All My Love: A weekly love letter from our hearts to yours

Danya Rodriguez, Social Media Manager

All My Love, a podcast published weekly on Spotify, is dedicated to uplifting and inspiring creatives to choose love and to embrace authenticity.

Created by students Natalia Betancur and Sofía Folwarski, I had the chance to catch up with these two at the Latinx Center to learn how their collaboration strives to shatter misconceptions about what being an artist entails, navigate inner child healing, and teach others how to better themselves through self-expression.

Betancur being in her 2nd year as an Art, Media, and Design Major while Folwarski hits her 4th year on campus as a Literature and Writing major are building a community for artists through each episode where they create conversations to enhance the artist mind; sharing their perspectives, talks of friendship, and even writing reflection letters helps them connect to themselves and their audience.

Read below on how one phone call between Betancur and Folwarski was the start of a new beginning and the creation of a passion project.

Through your podcast, how do you explore all kinds of love? 

Betancur: Self-love is a main focus [of our podcast] so we write letters to ourselves at the end of each episode as a way to reflect on the topics we’ve discussed. Whether it be about embracing our identities or showing up for ourselves. We have also discussed platonic love and to be honest we plan on covering all the different sides of love.

Folwarski: [To add on,] I would say we have also talked about an artist’s love for their creations and how fulfilling and self-actualizing it can be. Love is a beautiful emotion and you shouldn’t run away from it, you shouldn’t shy away from it because we’re here to experience all the different shades of love, and not all of it is going to be romantic.

Describe yourselves as artists, both individually and collectively.  

Betancur: Individually, I would say I’m a very go-with-the-flow kind of person. The best way to explain it would be that I’ll be living my everyday life and then I’ll see something that inspires me so I’ll try to make something different or try to create something out of it. I’m more of a design-based focused artist but I’ve never really thought about how I would describe myself as an artist, I guess I’ve been more focused on creating. Lately, I’ve been into exploring the gray area, everything in-between, the complexity of people and emotions, and what you can make of something. There’s no need to be judgemental towards yourself or to put yourself in a box.

Folwarski: Together, we’re very attuned to one another and also very open minded. [Individually,] what distinguishes me as an artist is that I’m not very plot-driven, I tend to like making ordinary moments feel extraordinary because life is what happens in between big events, my art and my writing reflect that. Wednesday afternoon that comes off as mundane but it may have been an important day for someone else in the world. It all comes down to being cognizant of the space you take up and that there’s such a finite amount of room in the world so we should be conscientious of one another. At the end of the day we should understand that what feels unspecial could be life-changing to someone. I’m very much humanistic and I gravitate towards more of a post-modern style of exploring emotions and shades of gray. But the wonderful thing about art is that you as an artist will change as you change through the different chapters of your life. You’re going to change and that’s beautiful because it’s not stagnant, you’re going to create new things, and you’ll learn a lot about how you see the world.

Listeners are looking at you to be vulnerable and authentic, are there times where you have to filter what you’re willing to share? 

Betancur: I’m someone who is very unfiltered, if it feels right in the moment then say it. I’m constantly changing and I’m not going to stay the same forever so I don’t think the words that I speak have to define me for the rest of my life. If I voice an opinion and I change my mind, I’m very comfortable being open about changing my mind and saying that’s not something I believe in anymore. I don’t see the reason why we should censor ourselves if we aren’t being disrespectful or hurtful. Everything I say comes out of love and I’m saying it with good intentions so it’s never meant to harm anyone.

Folwarski: Natalia is very unfiltered and I find that beautiful but I try to be careful with my words. I just try to be mindful and intentional with what I’m saying in regards to our mission. Something I like to implement in my life is being conscientious and understanding the weight of words. I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone so I do my best and my due diligence to represent myself, and my loved ones in whatever I say. I take my words seriously so I try to stay true to my values in whatever I say.

Has taking up space been difficult? How has the creation of All My Love helped?

Betancur: It has been difficult for me to take up space because as a young woman you learn to apologize for everything, and in a way you have to triple think what you’re going to say. Taking up space sometimes feels like a rebellious act because I’m someone who likes to speak their mind and I shouldn’t be so apologetic for taking up space. I should be allowed to exist and if it makes you uncomfortable I’m sorry but this is who I am. But it hasn’t always been that way and I’m still working towards being okay with not always pleasing everyone. People-pleasing has always been a big thing for me. Growing up I wanted to do everything in my power to make everyone happy and I would leave myself out like I wasn’t even last- I wasn’t even on the list of priorities. So in a way it’s working towards honoring my needs, what I want for myself and not so much what I think would make others proud.

Folwarski: At least for me, our partnership has helped because I can rely on Natalia to help me feel comfortable with taking up space. It’s been a lot of learning because you are deserving of space, you should be able to take up space, and have your voice/perspective heard. A by-product has been our podcast because we have stuff of value to say; we can make a difference in ways that matter. It has been healing to feel empowered because as a young woman you often feel the need to apologize [for taking up space], be/act in ways that aren’t authentic to yourself, and our podcast has helped with unlearning those beliefs.

Shattering misconceptions about what being an artist entails is a main focus of your podcast, why is deconstructing these notions vital? 

Betancur: Most of the misconceptions about creativity come from fear of expressing yourself and your emotions. Sometimes we grow up being told that creativity isn’t ‘good’ so it’s about deconstructing that and accepting that you can be a creative person within any field. At the end of the day, innovation is creativity.

Folwarski: Everyone is inherently creative, we are all interconnected as humans, and by design we’re creators so we wanted to shatter misconceptions people may have about what it takes to consider yourself a creative.

How has your identity played a key role within your creative journey?

Betancur: Dealing with culture shock and having to redefine my relationships when I moved was what made me get into art because it helped me deal with the confusion and fog in my brain. Art played a key role in my healing journey because the community is very accepting and everything is so subjective.

Folwarski: Being multi-racial has always made it difficult to feel like I’m enough of anything since I’m segmented with my ethnicities and that was a very difficult thing to deal with growing up. So for me, having a healthy outlet to explore that and not feel judged was an important factor in wanting to pursue writing. It allowed me to feel like my voice mattered, my perspective counted, and if I wasn’t enough I could always be who I wanted to be on a blank page and that would be enough in that moment.

What does the future hold in store for All My Love?

Betancur: We recently started to post our episodes on YouTube as well so that’s something but we would definitely like to grow more and have our messages heard by a wider audience. Exploring different art mediums within our podcast, for example short films and screenwriting is also something we’d like to do in the future.

Folwarski: We’d like to interact more closely with the community we’ve created through our podcast. We’re hoping to create more lifestyle content and eventually have our own production company where we get to work one-on-one with artists. Performing at open-mics and putting ourselves out there is also something we’d like to do. Getting guests on our podcast is something we’d like to do and we have some people in mind already so stay tuned for that.

Listen on Spotify by clicking the link All My Love.