November 16, 2018

Journalists Mariella Rudi and Nicole Behnam Go Beyond

Mariella Rudi and Nicole Behnam, Co-Founders of Beyond The Interview

When Mariella Rudi and Nicole Behnam began working on Beyond The Interview, an online magazine with more 23,000 subscribers, they had no idea social media would play such an integral role in their readership. They’ve been going at it for just under a year, and they’ve already featured interviews with a diverse group of people who share their insights and their vulnerabilities—Amanda De Cadenet, Jay Luchs, and Overheard LA, to name a few.

“Words are so powerful you can sell them,” Behnam says. “People selling you music are selling you song lyrics. You also pay for books, magazines, horoscopes. You’re buying words all the time. What makes people think words aren’t powerful?”

And that’s their motivation behind this all. With a noisy internet landscape that has constant updates and an overload of information, the two young entrepreneurs noticed some patterns and decided to devote their efforts to educate people and help them, by using their awareness of current trends.

“Everyone’s an expert now,” Rudi says. “We have self-help experts and fashion experts and all kinds of experts, and you can really only divide them into two categories: people who have an expertise in their field, or people who have expertise based on their particular life experience.”

A good example of this is a drug addict who has overdosed several times, finally quit cold turkey, and can tell other addicts about the process that helped him quit. “It’s very different than a psychologist urging people to quit and listing reasons why they should,” adds Behnam. An addict will relate better to a former addict with a visceral experience. It’s all about the story.”

Which brings us to BTI’s slogan: There’s always more to the story.

Behnam, a USC alumna, and Rudi, a Pepperdine alumna, have both hired both writers and interns from their alma maters, noting that it’s important for writers to get a head start with bylines and find their voices early on because of the competitive world of journalism.

Rudi and Behnam weren’t planning on going from online magazine to media company, but it looks like that’s were they’re headed: Beyond Media.

Mariella Rudi and Nicole Behnam of Beyond The Interview.