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An Interview with Eli Rallo: Rules for Flirting, Feeling and Finding Yourself

Courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan
Co-Culture Editors Chloe Miller and Emma Cahill had the chance to talk to author and social media star Eli Rallo about her new book.

You heard it here first. Being a freak and a weirdo is in, at least according to author and social media influencer Eli Rallo. 

TikTok star, former theater girl and dating expert Eli Rallo is the best friend you never knew you needed. In her book, “I Didn’t Know I Needed This,” released on Dec. 12, Rallo gives fresh advice on flirting, romance and everything in between. Rallo, sometimes identified by her former username @thejarr on TikTok, has a plethora of life experience and wisdom that makes her the perfect literary life coach. Luckily, we had the chance to talk one on one with the lovely Eli Rallo, to hear more about her debut book. 

Drawing inspiration from her time as a college newspaper columnist, Rallo took the ideas she had from a “Sex and the City”-esque column and translated it into her book. It wasn’t until Rallo’s agents reached out to her with a book pitch that was, strangely enough, similar to her college newspaper column, that the idea fully took form. 

After graduating with a B.A. from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance in 2020 and graduating from Columbia University with a Masters in Journalism in 2021, Eli took on a career in finance journalism. However, once she realized she was able to make a living off of her influencer income, Rallo began doing social media full-time. Despite no longer writing for a living, Rallo continued to write essays, like the ones from her column, publishing them on platforms such as Substack or Instagram, helping her to eventually land her book deal.

In her book, Rallo is every reader’s best friend giving pertinent advice on dating, self-confidence and everything in between. Rallo reflects on the idea to “not be afraid to be seen trying.” She believes this gets to the ethos of the book.

Once you free yourself from the fear of how you could be perceived, not even being perceived, but the fear of how you could be perceived, you just completely open up a new reality for yourself,” Rallo said.

While much of Rallo’s advice comes from her personal experiences, a few of the literary figureheads who helped Rallo throughout her writing process include American author Cheryl Strayed and journalists Megan Twohey and Jody Cantor. During the process, however, Rallo opted to read different styles from the narrative nonfiction she was working on. This included works such as “Writers and Lovers,” “Yellowface” and Britney Spears’ memoir “The Woman in Me,” which helped her to not get caught up in comparing her book to similar works  

Rallo’s book is chock full of insightful wisdom that is perfect for the average college student. Looking for love at Villanova? Rallo gave the inside scoop on three dating rules that college students here at Villanova should follow. 

Rule #1: If someone is constantly making you feel confused or anxious, that is not your person. 

“I think that’s a hard thing to hear because when we really like someone and especially in college, we really want it to work out,” Rallo said. “Ultimately, when you meet someone who’s right for you, they’re going to make you feel at ease and that’s what you deserve.”

Rule #2: Have a goal for the night with your friends, and make sure it’s all the same goal. 

“Everybody either has a conquest or a person in mind for the night, or everybody’s like ‘We’re gonna end up with pizza’” Rallo said. “And if you do both, that’s even better.”

Rule #3: Don’t discount dating apps. 

“While you don’t have to solely date through dating apps, I do think that they open up a world of possibility within dating,” Rallo said. “They also bring a bit of ease to dating that can just supplement the meeting people that you’re doing like in the real world.”

And with that, put yourself out there, Villanovans.

While Rallo is just beginning her career as an author, she has made a name for herself as one of the most authentic social media creators. The secret behind being so genuine? Understanding you can’t please everyone. 

“Once I got over that I was like ‘well, this is just now fun because I found my little corner of the internet’” Rallo said. “It grows some days and some days it doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter to me because I have it already, and these people are so beautiful.” 

Whether or not one is putting oneself on the internet, Rallo believes strongly in owning one’s true personality.

“I think that being a weirdo and a bit of a freak is way cooler than being too cool for school,” Rallo said. “The coolest thing you can do is be nice to people. The coolest thing you can do is meet someone who has some kind of freak interest and be like ‘Dope, tell me about that.’ I want to learn more about what sets you on fire.”

Even if that thing that sets you on fire is doing magic tricks, ordering chicken noodle soup at CampCo or studying finance at VSB, embrace it. 

As for joining the school newspaper, Rallo credits the Michigan Daily for helping her find her place on campus.

“It’s just a perfect place,” Rallo said. “The creativity, the energy, the vibes and the fact that these kids, literally 18, 19, 20 years old, are bringing the news on a daily basis to the Metro Detroit area… It was so inspiring to me.” 

We agree, Eli, college newsrooms are truly a magical place (Rush the Villanovan). 

Rallo’s “I Didn’t Know I Needed This” is out now, but that doesn’t mean Rallo is taking a break. Currently pitching her second book, which will be in a similar style to her debut book, Rallo is eager for the future of her career as a writer. 

Need a little guidance navigating your teens and early 20s? Try grabbing a copy of “I Didn’t Know I Needed This” and seeing what you find. And remember “The only universe you are at the center of is your own.” Thanks, Eli. 

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About the Contributors
Chloe Miller
Chloe Miller, Co-Culture Editor
One of two Co-Culture Editors for The Villanovan in 2023, Chloe Miller is a senior studying Communication specializing in Public Relations and Advertising. Chloe has held the position of Co-Culture Editor since Fall 2021, and has written articles on the Philadelphia Justice Project and the ultimate SEPTA Train Guide during her time as Co-Culture Editor. A spirited addition to the editorial staff, Chloe prides herself on her ability to identify what language someone took in high school. Her work has also appeared in Lancaster Online.
Emma Cahill
Emma Cahill, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Emma Cahill is one of the Co-Editors-in-Chief of The Villanovan in 2024. A junior Political Science and English double major, Emma held the position of Co-Culture Editor in 2023. Emma has covered anything and everything during her time writing for the paper, ranging from March Madness in New Orleans, to horoscopes, to interviewing Sebastian Stan. Emma is a very passionate person, namely about her family and friends, Taylor Swift, and especially Long Island bagels. When she is out of the office, Emma can be spotted giving tours of campus for Blue Key or strolling around Villanova with an iced coffee in hand.

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    EmmaDec 18, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    I’m sorry but she’s boring