Q&A: Northwestern cross country alum Izzy Seidel talks running and career experiences


Photo courtesy of Izzy Seidel

Izzy Seidel. The Northwestern cross country alum has had paid partnerships with brands like Outdoor Voices and Nike on Instagram.

Charlotte Varnes, Managing Editor

Scrolling through Izzy Seidel’s (Medill ’18, Kellogg ’19) Instagram reveals a mix of picturesque and humorous: Seidel rollerblading in empty New York City streets, standing among piles of trash and enjoying a picnic in the park.

Seidel, a Northwestern cross country alum, worked jobs in athletic marketing and photoshoot production after graduation. But since May, Seidel has become a full-time, freelance content creator, frequently partnering with brands on Instagram. The Daily spoke with Seidel about her career path post-graduation, her experience cheering on sister and Olympic medalist Molly Seidel, her Instagram running meme account and more.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity. 

The Daily: What was jumping into freelancing like after having a full-time job?

Izzy Seidel: I slowly started working at growing my following, and it was not easy.  I was lucky I stuck with the running niche because it’s something that I love. I realized after leaving college I could not give up the running thing. I used my skills that I was learning as a professional and translated it into freelance work. One of my first gigs was with Outdoor Voices, which was a dream for me when they reached out. I was so ecstatic. Then (I) started building a portfolio working with brands — and also not getting paid — and creating content just to build credibility and a following. 

The Daily: What does your day to day look like as a freelancer?

Izzy Seidel: I’m still trying to figure it out. It’s a weird concept that people are interested in seeing my day to day (life). Now, part of my workday is going for a run and capturing it. Then I will sit down and create content around that. I think a lot of people don’t realize the time commitment that goes into creating content, because you see it on your phone and it’s a fun 10-second video, when in reality that could take hours of getting your outfit together, going for the run, cutting video and editing it and then posting it. 

The Daily: What has your running career looked like post-college?

Izzy Seidel: It’s been wild. I thought I would step away from the sport more than I have. After graduating, a lot of my teammates at Northwestern didn’t give up running but put it on the backburner. For some reason, I couldn’t let it go. A large factor of that was my sister (and) living with her because she was and still is a professional runner, and then also working at a running-apparel company. Once I moved to Boston, it was a huge running city. It was the way I made all of my best friends. I joined a running team and it was a social outlet for me, and that was so valuable. I ended up excelling more at running after college because I was generally really happy with life. I wasn’t super stressed. Moving to New York, running has followed me here and how I made so many of my best friends. 

The Daily: What has it been like supporting Molly in recent years?

Izzy Seidel: There are definitely ups and downs, but it’s been a really exciting time. Not that I’m experiencing it myself, but being able to witness her achieve her biggest goals is such a special feeling. I lived with her for two years and was living with her when she qualified for the Olympics. She’s one of my best friends and has been wild and inspiring. Her achievements have 100% inspired me in my career trajectory.

The Daily: You recently started the running and raccoon meme account @sadgirltrackclub. What was the inspiration behind that?

Izzy Seidel: I have a very self-deprecating sense of humor. My sister and I would send each other raccoon memes via DM. Right around when I went freelance, I was like, “You know what? I’m going to start my own raccoon meme account.” The account had no followers when I posted the first meme and I was making them because I was like, “This is funny. I get enjoyment out of this.” It’s insane looking at the insights of memes because people are sharing them upwards of 400 times a post, so they’re hitting. They’re resonating with people. I’m excited about this account and want to turn it into more. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @charvarnes11

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