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Meet Pallavi Sastry and Gabrielle Ruiz of What Are Friends For Podcast

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pallavi Sastry and Gabrielle Ruiz, co-hosts of the What Are Friends For podcast.

What Are Friends For? Two friends, Gabrielle and Pallavi, invite their dearest and sometimes newest, to discuss what it will take to nurture and grow our relationships in a post-quarantine world; Whether near, far, or 6-feet apart. Our conversations with our “GuestFriends” run the gamut, from meaningful, joyful, uncomfortable, vulnerable, you name it, because…let’s be real, making and keeping friends can be difficult in adulthood and we don’t talk enough about how crucial platonic love is to our health and well being.

After originally meeting on a summer theatre job in college, our friendship and respective careers flourished over the course of a decade. We knew we wanted to work together again one day; we were simply waiting for the right project. In 2020, the plans for Gabrielle to join as the co-host came about after our mutual friend and original WAFF co-host parted ways and gave her blessing. Then BOOM…pandemic. And, Black Lives Matter reached a tipping point. During a time of such global stress and disarray, we realized it’s crucial to have friends to lean on. So as co-producers, we decided that the perfect time to reimagine this podcast was during this pandemic because the quarantine was an opportunity to also reinvent how to maintain our friendship from afar. We talk to inspirational people who have real-world solutions and advice and also get vulnerable about our own journeys as women of color navigating life and friendships. Doing this show in quarantine has made us firmly believe that meaningful, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations are the way to a less polarized and more empathetic society.

Has it been a smooth road?
Being independent content creators during the pandemic has been a challenge. Pallavi has a one-year-old and had to have her mother fly in from Texas to help care for the baby. Gabrielle and her husband have been innovating new ways for them to build income with the shut down of the entertainment industry. We both have our limitations with our knowledge about technology and had to really get creative on how we were going to virtually produce the whole show. Plus we are both new to podcasting which continues to become a super-saturated market. We have to continually find new ways to stand out.

However, we aren’t new to the hustle of being entrepreneurs. Actors are their own business and longevity has always been the goal. So we apply a similar long game mindset to producing WAFF. We set big goals and find tangible ways to tackle the daily to-do list of building a new brand. We also believe in the show so much and think big on where it could go. Plus, we also took this opportunity to mentor current and newly graduated students that have aspirations in production so we were lucky to find some rockstars who keep the WAFF boat afloat. We would not be able to make this show without Alex Hudome, Susi Cabello, and Bailey Disler.

Please tell us about What Are Friends For Podcast.
We are podcast, a vodcast, a talk show, an opinion column, and squad goals all rolled into a beautiful gift of friendship. We aren’t afraid to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations but we also focus on joy and uplifting one another to become the best versions of ourselves. Season 2 The guest lineup includes Vasthy Mompoint (The Prom – Netflix), Carly Hughes (American Housewife), Javier Muñoz (Hamilton), Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black), Harvey Guillen (What We Do in the Shadows), Travis McElroy (My Brother, My Brother, and Me), Melissa Barrera (Vida), Karen David (Fear the Walking Dead), Kelli O’Hara (The King and I), Poorna Jagannathan (Never Have I Ever) and more.

Our exclusive vodcasts, bonus content, and monthly live shows on our Patreon channel are especially unique. The Live Shows are very interactive with our audience, as well as insightful conversations about friendship with our celebrity guests. Subscriptions on our Patreon channel also allow us to give a portion of proceeds to charities close to our hearts that amplify Black Women Artists, Arts Education, and the movement to close the age and race voting gap.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Virtual content production is going to become a mainstay. Until we have a successful treatment and vaccine for Covid-19, producers and creators will have to explore cost-friendly, low overhead ways to make new content to fulfill the huge demand. With more people staying home and working remotely, the quicker we will need to produce content for people to consume. We feel we jumped on the opportunity to make a show in multiple mediums at the perfect time and can’t wait to see how else we can continue to innovate to bring the What Are Friends For conversation to the masses.


  • All vodcast episodes are available for a subscription of only $2/month.
  • A ticket to our monthly live shows PLUS the vodcast episodes is only $5/month
  • A ticket to our monthly live show, vodcast episodes, and bonus content for $12/month

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Podcast art by: Aishwarya Sukesh

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