Isabel Ruiz is of Spanish origin, but because of the civil war her family had to take refuge in Morocco. She was born in Agadir in 1954. In 1960, there was an earthquake that triggered a traumatizing period as she was separated from her parents and family, and she and her sisters had to stay with three different French families for two years. Nontheless, she recalls a merry childhood once that was over.

After obtaining her high school diploma in Marrakesh, she spent three years as a boarder at the Lycée Victor Hugo. She then studied Spanish in Toulouse, at the Mirail University, which led to her getting a Ph. D. Her professional career as a professor of Spanish began in Marrakesh where she taught for 9 years. On returning to Toulouse, she met a Maré student who would become her daughter's father and would eventually make her discover New Caledonia. Her various posts as a teacher in high schools, university and teacher training college brought her to work in the South Province as well as in the North Province,and today, on Maré island.

Stéphanie Iva