Vicki Rodriguez

By Megan Willome

Creating collaborations that motivate women

When Vicki Rodriguez was growing up, there wasn’t such a thing as an online influencer or content creator. There sure weren’t platforms for a Latina to motivate women in the areas they care about — fun and affordable places to take the kids, how to look beautiful on date night and what air purifier is best for the home. All these tips and more can be found by following Vicki Rodriguez on social media.

Her Instagram, @vickirodriguez87, has over 63,000 followers. Her YouTube channel, The Never Ever Happy Family, has more than 337,000 views. She’s collaborated with national brands, like Westinghouse and CHI; with regional destinations, like Sea World and Western Belle Family Farm; and with local favorites, like Cameron Park Zoo and Dr Pepper Museum.

Writer Megan Willome visited with Rodriguez to learn how a person becomes a content creator, how YouTube has benefited her kids and what local opportunity has been one of her biggest accomplishments.

WACOAN: What are your passions?

Rodriguez: I’ve always been into fashion and wanted to have my own brand. I was always one of the most best-dressed in high school. I’ve been dressing up and doing my own thing, ever since I was young. That has motivated me to continue to do my own thing when it comes to my style. I’m short. I’m 4-feet-9.

WACOAN: Do you like high heels?

Rodriguez: I stopped wearing them too high. I can’t walk on heels like I used to anymore. They’re just high enough to give me that extra. I do carry my tennis shoes with me.

After having kids, I fell off looking my best for a while. It was hard to raise kids and focus on myself. For many years, I put myself aside to take care of my babies. As they grew up, I realized your kids can’t be healthy without you being healthy as well. I started focusing on myself again. That’s how I started doing what I do now, what I love doing.

WACOAN: Describe what you’re currently doing.

Rodriguez: I do so many things. The main thing is to motivate women, especially moms, but also teens and young girls to find a way to become successful. We women often have a 9-5 job, but finding another source of income in our lives, it helps so much with our families, financially, to get the things we need.

I created my own brand, my jewelry line, So Gracious by Vicki.

Everything else I do with social media, it gives me so many opportunities for my family. I do a lot of traveling and events. I collaborate with beauty businesses, and that gives opportunities for me. Travel — that gives my kids the chance to see new things.

WACOAN: What kinds of travel endorsements have you done?

Rodriguez: One of our top favorites is Kalahari [Resorts and Conventions] in Round Rock. We collaborate with them about three times a year. It’s a wonderful place.

We did get invited to Legoland in California — that’s coming up pretty soon. It’s one of our first collaborations outside of Texas.

WACOAN: What are some of your local collaborations?

Rodriguez: There’ve been so many! The latest is Fish City Grill, a new restaurant [at Legends Crossing.] They just had their grand opening. I’ve also collaborated with L&L Hawaiian Barbecue downtown. Those are the recent ones I’ve done.

Of course I have a contract, Smile Doctors. They do braces. Usually I do small contracts here and there, but I have a five-year contract with them.

WACOAN: How did they find you?

Rodriguez: They just reach out through social media. They find me, and they send me emails.

WACOAN: What are some of the big collaborations you’ve done?

Rodriguez: Places in Dallas reach out to me a lot. I’ve done special events with companies that travel from state to state, so if they have an event in Dallas or Austin, they’ll. A recent one was The Big Bounce America. They reached out to me, invited us to come to Dallas while they were there. I got to create content there.

Also KidZania in [Frisco] is a big kids’ event place. They’re there year-round.

Every month I do a new collaboration, pretty much. Every week I have a product collaboration I do.

Right now I’m working on H-E-B, collaborating with them. I get excited because everyone in Texas knows H-E-B, and everyone loves H-E-B. If I have a favorite collaboration, that’s one of my favorites.

WACOAN: When you started on social media, did you have any idea you would be creating lifestyle content?

Rodriguez: I did not know anything about what it’s all about. I started posting content, taking my photos, going places.

Three years ago is when I started my family YouTube channel, The Never Ever Happy Family. I originally created it to give parents ideas of things to do that are affordable with kids. I have a big family, four kids. That’s how I started, giving people ideas and not having to break the bank. I was creating videos and posting them on Instagram, and Instagram started going well for me. That’s how everything started.

WACOAN: Where did you get the name for The Never Ever Happy Family?

Rodriguez: We came up with our name as a comical thing. As parents, when you have a big family, it becomes so hard to keep everyone happy. Especially when the kids have a five-year age difference and different genders. Our girls were jumping into their teenage stage, and our boys were still so young at that time. So me and my husband would always joke and say, ‘There is always someone never happy in the family.’ So it matched our family, and that’s when we decided that would be our name.

WACOAN: What are the names and ages of your children?

Rodriguez: Eva Rodriguez, she’s 15. Mariya Palacios, 16. Joseph Rodriguez Jr., he’s 10. And Eli Rodriguez, 8. Mariya is my biological daughter. Eva is my husband’s daughter. His name is Joseph Rodriguez. When I met Joseph, he had his 2-year-old daughter, and I had my 2-year-old daughter. We started our family.

WACOAN: Your kids are involved in your videos and your Instagram. How has that been good for them?

Rodriguez: My kids have always been very shy, like me. It’s helped us open up and be more sociable. On my social media I talk a lot about anxiety, how it can take over your life. It can disassociate you from being yourself, talking to other people. Young children are born with anxiety, and it affects them making friends. I’m thankful for our channel because it’s made them sociable with people and not let anxiety take over their lives. We work together as a family to create videos. It’s opened up a lot of doors.

Two of my kids are into acting and modeling because of it: Eli and Eva. They are with an agency in Austin.

WACOAN: I love the trailer on your YouTube channel, with you and your family on the Suspension Bridge.

Rodriguez: I had someone take that shot for us on the bridge. I needed something of my town, my city, because no matter where I go, Waco is always gonna be home for me.

WACOAN: I noticed you use the hashtags #latinainfluencer and #latinacontentcreator. What does it mean to you to have success as a Latina in this creative online space?

Rodriguez: My parents always taught me that high school is definitely important, but after that step the support to become something bigger doesn’t get encouraged enough. So pushing myself to keep going is a big deal for a Latina, and this is why I love to shine light into my successes using the hashtag in hopes I could motivate someone who sees it.

WACOAN: You mentioned earlier you want to motivate teens and young girls. Have you had any opportunities to do that?

Rodriguez: Recently I was invited to Career Day at Kendrick Elementary, to speak to the fifth-grade students. To me this is one of my biggest accomplishments, since I look forward to speaking with younger children. They were so full of questions! Mainly on how I started my platform on social media and how they could start something like that when they get older, if they can make a career out of it, etc.

WACOAN: Are you from Waco?

Rodriguez: I am from Waco, born and raised. I’ve lived here pretty much all my life. I attended University High and graduated in 2005.

WACOAN: You also have a jewelry line, So Gracious by Vicki. Where did the name come from?

Rodriguez: It just popped up in my head. When I dress up, I want my jewelry to be fancy. It’s something you will wear out. A lot of my jewelry has crystals. If you like shiny jewelry, it’s something you would like.

The jewelry I create is the jewelry that reflects me, and it’s what other women like. I focus on the things that make you feel good, make you feel pretty. That’s what my brand is.

I actually have a vending machine that I’ll be selling my jewelry from. I haven’t found a place for it yet. The idea just popped up in my head: What if I sell my jewelry in a vending machine? I’d started seeing vending machines out and about. People sell makeup in vending machines. I stuck with it, got the machine, pretty much put my brand on it. It’s at home right now, but I’m looking for a home for it. I hope I can find a home for it soon.

WACOAN: And you donate a percentage of sales to the Waco Humane Society?

Rodriguez: I believe I have 10% of my sales going to them. I love animals. It’s important to me to keep animals safe. It’s always been in my heart to take care of animals, since I was young. We have two indoor cats at home that we love. Asia is the girl, and the boy is Casper.

WACOAN: I saw that you’re now attending Temple College.

Rodriguez: Yes, I just started about a year ago. I’m going into business marketing.

WACOAN: How do you hope your degree will help you grow and promote your jewelry business and other ventures?

Rodriguez: I realized I needed to understand my career more from a side that not all creators get the opportunity to learn — expanding my mind and allowing myself to gather the knowledge I need to understand. I am hoping to meet people that are wanting help in the future on how to target their audience, personal or business, and I am hoping to meet more people and empower a team to become more successful.

WACOAN: The women who follow you online, what are they looking for?

Rodriguez: A lot of them follow me because they want to look at things, like where to take the kids to have fun. A lot of times people follow me because of the beauty content that I create. What I’ve noticed is event stuff and beauty stuff.

WACOAN: What kinds of beauty content do you curate?

Rodriguez: I consider myself a lifestyle influencer because I post a little bit of everything — home products, beauty products. I’ve had lots of collaborations. The latest beauty one was BondiBoost. CHI hair products, Good Molecules skin care, Ulta Beauty. But I don’t go into makeup much right now. It’s not something I focus on. I mostly do health and beauty. For example, Goli Gummies, Kids Smart, Vitafusion [nutritional supplements].

I also do home products. Panasonic has a new smart microwave. Walmart — this one vacuum collaboration that I did with them.

Also, of course, restaurants — family places and date nights too. I give people ideas of places to go. Or, honestly, sometimes they reach out, like Jack in the Box, Panera Bread.

WACOAN: What do these companies see in you?

Rodriguez: Anybody can take pictures, but it’s the way you change it up and make it your own, how it stands out different from other people. When you get contracted with companies, they tell you what they’re looking for and ask, ‘Can you do that for us?’

WACOAN: You also have a job at Baylor Scott & White. What do you do there?

Rodriguez: I work part time, as needed. I’m a scheduler. I love doing. One thing about me is I like to stay busy.