Ally Petitti has known she wanted to be an entertainer since she was 8 years old. It took her until she was 18 to make it out to Los Angeles, California, but once she was there, she didn’t stop.
Ally graduated from her dream school, the University of Southern California, in 2020 not long after kicking off her music career. Now, Ally has started podcasting. Her new show, Trying to Figure It Out is streaming now. We caught up with Ally to get an inside look at her inspirations, guests, and more in her vulnerable take on a mental health and discussion podcast.
Showstopper Magazine Online: What made you want to start a podcast?
Ally Petitti: I have been through a lot in my life from divorced parents, mental health struggles, abusive relationships, toxic friendships, and more. I have always been open about my experiences and my stories. I never hold back when talking to friends or family and have been in therapy for years. After going through one of the hardest years of my life, I ended up leaving my job at the time and spending a few months trying to decide what would be next for me. In that time, I realized how much I wanted to do something with my experiences and share them.
I started TTFIO with the goal of sharing my stories and creating a space for others who might relate to me. The podcast focuses on everything from mental health to growing up in a split household to friendships, relationships, sexuality, body positivity, and other topics that we are all just “trying to figure out.” With solo episodes and guests, we dive into so many topics and aim to aid anyone who might be going through something similar or who has gone through something similar.
SMO: In your “Figuring It Out with Jordyn Jones” episode, you mention that Jordan helped you name the podcast. Is there anyone else that inspired small pieces of the project the way that Jordyn did?
Ally: Jordyn did indeed help me name the podcast, and her mentorship has been so helpful throughout navigating starting Trying To Figure it Out. I would say that my mentor, who is a close family friend that was always like a second mom to me, was a huge influence in inspiring me to start TTFIO. I was speaking with her in January and talking to her about all these experiences I have had and told her I feel like I want to do something with this but I don’t know what or how. She suggested that I start a podcast and it literally instantly clicked in my head. That same week I started building a studio at my apartment, got a team of three powerful women, and since then TTFIO has been a reality!
“Since I was young, I have found that sharing is healing…”
SMO: One of the first things you say in the podcast is “I’ve been in therapy since I was 7 years old.” How do you think this openness sets the tone for the rest of the podcast?
Ally: I started this podcast to be an open book. Since I was young, I have found that sharing is healing and for me being open about my experiences has only helped me cope with them. Therapy is only one source of help when it comes to battling mental health issues. There are so many useful tools to help overcome these everyday struggles, and I think for me being open about what I do to help myself and set the tone that this is a space that will go deeper than most lets people know what they’re going to get from my podcast and what they can expect from me as a host.
SMO: Along with your solo episodes, you also make Figuring It Out With episodes with your friends. What made you decide to include those interviews?
Ally: I think the balance of solo episodes along with guests creates a really great and unique balance of me sharing my personal stories but also hearing the perspective of others with experiences and stories that I have not experienced but can either relate to or just create a space for them to share. I try to do a range of episodes with guests who want to share personal stories, struggles they have experienced, but also guests like my friend Beau who come on to have fun and also share great stories, happy experiences, and the beauties of life as well. Trying To Figure It Out aims to be relatable in every aspect from good to bad, and I think having guests on has created an extremely powerful and unique dynamic.
SMO: There’s a lot of vulnerability in TTFIO. How do you prepare to share stories about your experiences with everything from mental health to family to physical illness?
Ally: When taping solo episodes where I share deeply personal stories, I usually just press record and give myself the space to share and air it out. After I do that, I spend time editing, registering, and deciding what I am ready to share and what I am not. So far, it has been really easy to share these stories, but I have had times where I will tape an episode and decide to put it on the back burner until I feel fully confident and ready to share. I usually decide what an episode will focus on in the weeks before and then just sit down and see what comes out.
SMO: Does it ever seem too hard?
Ally: I would say the hardest moment of putting out these stories is the night before an episode comes out. I will feel fully ready to go and then have a moment right before release where I start questioning everything and wondering if I should do it or not. The feedback has been everything for these moments of vulnerability because my listeners always meet me with responses of gratefulness and appreciation for me sharing these stories. It has been and will continue to be a journey of learning myself and navigating this process as I continue to share more about myself and figure out what boundaries I want to push. I started this podcast to push boundaries and that is what I use to motivate myself and encourage myself to feel safe and comfortable sharing such personal experiences and stories.
“I wanted to make the space safe and open to discuss really difficult subjects but also warm, inviting, and funny as well.”
SMO: The podcast is very real and professional but also conversational and often funny. What made you choose this style?
Ally: This is EXACTLY what I was going for when I decided to start this podcast. Obviously, a podcast is all about delivery and storytelling. My therapists always tell me it is so fun to do our sessions because as we navigate these real struggles I have in my life, we always end up laughing through some of the hardest things I share. They have always told me that is a special quality I have and that it creates a really unique form of storytelling that could actually be impactful for others. This was a big inspiration for me when starting TTFIO because I wanted to make the space safe and open to discuss really difficult subjects but also warm, inviting, and funny as well. I chose this style because I think it opens the doors of who would want to listen to this, who would benefit from it, and adds a level of laughter and smiles when discussing topics that are rather taboo and not so easy to discuss.
SMO: How do you choose your topics?
Ally: When it comes to solo episodes I usually just think of my stories, things I have overcome, and topics that are important and relevant to me in my life and then start taping or coming up with a series that could work for those topics. Toxic Friendship Awareness Month is a good example of this. I have been through many friendship breakups and have had some ups and downs in my friendships over the years and I think that is something that is very relatable to many people. So, I decided to do a month-long miniseries called Toxic Friendship Awareness Month where we discuss all the complexities of friendship and go through all different episodes from a solo to an episode with Dr. Lauren Cook who is a wonderful Psychologist to episodes with friends and all different people to dive into friendships and all that they encompass. With guests, I usually choose my topics based on the research I do on them. When I select a guest, I usually select them with a specific theme already in mind for the episode and then I spend time prepping and diving deeper into how I want to interview them.
“I grew up with a deep love and passion for music and that is the industry I have worked in for six years. I wanted to find a way to still keep that love in my podcast.”
SMO: You have a playlist for the podcast. Can you tell us a bit about “Al P’s Three” and what made you want to choose three songs for every episode?
Ally: I grew up with a deep love and passion for music and that is the industry I have worked in for six years. I wanted to find a way to still keep that love in my podcast. Since TTFIO is not a music-themed podcast, I figured I would include a segment in each episode where I list three songs (or my guests list three songs) that go in line with the theme of the episode and compile them all into one playlist. It kind of creates a soundtrack to these stories and experiences, and I love having music to listen to for a specific mood. That is where “Al P’s Three” came from!
SMO: Do you have a favorite moment from the podcast so far?
Ally: It is so hard to pick one single moment because every interview has been so memorable and I am really proud of each episode I have made, but I would say my episode with Haley Jakobson was one of the most memorable moments for me on the podcast. I try to create a safe space for others on TTFIO, and in this episode, Haley did that for me, and I didn’t expect that and the chemistry we had in the interview left a lasting impact on me that I will forever be grateful for. I shared information in that episode that I have never shared with anyone and it was really meaningful to me.
SMO: What do you hope listeners get from TTFIO?
Ally: I hope that my audience can find TTFIO as a space to heal, grow, laugh, cry, and most importantly be reminded that they are not alone. I hope that this podcast continues to grow as wide of an audience as possible and that I can make an impact on people for many years to come!