#YOUinrue Stories and Sweeps – Meet Our Back to School Influencers

Back-to-School 2020 is leaving us all feeling a little…confused. While this season is usually filled with last-minute shopping trips and daily adventures to grasp onto that last strand of summer, this year we’re filled with wonder as to what this season holds. But that hasn’t stopped you from inspiring us with this year’s back-to-school launch.

You inspired us—along with our associates, influencers and the world’s current state—to create a collection that embraces inclusivity and creativity, letting you express #YOUinrue no matter how you spend the back-to-school season. #YOUinrue is a defining concept for our rue21 team; it’s a collaborative effort with what makes you, well, you at the center of it. 

We teamed up with some of our influencers to share their stories, give advice and provide a little hope for what the season holds for all of you—our rue21 family. 

Introducing: Sydney Bell @sydneylbell

back to school

Sydney is an influencer who’s lived all over the US, including Texas, California, New York and New Mexico. An incredibly well-rounded young woman, she’s layered with a background in dance, pageantry, marketing and student government in addition to her modeling and social media career—influenced by a few photos shot by her mama. Working hard to create content ever since, she’s fighting to make people feel empowered and inspired. 

What advice do you have in learning to love yourself?

“Self-love is taught, not bought! Tell yourself you love yourself EVERY DAY. Practice self-love daily! And also surround yourself with positive people who love you just as much as they love themselves.”

Tell us one thing that you love most about yourself.

“One thing I love most about myself is my confidence and my journey to getting there. A lot of people don’t understand that self-love is taught. Something that takes time but once you have it, no one can take it away. All you can do is share it.” 

Introducing: Laura Martinez @laurasmq

Laura is a senior in college, studying public relations and business management. Moving to Orlando FL from Venezuela five years ago, she’s been working to create content and build her brand in the US! She’s inspired to help others on a daily basis through her platform.

How does fashion help emulate you, your personality, and what you believe in? 

“Fashion helps me to express myself. Even if we use a design that was made by others, we choose the way we want to style and combine our ideas. This helps us express ourselves by deciding which color we want to wear depending on our mood…Fashion is a way to define our personalities through the pieces we wear and express our feelings.”

How do you continue to stay positive during such uncertain times?

“During this time I started to work on myself spiritually and physically. I have more time to dedicate to taking care of myself by reading, meditating and exercising.”

Introducing: Tara Millamena @taramillamena

A Filipina and Haitian influencer, Tara combines her passion for travel, fashion and faith in her content. She is a busy creator who makes content for Instagram as well as videos on YouTube and TikTok. 

What is something you’re super passionate about?

“My main passions revolve around travel, content creation, styling outfits, being on camera and my faith. Travel is so important to me because I believe that is what living really is. Exploring the world and seeing different people’s traditions and ways of life is so beautiful to me. The world feels so big yet there is so little time, so the idea of traveling is a huge passion that has been with me for a long time.” 

What makes you, you?

“We are all unique in our own ways because of our unique life experiences. So I think my unique life path and experiences make me, me. All that I have been through [and how I handled it] in my life, good and bad, have made me the person I am today.”

Introducing: DJ Ward @dj_ward9

back to school

Sharing his passion for fitness and style, DJ joins our influencer squad from Dallas, TX, where he creates content for IG as well as TikTok videos with his wife, Maci.

Tell us one thing that you love most about yourself.

back to school

“I love others first. It’s one thing to respect and show compassion to someone after they’ve proved themselves, but I was raised to treat someone how I’d want to be treated to begin with. That is how I approach every interaction with anyone I meet!”

How would you describe your style?

“My style is very simplistic most times. I don’t do too much. A lot of times I wear plain tees and jeans or shorts. I like to build my outfits from the bottom up, so boots and sneakers are really the base of when I start to piece an outfit together.”

Introducing: Sydney Jozwiak @sydneyjoz

23-year-old Sydney calls the suburbs of Chicago home, but currently resides in Arizona, where she’s been living since earning her degree in Human Communication and Sales & Marketing from Arizona State University. She now works in social media management while creating content on her own. 

What is something you’re super passionate about?

“I’m very passionate about my health and the environment. I try my best to keep my body and mind in tip-top shape! I’ve been on a vegetarian (practically vegan at this point) diet for the past few years, I make sure I’m recycling to the best of my ability, and I’m always advocating for the Earth on my socials to help spread awareness and knowledge!”

How do you continue to stay positive during such uncertain times?

“There’s a fine line between healthy-busy and unhealthy-busy. I try my best to stay healthy-busy so I don’t experience burn-out and therefore become unmotivated. I read, watch shows (currently binging Outer Banks), exercise, meditate, FaceTime friends & family, cook and I think I’m going to try (keyword: try) to paint something soon!”

Introducing: Andre Nguyen @theandrenguyen

Originally a photographer from California, Andre kicked off his career after high school by taking photos of his friends, which gained popularity on his insta. His influencer career took off, offering him the opportunity to work with big names in fashion and modeling.

How does fashion help emulate you, your personality and what you believe in? 

“Clothing and fashion are a way to express yourself outwardly and usually what makes a first impression on people. I feel like different types of clothing can make you feel like a different kind of person. I dress according to the type of persona I want to have.”

What is something you’re super passionate about?

“Apart from photography and content creation, I love music, whether it be listening to it or making it. It’s definitely something I’d love to get into in the near future.”

Introducing: Erika Aguilera @erikaaguileraa

Content-creator from Nashville, TN, Erika is an influencer who loves Sunday Night Football as much as doing her makeup. Regularly advocating for self-love, she’s amassed a following through posting positive messages, fun outfits and unique makeup looks.

What advice do you have on learning to love yourself?

“Accept yourself, your flaws, and know that everyone has them. Focus on the positive, what you like about yourself and what you’re grateful for. Remind yourself of those things daily because it uplifts you! It’s also important to surround yourself with positive people who love you and lift you up as well. Also, remember that self-care is so important! Self-care = happiness, and happiness = self-acceptance!”

How would you describe your style?

“I have so many different styles, but my go-to is a mix between comfort, street style with a bit of girly!”

Enter the #YOUinrue Sweepstakes

From weird social distancing dates to video calls with the fam—remember, we’re in this together. We wanna hear your story or a positive message to share with the rue community. 

Here’s where it gets good: Post a photo of yourself to your Instagram feed showcasing your go-to rue21 ‘fit, then include your personal story or an uplifting note in the caption along with @rue21 and #YOUinrue and #sweeps to be entered for a chance to win a $50 rue21 gift card.

We’re gonna choose one winner weekly until August 28, 2020! Can’t wait to see how you were inspired by our fave new influencers to create your own content! Need some outfit inspo? Check out our denim guide! 

Read the full T&Cs here. Happy posting!

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