Authentic Vlogging and Healthy Vlogging

Sitting in Dash Coffee Roasters, Mary Mondanaro is beaming watts, enamored with life, and applying her berry Laniege lip balm. Of course, we’re sitting in Dash, because it is her favorite coffee shop in Iowa City and one that is often found in her vlogs. Her essential order? A cold brew with a little room at the top for her frothed oat milk. 

Her thick, gold hoops dangle and swing from her ears as she tells me about discovering her passion for vlogging and sharing her zest for healthy living and mind-body wellness. 

The funny thing is; Mondanaro wanted to start a Youtube channel to share how she lives her life to the fullest and healthiest, but she was haunted by the fear of being judged as a stereotypical, wannabe Youtuber seeking attention. 

After four years of watching other vloggers on the Tube, going back and forth about it, interning in Chicago and living by herself for the summer, she reflected on it. 

“I finally just said, ‘Fuck it! I’m gonna do it,” she said.

Mary Mondanaro inside Dash Coffee Roasters. Photo by Maddie McCarron.

She strongly believes in the universe and the power of manifestation, which is exactly how she got her internship in Chicago while only being a sophomore in college. Being young made the process difficult, but she knew what she wanted and where she wanted to be. She made it happen. 

The same can be said for her Youtube channel. She only has 86 subscribers to her channel at the moment, but Mondanaro’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed personality is extremely hard to miss in a room full of people–let alone online. Vlogging easily comes naturally to her. 

“I love talking to people, and I want to build a community around health and wellness, specifically in college and for college kids,” she said. “I think Youtube is a perfect way to do that!” 

Mondanaro’s mom owns and instructs at Hothouse Yoga Studio here in Iowa City, and her dad owns restaurants, a popular one being Bread Garden Market. She believes her parents’ career integration into fitness and food inspired her to set foot into sharing her lifestyle. But she doesn’t plan on following in their footsteps, at least not directly. 

She loves listening to podcasts by female entrepreneurs, simply because becoming an entrepreneur like her parents is something that definitely intrigues her. Except she wants to do it in her own way and set herself apart in an original way that’s authentic to her.

The business nerd, as she calls herself, is very interested in analyzing the different generations like Gen Z and Millenials. One thing she emphasized with Gen Z is their craving for authenticity, and it is something she hopes she brings into her vlogs and videos. 

“Authenticity to me is finding your purpose and running with it without the worry of judgment of others. It means loving yourself rather than looking for validation from the external world,” she said.

Mary Mondanaro walking down Linn St. to Dash Coffee Roasters. Photo by Maddie McCarron. 

To curate her authenticity, Mondanaro doesn’t put a lot of thought or staging into what she films in her everyday life. She keeps it raw and real by picking up the camera and seeing where it takes her.

She spices up her videos with some catchy beats and an original artsy intro she created of herself crafting her special homemade coffee, prancing through the fall leaves, and artfully demonstrating a handstand that even I wish I could do. 

As of now, the finance and psychology major vlogs for shits and giggles and feels passionate about the small following she has right now. As far as growing her channel and honing the title “Youtuber,” Mondanaro isn’t concerned when she has a supportive audience that allows her to share who she is and what she’s passionate about.

“For me, it’s not about the numbers,” Mondanaro said. “Right now, I have a small community, and I love sharing that with them—and I love making an impact on people’s lives no matter how small it is.”

She loves making and editing her videos, but she doesn’t want to become a cliché. To clarify, she doesn’t do it for the followers, the fame or the fortune. Mondanaro simply does it to help, share, and impact other’s lives for the better, no matter how big or how small her following grows into. 

“Right now, I have a small community, and I love sharing that with them—and I love making an impact on people’s lives no matter how small it is.”

-Mary Mondanaro

“The struggle with creating a Youtube channel is when people do it specifically for the followers. Another facet of me creating it was for another reason besides attention,” she said. “I’d love to impact more people, but I’m just kind of doing my own thing. If it is meant to become a bigger thing then it will become a bigger thing.”

For now her focus is to continue her mindful practices of yoga, taking care of her physical and mental health, sharing how she does that with others and continuing on her career path of becoming a strong female entrepreneur. If Youtube follows her along that career path, so be it! 

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