Insta-Famous: A look into DePauw’s rising Instagram stars


Sydney Jones, first-year, owner of the lifestyle blog and Instagram account @stellardolly

The DePauw: Describe your Instagram account and what it’s all about.

Sydney: I think it’s kind of a mix of being personal, but then also relating back to my blog in a way, because now that I’m in college I don’t have time to post on the blog as much, so I’ve turned to Instagram, which is definitely more aesthetic based.

TDP: So your blog is also called Stellar Dolly, tell me about that and how it got started.

Sydney: When I was thirteen, I took a computer class in eighth grade. One of our assignments was web design, so I set up a blog.  It was originally just supposed to be for school, and I wrote three posts, but then I realized I really enjoyed writing and stuff. Now five years later, I’m still writing about fashion and lifestyle whenever I get the chance!

TDP: Where do you get inspiration from and how do you come up with posts based on your ideas?

S: I’m really into photography, so usually a post comes from when I’ve seen something, and I decide to play with the angles and perspective and think what I could do with them in the context of my blog or Instagram. It’s kind of the opposite of how a lot of people do it where they have an idea and then go out and write or take pictures, all my photos are taken and then I decide: ok, how can I use these?

TDP: What’s your favorite post or the post that has gotten the best feedback/most attention?

S: I like a lot of my newer posts since I’ve been on campus, because when you’re just in the same place all the time you run out of stuff to take pictures of, so being on campus has given me a lot of inspiration and new things to take pictures of. This picture I took the first night I went to late night at Hoover is one of my favorites, because I think this area is just so beautiful when it’s all lit up and it was just such a fun night. Also a picture I took of the fountains outside Hoover got reposted by the DePauw Instagram so that was cool.

Natalie Raskas, sophomore, runs the photography account

TDP: Tell me a little bit about your account and what you post there.

Natalie: Well it’s a photography Instagram, and basically it’s just Saint Louis, with a little bit of DePauw but mostly Saint Louis just because I spend most of my time there when I’m not at school.  It’s mostly buildings and architecture. There’s a few people, I don’t know if you saw, but recently DePauw re-posted a photo of mine that was of my friend on a bike, but I don’t generally do portraits.

TDP: What inspired you to start taking pictures and to create this account?

Natalie: My dad’s a photographer, and then freshman year of high school I took a photography class, and I just had a bunch of pictures I didn’t know what to do with, so I put them in this account. It was on private and nobody knew about it, but then one day one of my friends found it and I was so embarrassed. But she said these are so good, you need to do this for real! So I made it public and changed the name, and I started getting recognized by Saint Louis people and it just kept growing.

TDP: How do you get ideas for each photo or post?

N: I would say, even though we’re in Greencastle, just like the city, and like I said, architecture.  I mean, I love Saint Louis, that’s my home. And I see ads, like I love Free People, Urban Outfitters ads, and I have a lot of pictures on my phone.

TDP: Do you have a favorite photo on this account?

N: This is a portrait, although I don’t take very many, this is one of my favorites.  One of the things I love is light, shadows, the sunset, etc. This is actually in Hogate hall last year and my friend was just standing there and I was sitting at my desk and I said wait, I have to take this picture!

This one I used photoshop on, but it’s another favorite of mine. I took it with a gopro and then used photoshop to bring out the moon a little.  I don’t usually do that, I think there’s like two photos [on the account] using Photoshop and the rest are not.

TDP: How long have you had the account and how has it changed over time?

N: [I’ve had the account] since freshman year of high school. I used to have no captions, I numbered them and people used to kinda make fun of me because it started off #1 and then I would post the next week #2, but now most of them have captions. I think most of them are quotes, just because I like to write as well, I’m an English major, so I like to combine the two.

Catherine Fisher, sophomore, runs the food and photography account @theinspiredplate

TDP : Tell me about your account, “The Inspired Plate.”

Catherine: So last semester I took a Winter Term [course] called Picturing the Plate, which was a food photography class, and the professors suggested that we use Instagram accounts to share our work. I didn’t end up using it for that class, but I made the account, and knew that I was really passionate about food photography so I might as well use that to share my work.  

TDP: And you feature mostly vegan food, correct?

Catherine: I do vegan food. I eat a vegan diet, and most of the food I post is things that I make, so they’re all plant-based.

TDP: How do you get ideas for recipes to make and to post about?

C: So a lot of it is based on inspiration, which is kinda where I got the name “The Inspired Plate.” I follow a lot of food photographers on Instagram and plant based food accounts, so I go there for inspiration, whether it’s just a kind of background they used, or a type of food, so I use that, not to replicate their work, but to produce my own.  And I also hope that whatever I produce, that I can inspire other people, whether it’s their photography, or diet, or lifestyle.

TDP: How long have you had this account and how has it changed over time?

C: I started it last winter. I guess I started it kinda at the beginning of January, and I was posting strictly food. Most of what I’m posting now is still food, but I want to start incorporating more of what I do outside of that and my sustainable lifestyle, so I might start doing that to keep the feed more interesting.  

TDP: Do you have a favorite post or one that has gotten the best feedback?

C: I do have one post, it was of a smoothie bowl, and I have these bowls that are made out of discarded coconuts.  This company takes unwanted coconuts and makes these bowls, and I had tagged their page, called “The Coconut Bowls,” and they ended up re-posting it on their own page.  So that post got a lot of likes from people who saw it through that page, so that’s probably my most liked post.

And also another page shared that photo I think, so that was cool.  I’ve had a few posts, actually, I think one of my pancake photos was shared through another account as well.  

But anyway I really enjoy it and I just reached a little over 200 followers, which is still pretty small, but I’m super excited that 200 people are interested in my work and I’m excited to see it grow.