What’s your story? Meet the student behind #halfthestory


Sick and tired of how people try to portray themselves on social media? Vanderbilt University student and entrepreneur Larissa May spearheads a social media campaign aimed at helping people tell their true stories.

May says we are in a love-hate relationship with social media. “Because social media is so powerful, it’s the exponential word of mouth,” she said.

The Chicago native is encouraging people to peel back the layers of their social media image and share authentic stories through an Instagram and Facebook hashtag campaign called #halfthestory.

“What we’re trying to do is challenge individuals to share the things that they’re actually passionate about and that actually connect them to other people,” giving them a platform to be creative and sincere, May explained. “The people who are part of the community are creating it, and that’s the best part. We’re promoting real human connection. Crazy, right?”

The #halfthestory campaign on Instagram.

May came up with the #halfthestory idea while juggling the stresses of school and a lifestyle blog she launched in her first year at Vanderbilt. “I still post fashion photos, but I feel more honest in my captions,” she said.

She’s also connecting schoolwork with her budding business.

“I came into Vanderbilt as a Human and Organizational Development major, which was amazing. I loved it and learned a lot of fundamental ideas,” May said.

When her blog started gaining traction, she expanded her classes.

“I went and designed a major called Creative Strategy, Marketing and Communications. It’s a combination of arts, business, managerial, economics and HOD,” she said.

May is applying all aspects of her studies to her business.

“Teachers were very open to it because they were so happy to see that I wasn’t waiting four years to use what they were teaching me. I was going to class and then going outside and using those tools,” she said.

The #halfthestory campaign.

May even found ways to adapt her study abroad.

“I turned my abroad experience essentially into an international business trip. I made it a goal that every city I went to or visited I would do work. For example, for Paris fashion week I covered street style for the fashion blog Look Book.”

May says sharing the hard work behind her juggle of school and work through #halfthestory keeps her grounded and connected.

“Being able to feel like other people are finding purpose in this small movement is life-changing,” she said. “It gives me life every day.”