Student led platform RUBY is the new gem of Gen Z

Photo courtesy of Sam Tandy and Eden McCullough

Holly McDonald, Feature Editor


It was a beautiful September day, the feeling of fall filled the air. The coffee shop drew closer with every step forward. Little did they know, that when the doors were opened to the coffee shop, they would also be opening doors of dreams and inspiring new beginnings.  

Junior Eden McCullough and sophomore Sam Tandy, started a platform called RUBY to inspire Gen Z women to expand their full potential and seek answers to hard questions as a community of women. 

RUBY is a multimedia platform for Gen Z women, created with the purpose of inspiring a life filled with wonder and driven by intention,” Tandy said. “We have a social media account (@_therubyco), a podcast, a blog, and a community. All created exclusively for young women seeking answers to the hard questions, and yearning for the knowledge required to step into their power and cultivate their pu


The idea of creating such a platform had been a lifelong dream of McCullough and Tandy. However, the day they had the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality, neither had expected it.

“Sam Tandy and I have admired our now good friend, Taylor Kanigowki for a long time, and we asked her to meet for coffee back in September,” McCullough said. “At our coffee, we talked about dreams and the future, and we all shared a love for inspiring others. After that, I remember Taylor said, ‘Well let’s just start something then!’ Then, we started meeting weekly, and the last few months have been filled with big decisions about what exactly we wanted to create.”

Both founders have big hopes for the future of RUBY. They want women to feel inspired and driven to reach out in a world where tough questions need to be answered.

“My hope is that young women will be encouraged to think deeply,” Tandy said. “To seek answers to questions that they don’t feel comfortable asking anywhere else, learn what truly makes them who they are, and view the world differently, through the eyes of someone who knows the true definition of beauty and authenticity.”

In a world that seeks authenticity, it can often be difficult to find those who are willing to break the mold of society’s standards. RUBY wants to help generate a new wave of women who are honest and authentic.

“I hope that RUBY can offer people space where it feels safe to be real,” McCullough said. “It’s so draining to try to fit into the oceans of people who talk the same way, dress the same way, and make the same decisions. RUBY should feel like a community where originality is encouraged. RUBY will al

so give people the courage to dream and find strength in who they are!”

Being a woman comes with many struggles, including those that are self-inflicted and those that are present due to society’s barriers. This platform wants to build women up, and empower them, focusing on the advantages rather than the struggles. 

“From a young age, our minds have labeled our lives, our communities, and ourselves,” Tandy said. “We started RUBY with this very thought in mind. We are so much more than society’s labels, and our own. We believe true beauty is rooted in diversity. Instead of limiting myself to one emotion, imagine what could happen if I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable, and to believe that each feeling produces a new drive or wonderful idea.”

Every woman has the desire to be seen, heard, or noticed. In an era where people barely ever look up from their screens and acknowledge everything around them, it can be tough to identify beauty, as our minds have become so disconnected from reality. 

“I think all girls struggle with the desire to be told they’re beautiful,” McCullough said. “Some people wish for beauty in the definition meaning physical appearance. Some wish for in

tellectual beauty. Some wish for their beauty to be in the way they love others. But in every definition and desire for beauty, there is a burning eagerness to be seen. I think all females in some shape or form want to be known for who they are.”

RUBY hopes to reestablish the definition of beauty, bringing a community together to experience true beauty all together. They hope to open people’s eyes to all different kinds of beauty, seeing the world as no one has ever seen before. 

“My hope is that RUBY can break the trend of having a narrow lens of what beauty means to us individually, and can open up the conversation of understanding each other, and allowing others to know that they are seen, and they are loved,” McCullough said.

Through creating connections among like-minded women, individuals are able to feel more empowered and comfortable to be themselves.

“We truly want to establish a foundational belief that roots each girl to who she is, and from there she can decide what is best for her and what might not be,” Tandy said. “This community will be a space where each and every woman knows what is true about her and the people she surrounds herself with: she is made to do such incredible things that only her specific character and strengths can give to the world.”

RUBY hopes to break female stereotypes and encourage women to feel passionate about whatever their heart desires.

“One stereotype about women that is false is the idea that

women’s emotions get in the way of strong leadership and strong presence,” McCullough said. “I think women’s emotions fuel the passion among women who lead. Emotions give people the sympathy and capacity to handle the challenges that come with being human.”

McCullough and Tandy want to make sure that incorrect stereotypes no longer continue. They hope to reveal fresh beliefs that women are powerful and will no longer be held to the limits of society.  

“One thing that bothers me with our society is the number of unintentional comments or beliefs that women are not as powerful as men and don’t make as much of a difference,” Tandy said. “As I mature, though, I have begun to see such beauty in powerful women who are making a difference and a statement, and it’s crazy to think that some people just don’t see that or understand it. Our generation can be the ones to raise children who see the world differently and more beautifully.”

With the understanding that everyone faces hardships, RUBY wants to take the opportunity to turn sadness into joy, pain into healing, and hurt into love.

“When looking inward, how could your life change if you viewed yourself as a mixing bowl of emotions,” Tandy said. “Ups and downs, beauty and pain, all while seeing it as something to be embraced and welcomed. At RUBY we believe this: You are something so extraordinary, made with talent, beauty, deep emotion, love, courage, and a curious soul. But also hardships, pain, sadness, awkwardness, and loneliness. We experience it all. But it is what makes us so beautiful.”