Listen to the interview (approx. 53 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2012 from the Boston Conservatory with a major in Musical Theater.
Position: Food blogger at her own blog, The Vegan Spy., a popular vegan food blog. A one-person operation, Aly makes her living through three sources which synergize: she develops new recipes for brands, she blogs about food (and gets associated ad revenue), and she guest-writes articles in other blogs and magazines. She also helps local restaurants develop vegan menu items. As of late 2017 The Vegan Spy has roughly 10,000 monthly subscribers and another 2,000 social media followers.
Overview: Partway through her program at BoCo, Aly realized that she wanted a career with more stability than musical theater had to offer, and she wanted to help animals. After a summer of teaching musical theater, Aly moved spent the better part of a year organizing, on her own initiative, a 1,000-person drag-themed fundraiser in Provincetown to help whales. As that happened in the summer of 2013, a friend who worked at Manhattan Renovations (a large general contractor), reached out to her to be their event planner and social media publicist. Aly worked there full-time, but after a year felt she needed an outlet for her creativity and beliefs.
Aly had always had a passion for food, so she started The Vegan Spy in 2014 as a hobby. In late 2015 she got her first paid work. By 2016 she had enough professional connections and work coming in that she left her job in order to food blog full-time, while at the same time moving from New York to Cincinnati to be near family and benefit from the lower cost of living.
You can see Aly’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “One of my favorite things about this is being my own boss and making my own hours. That’s a really nice feeling. Also, I can do my work from absolutely anywhere! The trick with any is you have to be really self-motivated and create your own deadlines, as nobody else is going to kick your butt.”
“If you want to be a professional blogger, follow lots of other blogs. It’s great to have your own style, but it’s so important to see what others are doing. Not just to keep up with trends, but to stay creative and be inspired. Just like at BoCo when we’d go to the museum to be inspired. Keep getting inspired so that you’re still growing.”
“Theater isn’t like doing math where you have ten problems to solve. You have to be self-motivated to practice until you’re ready and really figure things out yourself. My experience at BoCo taught me to set my own schedule and stay organized with minimal imposed structure.”
One of Aly’s creations–pumpkin shakes! “When I started, my following was really small–so really all I could offer was high-quality photos that they could share and good recipes. It took a lot of work to get where I am now. For years I made little to no money, but I kept pushing and reaching out until I had forged those relationships. These days, they reach out to me.”
Another of Aly’s creations–pineapple fried rice with avocado! “I’m a total perfectionist. I’ll usually make a recipe 5 times before I consider it perfect. The tricky thing is that I have to finish by 4:00 pm, because to get good food photos you need natural daylight.”
Aly with a feathered friend. “I’ve always loved animals, and loved coming up with recipes and taking photos. I don’t really have the skills to work at an animal non-profit (doing anything but the lowest-level job), but this work I do allows me to help animals by using my creativity. ”
See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni.