By Amanda Eggert EBS Senior Editor
Sarah Gianelli, who recently joined the Outlaw Partners staff as a full-time associate editor, said her journalism ambitions were sparked by an early love of “Harriet the Spy,” a children’s book about the exploits of an 11-year-old girl with detective ambitions and a journalist’s tendencies.
Harriet’s adventures and observation-rich approach to life prompted the purchase of Gianelli’s first diary, in fourth grade. And she still has it, a little lock-and-key affair.
Gianelli’s love of writing followed her through multiple locations and undertakings, including degrees in art history and English literature from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania; a marketing and promotions position at a Broadway production company in New York City; and the launch of the Jerome Supper Club Experiment, a five-course underground supper club Gianelli opened in Jerome, Arizona.
Gianelli, an inveterate foodie with an appreciation for detail, would set her made-from-scratch meals atop a table with vintage linen and freshly polished silver.
Through all of those endeavors, the 40-year-old Long Island, New York, native has continued scribing away. She estimates her first journal has been joined by 60 others. Writing is something she loves and she’s simply compelled to do—“I don’t know what else I would do,” she says.
“My parents were always trying to push me into something more practical, but I always came back to writing and the arts in some form or another,” said Gianelli, who attributes her love of food, wine and passionate discourse to her Italian upbringing.
For a while, Gianelli entertained the idea of writing fiction, but she said reality has given her plenty of material to use. “I find that real life is so interesting and fascinating that I don’t see any need to make anything up.”
While pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Gianelli wrote long-form literary nonfiction pieces about a vigilante motorcycle gang and a nudist colony. The latter presented unique challenges—she said her subjects kept attempting to recruit her in an effort to bolster their colony’s aging ranks—but the story spoke to her love of finding out what makes people tick and bringing their unique contributions to a broader audience.
“I look at [journalism] as a passport into any world, or culture or subculture,” she said. “It’s like a green card into [a different] world.”
Last February marks the one-year anniversary of her first assignment with Outlaw Partners, and she’s been editing the Arts and Entertainment section of Explore Big Sky since last July.
We hope EBS readers will continue to enjoy Gianelli’s creative, one-of-a kind writing.