Girl Crush x Izzy

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GIRL CRUSH x IZZY

As always thank you for being here!

I had the pleasure to sit down with my good friend Izzy Bartolotta. Izzy is the second Girl Crush I am featuring and one of the first people I thought of when I originally got the idea to do this series. She has always been a go-getter, goal crusher, and bad @$$ woman. Her latest podcast project From Where She Sits features two women, Izzy and Christie, sharing stories about their lives from two different generational standpoints. 

I was STOKED to sit next to Izzy on a gorgeous day in Prospect Park to learn even more about the many ways in which she crushes it on the daily. 


FF : Soo, what are you up to these days Iz?

IB: These days I'm taking a little hiatus. Christie and I finished the first season of the From Where She Sits podcast back in February. It’s been our little passion project that takes most of my creative energy.

Back in February, Izzy and Christie put on their first live show at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. It was the final episode of their first season of FWSS. 

So February happened, our live show happened, and Christie and I both kind of looked at each other and were like, “let's pause.” Our first year was nonstop all the time. We already had people asking us questions about what we were going to do for a second season back in February, but we really just needed to take a hard pause and think about it. We didn’t know where we wanted the show to go and to an extent we still don’t know.

Since our interview, Izzy and Christie have ramped up and are back in the studio recording season 2! However, most of Izzy’s time has been spent focusing on her day job which is also super important to her. She works for a local coffee company called Café Grumpy. If you don’t know it, you are missing out!

As someone who works in sales, Izzy tries to take a new approach --going into every interaction with a client and asking what their purpose is behind what they are doing. She tries to connect with them as human beings rather than it just being about the sale. Just one more reason why Izzy is a total Girl Crush.

Izzy ended up at Café Grumpy through networking at one of her former part time jobs. She thinks it’s important to talk to the people around you and be open about what you are working on and what your intention is. The more open you are about yourself and your work, the greater the chance of making connections with others and creating opportunities for collaborative work.

When I asked Izzy about what had an influence on her life, similar to my first Girl Crush, Daisy, Izzy also grew up listening to Carole King. She memorized every lyric to every song and says King truly taught her how to sing. Izzy also always loved to do theater. Her first play was Beauty and the Beast.

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Junior year of high school rolled around and my guidance counselor asked me where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to study. And I just kind of broadly said communications, marketing, PR... I didn't actually know what I wanted to do, it just felt like that was what I was supposed to say.

IB : I played a golden spoon and an angry villager proudly. I wore a gold lamay bodysuit, head to toe and I rocked it like I was a Vegas showgirl.

I loved the thrill of public speaking and telling stories, especially fictional stories. So I started doing theater in high school, I was completely head over heels. It was all I wanted to do all the time. So I fell down the rabbit hole of the theater world and started taking acting classes and voice lessons after school.

Junior year of high school rolled around and my guidance counselor asked me where I wanted to go to college and what I wanted to study. And I just kind of broadly said communications, marketing, PR... I didn't actually know what I wanted to do, it just felt like that was what I was supposed to say.

Like Izzy, so many of us choose a career path out of fear or belonging without even considering that we can actually pursue a career in what we want to do. Eventually Izzy’s guidance counselor opened her eyes to the possibility of going to school to study theater and everything changed. After some time studying musical theatre at American University in Washington, D. C. Izzy decided to take a year off and pursue acting school in San Francisco. 

IB : I had this one teacher in San Francisco: Mark Jackson. I took Mark's devised theater class and the idea behind this class was to collectively develop a play that hadn't been written, that wasn't necessarily based off of anything, and to sort of throw everything in a petri dish together and see how each element we were curious about interacted. Whatever resulted from this experiment was the thing that we performed - rather than working from a standard theatrical script.

So the idea of that sort of blew my mind and took me away from feeling like I was just an actor or just a singer. I realized that I really did identify as a hybrid artist and when I returned back to college, I immediately started referring to myself only as such. Looking at who I am now, I'm not just a podcaster or I'm not just coffee wholesale person. I'm not just a singer. I'm not just a producer. I truly do try to embody all of those creative elements of myself and communicate that to the world.

It was really that one class that released me from feeling like I needed to be only one thing. I think a lot of millennials are feeling that way right now, especially when we're in such a gig economy. People are holding jobs for two to three years at a time, moving to different cities and starting from scratch all over again.  My first two years in New York City I had five different jobs. We're constantly reinventing ourselves. And so I think feeling secure in the fact that that's actually a very natural expression of who we are as human beings and how we grow has been really important to me.

FF : If you could sum up your life in three words right now, what would they be?

IB : Nature. Fun. Boundaries. 

FF : I like boundaries.

IB : I love boundaries. 

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It was really that one class that released me from feeling like I needed to be only one thing. I think a lot of millennials are feeling that way right now, especially when we’re in such a gig economy. People are holding jobs for two to three years at a time, moving to different cities and starting from scratch all over again.  My first two years in New York City I had five different jobs. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves. And so I think feeling secure in the fact that that’s actually a very natural expression of who we are as human beings and how we grow has been really important to me.

FF : I think a lot of people have these big ideas and want to start a podcast or a blog or a business. How did the idea of starting a podcast come to you and how did you know where to even begin? 

IB : Well let me start by saying that I probably get a message every single week with someone asking me how to start a podcast or to send them recommendations for microphones or which editing program I use. And I want to say to those people, you don't need my help. You really don't. Because all of the little pieces that go into doing the thing is not the difficult part. You're asking the questions because you're delaying the output and if you want to get to the output sooner, we have the Internet. I don't mean to sound like a complete b*tch, but we are so well equipped to tackle all of these questions right now, that in a way it seems silly to be constantly looking around asking people for answers. I didn't know how to use this recording device. I didn't know how to edit the show. I didn't know how to license music or how to stream a podcast. But I found out real quick. And I think the reason that I did was because there was a spark between Christie and I that made me so excited that I did not want to get off the train.

I think there is something so important about Izzy’s message here. This is the idea of progress versus perfection. And if we live our whole lives waiting for situations to become perfect before we make our move, we will quite literally be waiting forever. Post the blog. Record the episode. Take the dance class. Run the race. Our chances of getting anywhere that we want to go are a hell of a lot better when we actually take the steps toward achieving what we want, instead of watching from the sidelines while everyone else tries and maybe even fails miserably, but nevertheless tries. 

FF : How do you stay motivated to pursue all the things that you want to do personally and professionally and as a side hustle?

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IB : Well, I’ll be honest and say that right now I feel like I don’t have motivation. I have had to be patient with my body and my mind for not being in that place right now and I’m trying to be okay with that. I think for whatever reason in the self care and wellness zeitgeist that exists, there is this feeling of needing to embody positivity at all times and needing to be a “light to the world.” And I don't think it's all total bullsh*t, but I do think that there's nothing wrong with having a bad day and there's nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable in your body or feeling ill one day. I think the more that we try to wash away that part of the human experience, the further we get away from our creativity. Because creativity is the output of the human experience and the human experience encompasses all of that -- be it good, bad or ugly. 

FF : What were some of the changes you had to make when you were getting ready for the podcast? How did your schedule, priorities and social life change?

IB : I feel like I just became obsessed with it -- and once that happened, it didn't bother me to be doing a recording session instead of getting lunch with a girlfriend during a work day. I would get home from work and then I would immediately edit the episode because I was just so excited to hear what it sounded like. I love the technical process of tweaking and fixing audio. It's actually kind of meditative for me. So I just got really fixated on getting good at editing and recording. And, much like my brief obsession with Zelda (a blog post for another day), I did a deep dive and tried to learn everything I could about it and let it be a learning process and not have it be all about the product.

I feel like I just became obsessed with it — and once that happened, it didn’t bother me to be doing a recording session instead of getting lunch with a girlfriend during a work day.

FF : Where do Izzy B and Christie sit next?

IB : So we did a pod club back in March at a barre studio in Darien, Connecticut. We met with a small group of women and we talked about imposter syndrome. It was almost like a little book club, but without the pressure of actually finishing a book -- because, holy hell, who has time for that? 

So everyone listened to the “Her Imposter Syndrome” episode and we all reflected on it together and had this little moment where we could all connect and laugh and cry and that was really lovely. I like being in the room with people who listened to the podcast and actually reflecting on it together.

I love laughing along with everybody. I think my favorite part in the live show was straight up cackling at something Christie said and then looking out into the audience and seeing someone’s face like, “Oh my God, did that b*tch really just say that?” That's so joyful to me. So I would love to be doing more either live shows or meetup groups, things like that. Going on tour would also be the dream. 

The whole concept behind our podcast From Where She Sits in my opinion is that we see people a certain way. The challenge is to take a step back and try to understand what their life is like from where they sit. I think it's important that we continue to have conversations about why we think and feel the way that we do so we can understand people more and maybe even find some common ground. That's where we sit.

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FF : What are three things you are grateful for right now?

IB : I'm so grateful for this beautiful day. I'm grateful for an opportunity to be having this interview with you. It feels like #womenempoweringwomen and I love it. And I am grateful for my health.

If you haven’t listened already, be sure to check out Izzy’s podcast From Where She Sits Season 1 available now on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Soundcloud, Podbean & Spotify! SEASON 2 will be airing September 23rd! Follow @fwsspodcast on IG for more details.

As always, thank you for being you and for being here. I hope you enjoyed!

xx FF