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The University News

From Journalist to Influencer: Internet Sensation Eli Rallo Set to Speak in St. Louis

Photo+Courtesy+of+Eli+Rallo
Photo Courtesy of Eli Rallo

Between spending time with “Sex and the City” icon Sarah Jessica Parker and hosting her podcast, “Miss Congeniality,” the relatable Internet creator Eli Rallo narrates the Gen Z dating experience in her modern advice book, “I Didn’t Know I Needed This.” After the book’s initial success, Rallo will embark on a unique book tour to connect with followers and share her book.

Rallo has been called “a Carrie Bradshaw for the TikTok age,” as she routinely offers insights on love and life to her friends and followers. However, Rallo only began self-proclaiming the title after a special encounter with Parker herself. 

Parker, who played Bradshaw in the original “Sex and the City,” hand-delivered a note to Rallo and later met her. During the conversation, Rallo shared her hesitancy to embody Parker’s infamous character. 

“After the conversation, I was telling her how much imposter syndrome I felt,” Rallo said. Rallo questioned her ability to embody traits of such an iconic character. “After the conversation ended, I said to her ‘I feel like I have your blessing now,’ and she said back to me, ‘You have more than my blessing.’” Rallo said.

After this, Rallo said, “I can do it now. I’ve met the woman behind the Carrie and I feel better about it.”

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Like Bradshaw, Rallo has been an avid writer for years. During college, Rallo worked as an Arts Critic and Associate Editor at The Michigan Daily, the campus newspaper of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and later received a Master’s Degree in Journalism at Columbia University. 

Rallo originally went viral on TikTok with a video featuring her making snack jars in her childhood home during the pandemic

“You can go from a snack jar to a book deal, but I think that’s the beauty of the internet and the, you know, way that it creates and carves opportunities for people,” Rallo said.

Following this viral moment and while studying at Columbia, Rallo continued posting about her love of books and writing, when literary agents approached her about a book deal. 

The book is inspired by Rallo’s “Rules” series on TikTok, where she shared everything from Rules for An Actual Sneaky Link (A Hookup) to Rules for Making the Most Out of a Day. The book also takes inspiration from the Bradshaw-esque column Rallo wrote for The Michigan Daily.

“I Didn’t Know I Needed This: The New Rules for Flirting, Feeling and Finding Yourself” has a little bit of everything, from how to approach the first, second and third date, ways to get over a broken heart to feeling confident when you are single or in a relationship and tips to fall more in love with your life. 

Photo Courtesy of Eli Rallo

Rallo hopes her unbiased advice offers people support outside of close friends and family. “Sometimes when you’re looking for big advice and you’ve already gone through talking to your mom or your bestie or whoever, you just want one more person to say ‘This is what I think and I know nothing,’” Rallo said.

Of the advice given, Rallo feels the first chapter, “Rules for Being Single,” is what she most needed herself when she was in college and her early twenties.

“That [chapter] just was a huge breakthrough that I had when I was in post grad, and I wish that I had the knowledge and the foresight that I share in that chapter when I was in college and in my younger twenties,” said Rallo. “But I’m also grateful I didn’t because, you know, that chapter wouldn’t exist without the lack of that knowledge.”

She owes much of the book to her followers, who have supported her since her initial viral moment. “This is our book,” said Rallo, referring to her 125,000 Instagram followers and almost 800,000 TikTok followers. “I could never have created this [book] or created in general on a consistent and daily basis without the help of my audience.”

Between her TikTok virality and the press the book has been receiving, Rallo discusses how she stays grounded and true to herself. She says it is incredibly important that she has friends, family and a partner who are separate from social media, joking that her social media presence is her “Hannah Montana life.”

“That is like game changing, life solving because I can kind of shut my brain off in that way when I’m with them and recharge,” said Rallo. 

This month, Rallo is set to share her story through the “I Didn’t Know I Needed This: The Live Show.” While the tour will certainly focus on Rallo’s new book, she is making the experience unique and interactive.

“The theme is ‘I didn’t know I needed this’ and every piece of every show is unique to that city,” Rallo said. 

Rallo will be hosting a show on Feb. 2 at the new St. Louis City Winery in the Foundry. The show will feature local St. Louis influencer and podcast host, Ceara Kirkpatrick, and Rallo’s close friend, Veronica Risucci, as guests. Rallo also brings her passion for St. Louis city to her tour as a former short-term resident.

“I’m a big St. Louis lover. I interned at The Muny the summer between my sophomore and junior year in college. It was my favorite time ever. I love The Muny. I love St. Louis. I love Forest Park. I love the Central West End. I love it. I love it all,” Rallo said.

Rallo hopes her tour is a place for people to meet others in the community and leave feeling connected and happier. The unique structure of Rallo’s book tour and her endearing book create the opportunity for readers to attend a lighthearted and immersive event. 

As the interview came to a close, Rallo was asked for any wisdom to aspiring writers or anyone in the younger generation. 

First, she shared advice to young and collegiate journalists. 

“I remember someone once told me that you have to treat every single thing that you write like it’s going to be published in the New York Times,” Rallo said. This advice helped her maintain confidence as she wrote and published her book.

“Once I started to hold myself to that standard in my work, I feel like I got more comfortable in sharing my work because I was really proud of it and obviously that’s the whole reason I’m here is because people noticed the work that I was sharing online,” Rallo said. 

In general, Rallo advises everyone to be genuine people in their professions and personal lives. 

“My number one motto in life is that if you’re doing the best you can and you’re being kind to yourself and others and you’re working hard and minding your own business and people don’t like you or if things aren’t really going your way that’s not on you, because you’re doing all you can do,” Rallo said.

Hardcover and electronic copies of “I Didn’t Know I Needed This” can be purchased through Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Tickets to Rallo’s St. Louis show on Feb. 2 are available on City Winery’s website.

 

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Morgan Hausback, Managing Editor
Morgan is a senior studying English with a minor in Law, Religion and Politics. She is extremely passionate about student media and is honored to serve as the Managing Editor this year. When she is not writing, you can find her ranking her favorite romantic comedies in order, checking out books at the library, or listening to podcasts, like Binchtopia and Celebrity Memoir Book Club.
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