The Women’s Network Invites The Jarr to Fordham

Rallo+has+amassed+over+500%2C000+followers+on+TikTok.+%28Courtesy+of+Instagram%29

Rallo has amassed over 500,000 followers on TikTok. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Kari White, Culture Editor

On April 4, The Women’s Network held a virtual speaker event where they invited Eli Rallo, known on TikTok as @TheJarr, to speak on all things ambition, college and what it’s like trying to find your way in the world as a young woman. Rallo shared her nuggets of wisdom, saying that, “You should not have a pleasant experience getting a bagel on a Saturday morning. If you’re going to get a good bagel, you need to have a bad experience.” The event covered a broad range of topics, as Rallo discussed education, the value of being persistent and her writing inspiration. 

Casey Dobson, FCRH ’24, president of Fordham’s chapter of The Women’s Network, explained that, for the chapter, inviting Rallo to speak was a no-brainer. “I decided to reach out to Eli Rallo because we’re encouraged to find speakers that exemplify The Women’s Network’s core values of unapologetic ambition, authenticity and determination. Myself and other members of our executive board have been fans of hers for a while, so when I was trying to think of people from various career industries (with social media and communications being one of our most-represented field interests among our Fordham members), I thought of Rallo immediately.” 

Rallo certainly fit those descriptors, as she explained the philosophy that prompted her to go to Columbia Journalism School, make TikTok a serious career opportunity and pursue her dream of becoming a published author. First off, she’s relentless. She attributed her mindset of shamelessly pursuing her dream to her parents, who always taught her to fight for what she wanted. It was them who taught her to email everyone for an opportunity, as the worst that could happen is she gets rejected. As someone learning to not be terrified of my email, that’s particularly inspiring. 

Complementing that, Rallo explained the importance of keeping your dreams alive even if they are unattainable in the present moment. “For the past six-seven years, I doubted whether or not I could be a published author. That was my dream; that was my goal … Your whole brain is  house, [that dream] was in the backroom. That thought was always there, I never let it out the door,” Rallo said. 

Yet, it wasn’t just Rallo’s accomplishments that drew Dobson, and the rest of The Women’s Network e-board, to her. Dobson explained, “Rallo is someone who will speak her mind on any given topic at any given moment, no matter who is listening. In a world where women are constantly being kept on their toes, both professionally and socially, hearing someone like Rallo be so unafraid to deliver sound, strong opinions and advice for other young women is so refreshing. A huge aspect of her social media presence is her giving advice to her followers about any range of topics. I was hoping she could do the same for our members and their burning questions about college, graduate school, living in New York, being self-employed and beyond — I was right. She totally knocked it out of the park and amazed everyone who attended the event.”

Rallos’ fearless candor certainly made an impression upon me, especially as she discussed the college experience and what her biggest take-aways from her college experience were. 

“College, to me, is about discovering yourself… [You] have to feel everything, especially the hard things.” Rallo explained that those four years, “let me get to know my emotional capabilities.” 

My biggest take-away from the event was Rallo’s writing advice. When she’s looking for inspiration for content, whether it be for her TikTok, her podcast or her upcoming book, she simply pays attention to the world around her. Rather than listening to music as she walks down the street, she listens to the sirens, jokes and gossip on the street. On top of that, she also reads. A lot. She immediately suggested reading “Dear Sugar” by Cheryl Strayed, which is an advice column for “The Rumpus.” Reading through just one of Sugar’s letters, it’s clear to see why Rallo would aspire to Strayed’s level of writing. “Monsters and Ghosts,” #98 of the column, is heartfelt, heartbreaking and utterly uplifting. Strayed possesses the same unabashed honesty that doesn’t coddle, but holds your hand, which Rallo infuses into her personal brand. 

Dobson’s own personal take-away was not “any specific information or advice, but again just [Rallo’s] commitment to authenticity. She was so clear about the fact that it’s what has carried her through all her points of uncertainty in her collegiate and professional life, which is just so important nowadays. There is so much discussion about climbing corporate ladders or ‘playing by the rules other people set’ that it’s just so rewarding to hear someone successful, living her dream, commit to being so genuine.”

Rallo’s most genuine moment? Confessing her favorite, “on-a-college-budget jar:” peanut-butter M&M’s, salted macadamia nuts (she thinks “they’re the best f—-ing nut”) and Cheetos. You read that right. Cheetos. Combining Cheetos with peanut-butter M&M’s is certainly a bold choice, but as both Dobson and Rallo herself will tell you, it’s that boldness that has led to her success. 

To hear more from Rallo, follow her on Instagram at @eli.rallo and on TikTok at @TheJarr. If you’re interested in similar events, join Fordham’s chapter of The Women’s Network at their Instagram,  @thewomensnetwork_fordham. While they don’t have many more events for the rest of the semester, they have an exciting semester planned for the fall.