Meet Relationship Guru La Bella Chanel
The first thing you notice about Chanel Raphael is her passion. Sitting in the TIDAL New York City offices, Chanel’s every sentence is accentuated with hand movements or the pitch of her voice. She might be reminiscing over the numerous hardships of life (bullying, her mother’s tragic death) or the reason she’s joined forces with TIDAL for La Bella Chanel video series—to inspire women all around the world—Chanel is animated, focused, and carrying the weight and hopes of every single woman who has ever been betrayed by a man.
A few years ago, the Dominican Republic-born, Puerto Rico-raised Chanel filmed a video on her phone and posted it on Facebook. A video brimming with emotion and full of advice—a video she didn’t think would attract any attention. Well, she was wrong.
Today, La Bella Chanel is a certified social media influencer with over 2 million followers. Her legion of fans watch her daily videos on Facebook and YouTube as she dispenses relationship advice, inspiration and direction. Essentially, Chanel is the homegirl you’ve always wanted and your cheating boyfriend despised. She is currently single.
“Because I am a queen, and I know that I have it tattooed on my brain and my free soul knows it,” she says about a crown she has tattooed on her inner right forearm. “But I want everyone who sees my arm to know that they are also, that they can be a queen.”
Have you always given advice to people?
I’ve always had a big circle of friends even before my boom in social media. Since I was a child, I have always had the knack of standing in front of a group of people and drawing attention.
Where did the idea to make videos come from?
I didn’t plan it. Almost three years ago, I simply turned on the phone, made a video, and the following week the video went viral everywhere. People would see me on the street and tell me, “Are you the one in the video?” And I would say, “What video? What video?” And they would say, “Yes the video I saw on Facebook!” And that’s how it all started.
What was it exactly that made you film the first video?
It was a morning when you could say that my cables were a little crossed. And I started doing me and expressing myself, to say what bothered me, to say what bothered me about my family, my ex-husband, what bothered me about my friendships, what bothered me about everything I was living in, which made me so frustrated. And I never took into account that millions of people were feeling the same way I felt but they didn’t dare turn on their phone and say it the way I said it. That was all that happened. A lot of people said, “But that’s how I feel.” And that’s where this started. I never planned it. It was by chance; it was my destiny.
How did you come up with your name, La Bella Chanel?
For the Beauty and the Beast. Because it’s my favorite Disney movie. The Beast is the man, but the story is beautiful.
We know they help others, but do your videos also help you?
Of course! I’m going to tell you something: my mother was the victim of murder. And to this day my mother has not been given justice. It happens that my mother was brutally murdered and I found her three days later. And her body was so mistreated, she received so much mistreatment before she died, so much that I could not identify her body. And to this day her murderer has not gone to jail. I have spoken about it, expressed myself, cried in public. But I have also felt the support of many women who have also gone through this and that has helped me. (pause) It has been difficult for me.
Overcoming such a horrific tragedy must be so difficult and we can tell family is huge part of your life. Tell us about your children.
I have a daughter, Elizabeth, who is 19 years old. She just entered the police academy. I also have three beautiful boys. My happiness, my smile, my family.
And what does your daughter think of what you do?
She likes it. Because many times she sits down and says, “Mami, I need to talk to you.” And she watches a lot of my videos and says, “Mami, you made a video, and you said this and this.” That makes me proud. This morning she told me that she put a picture on social media of me where I was at an event in Spain with a microphone in hand. She said, “I really like that picture,” and I asked, “Why?” And she said, “Because I’m proud of you, mom.” For me, it’s like, Wow, she’s proud of her mom.
What are your hopes for your TIDAL video series?
To reach more women. I hope to be the spokeswoman for all the women in the world no matter the language. My purpose here is to help women and to help them understand that you only have one life. And that if you do not live your life your way, you’re going to live being the same as the ton of people who walk around like zombies. And that you have to live life every minute as if it were the last one because the day that you die, nobody is going to die for you. That is why you have to live. That is my message, I want to be heard in every corner of the world. So that women understand that they are not alone. And that I am the voice of all those silent women, that is my purpose.
Visit TIDAL.com/LBC to watch her videos and for more info.
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