Daniela Michelle adopted a “by all means necessary” mentality as a first generation American watching her parents work relentlessly to give her family a good life in the US. She and her fiance, Donovan Ruffin, began a YouTube series about living a life of constant travel, networking, and fun. Their channel gained the attention of the Lifetime TV network, who approached them for a season on the reality show Marrying Millions. The show has opened doors for Daniela, and now, as the Founder and CEO of Elevation Interiors, her presence is expanding rapidly.
Through their travels, it became clear to Daniela that she had a love for different cultures. Their creative forces inspired her, and she wanted to bring value to the housing market through interior design. She got her start at arguably the worst time—right after COVID hit. This was a time of isolation, fear was abundant, and networking was nonexistent. But Daniela trusted herself to get the job done and succeed. She reached out to her sphere of influence and took advantage of social media to showcase her skills. “This was and is a huge propeller for my business venture now and will continue to be in my future endeavours. Overall, I think you have to really want it because things don’t just come easily,” she says.
Daniela has always been inspired by the way things make her feel. There’s a special feeling in creating something that has never existed before, as she did with Elevation Interiors. Life gets messy, but it’s the messy stuff that leads to the finished, polished product. Your approach will determine whether or not you are successful. Problems come and go. It never gets easier, but you will get better at handling them. For anyone ready to take a leap of faith, and bet on themselves, Daniela has this advice for them: “Do it! I think everyone should try and start a business at least once in their life. There’s no loss in it either you win or you learn – there’s power in both of them.”
Fear can be a powerful tool. For Daniela, it’s just a thought—something that creeps in when she is about to step out into the unknown. When used for good, fear compels you to step out of your comfort zone. Daniela’s fear acknowledged that, even though she had never owned a company, she would be disappointed in herself if she didn’t try. She also believes that everyone should experience the thrill of starting their own business at some point in their lives. If you do, you either win, or learn. “When fear paralyzes you and stops you from making it a move – that’s when your mentality comes into play and you have to ask yourself—why am I really afraid and are my fears valid,” she says.
To find success, Daniela says you should consider two things: freedom and happiness. How free are you? Are you and those you love happy? Your answers to those questions will say a lot about your success. You will face obstacles. And for Daniela, those came in the form of public opinion. Being on Marrying Millions, she didn’t feel they portrayed her accurately. As a mentally strong person, she didn’t let misguided judgments and nasty comments affect her because she knows the truth of who she is. She knows how important it is to show her love of family, and how to deal with issues in a relationship. Daniela also knows what it means for a woman to reinvent herself, to rise from adversity, all while starting a family and supporting her spouse. “I think people often have a ‘this or that’ mentality and I truly believe you can figure out a way to have it all,” she says.
What’s next for Daniela? She plans to expand her social media presence and offer more influencer gigs. It’s also rumored that the couple is having conversations and is considering coming back for Season 3 but also have also received offers to launch their own show. She is also expecting her first child and planning a new home renovation. You can follow Daniela on Instagram @thedanielamichelle.