Gloria Steinem. What started off as just a personal journey and account ended up being something that other women told me they needed as well. I started to gain a following, and companies that I have always loved started reposting my content. Since I have a background in fashion, I decided I wanted to create clothing that would allow people to express who they are nonverbally. I also wanted to make sure that I stuck to the Female Collective mission and gave back to organizations that help women who need it most. For most graphic tees, a percentage of proceeds goes to organizations like Global Fund for Women, Black Girls Code, Planned Parenthood, and RAINN. So here we are now, a year and a half later and I have collaborated with Bustle, author Jessica Bennett, and Pussy Grabs Back. I was one of the organizers for The Women’s March in Los Angeles, I have been featured in Huffington Post Women, Teen Vogue, Bustle, and Hello Giggles.
Female Collective has, of course, turned a bit more political with the current state of our country. I am not afraid to share my views and cause a bit of trouble, as this is the time we all must speak up. I know by doing this, I am isolating myself from other audiences, but I’ve never been silent on issues that are important to me and I believe it is important when you have a platform that you use it for good. While Female Collective’s mission is still to celebrate, empower, uplift, and support all women, it is also a place to educate people on everything that is happening in our world, including the importance of climate change, black lives matters, immigrant rights, and LGBTQ rights, to name a few. Because as an intersectional feminist, I believe that the goal is to make sure that we are all equal, because no human is better than any other.
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.