Rorie Raimondi is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Visual Arts Management program who has found a unique way to combine her artistic passions. We met with Rories to discuss her vegan food and health blog, I Am Rorie.
How did you start your blog? What was your inspiration for it?
I started my blog after realizing in my senior year that I wanted a career in digital marketing and that I had a lot of catching up to do with my peers. I created my blog first as a way to demonstrate my content development and social media management capabilities, but it slowly evolved into something I regularly maintained. Over time, I settled on recipe and food content because it was made me happiest, and it’s a topic that I was always focusing on over other areas.
All your recipes are vegan. When did you become vegan, and why?
I became a vegan after a long battle with various digestion problems and a dairy allergy. Those were my initial reasons for going vegan. But the more I learned about the lifestyle and moral reasons for the diet that other vegans had, I discovered how unregulated and inhumane the meat and dairy industries are. It only took a few videos and one documentary to give me the final push. It’s important to be aware of what goes into your body, especially nowadays with unimaginable levels of processed and synthetic foods. There are certainly processed vegan foods that I eat occasionally, but they’re definitely better than eating an animal-based product.
You have two other passions: dance & photography. How do you combine these with your love of food blogging?
Dance and photography went hand in hand for me throughout high school and college. I would bring my camera to the studio my junior and senior years of high school, photographing rehearsals and my friends, trying to capture the perfect moment where the dancer is lost in the movement. I focused on the creation of shape and line made by the human body those last two years. As I developed my skills, I transitioned into food photography pretty easily.
What was your most valuable Columbia experience?
My most valuable Columbia experience had to be Gallery Management Practicum with Bob Blanford. That class is as real-life as it can get. It affirmed in me that I was at the right school, in the right program. Spending months preparing a gallery show with real artists, a real space, and real problems was the best way to prepare for later jobs.
How did the Business and Entrepreneurship program at Columbia prepare you to launch your own brand?
Honestly, it was my professors who helped me the most. They’re real-life professionals in everything they’ve taught me, which was the most inspiring part. I knew the lessons we were learning and the advice they gave wasn’t straight from a textbook; it was real-life experiences they’d had themselves, and it was practical. Too many universities have professors that have never actually practiced what they preach, which never appealed to me. My professors always seemed to know which direction to point me in or how to handle a problem.
As an alumna, looking back at your school time, what would you have done differently?
I probably would have taken more exploratory classes so I could have had a broader experience. I thought I had to stick to the electives within my concentration until my senior year, when I started taking digital marketing and strategy classes, and I loved them. Realizing the connection between arts management and digital/social media marketing helped land me an internship my last semester.
What was your favorite class?
My favorite class was either Digital Marketing Strategies with Justin Hoot or Marketing Data Analytics with Ryan Smith. Both those classes were a whole new world to me after spending three full years studying museums and art history. Those are classes I would recommend everyone take simply because of how digitally driven the future of marketing (and pretty much everything) is going. You’ll learn a lot within a single semester, and both professors were amazing.