Rodrigo Bustamante is a creative from Miami, Florida. He is currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain scholar where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Global Studies, and minors in Sustainability Studies and Entrepreneurship.
Rodrigo has dedicated much of his young adult life to activism, art and environmentalism. While pursuing nearly every opportunity that has been presented to him in these fields, he has found that he is most passionate about creating and sharing stories. This vigor has helped Rodrigo develop a portfolio that ranges from personal photography and videography projects, to roles working in creative marketing and brand strategy and onto ventures between and outside these realms.
Rodrigo views his career choices as artistic decisions that tend to exist at the cross-section between adventure and lifestyle media. More important than these classifications, he would describe his work as intimate and versatile. He is committed to embedding himself in situations that mean something to him, but is also constantly recreating himself and his vision. He believes that the most profound stories are those that an individual actually feels strongly about and because of this, Rodrigo ultimately hopes to foster a deep connection between himself, the team working alongside him, the subject being covered, the task at hand and ultimately, the greater audience.
A Note From Rod:
In my junior year of high school, I created “whoisrodb” – an alter ego of sorts. For a couple years I had been struggling with an identity crisis… I had fabricated a persona that was a bit cold and detached, overly ambitious and stubborn; worse than these, I was afraid to feel, to be unconventional and to live freely. Despite living this lie, this was the person my friends and family had come to know and love.
As a result of these external pressures, I began to lock away my crazy dreams because I was scared of starting over. I kept telling myself that I was perfectly happy with where I was... boy was I wrong. It ate me up that I wasn’t doing anything that brought me to life. I had no real passions. That fire to go out and do something just wasn’t kindling.
Things began to click during my third year of high school. I realized that this fabrication was exhausting – I couldn’t keep up with it anymore. I created “whoisrodb” as a way to divert from the person many knew, and started fresh. I wanted people to reconsider what they thought of me, I wanted them to literally ask “Who is Rod B?”
Upon opening these floodgates of sorts, I allowed a part of myself, that I had suppressed for so long, to come to the forefront. I grappled with my identity and at the end of the day, I had to choose between a sensible fabrication or an unconventional reality. I opted with the latter.
Whoisrodb is probably the most profound thing I’ve ever created because it is an exposé about my life. Through it, I have been able to find myself and reaffirm my passions.
I read The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun in the summer of 2017. At the very beginning of the book there is a quote by Howard Thurman that says: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I always asked myself what the world needed from me and never asked myself what I needed. With this new outlook, I’ve come to life now. I’m happier than ever, thinking critically, asking the big questions… I’m pursuing my dreams.
After thinking about everything, I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully figure out who I am… I’m going to continue evolving because that’s what life is all about. Though I may never be able to answer the “question of the century,” I do have a sense of purpose now and I’m excited by the endless possibilities that life will present me with.
Whoisrodb has been far more than just a clever Instagram account name… and I am looking forward to keeping it that way.