2 New Podcasts! (or The Unbearable Anxiety of Being Interviewed)
Listen to new episodes of The Beauty Haus & SheSez, featuring me.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of… podcasts.
Last week, I was a featured guest on two new podcast episodes (linked below), I recorded three more, and I fielded requests for a handful of others. I usually say yes to these requests since being interviewed for an existing podcast with an existing audience is (theoretically) an easy way to get my work out into the world. I don’t have to investigate a new skincare ingredient for months, I don’t have to agonize over the opening line of an essay for hours, I don’t have to pull my hairs from their cozy little follicles when an editor cuts said opening line. I just have to talk to someone on the phone for a hour about research I’ve already done, and boom. It’s over. Except…
My heart races the whole time. My stomach hurts. As soon as I hang up, I feel stupid. I tell myself I’m better at writing than I am at speaking — and actually, I hate my writing lately, so why would I ever think it was a good idea speak about my work?? I replay the conversation in my head and cringe at my answers and worry that I didn’t add enough caveats and disclaimers to satisfy the “well, actually” crowd. I convince myself that some contrarian is gonna come for me because I didn’t cram the entirety of the human skin experience into a 30-second response about retinol. (Yes, I realize I’m unwell!)
Anyway, here are two new beauty podcasts that dropped this week + some behind-the-scenes insights on the recording process.
1. SheSez with Linda Grasso
I had to record this podcast episode, hosted by journalist Linda Grasso, twice. My earrings were knocking against my headphones during the first take and apparently the audio was unusable. You would think I’d use that opportunity to better prepare myself for Grasso’s subtle “gotcha!” energy, but alas, I did not. She and I have very different outlooks on beauty — on aging in particular — and sometimes it felt like her questions were designed to back me into a corner and get me to admit that aging is a bitch and Botox is great and you’re right, I’m only 32, I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll change my mind about the oppressive nature of ageist beauty standards when I’m older! Grasso is good at her job and she caught me off guard a couple times and I stumbled over my answers quite a bit because ultimately, I do not want to defend my analysis of beauty culture to an individual in real-time. I can’t think on my feet! I’m better at pulling together quotes and research from various experts and textbooks and studies over a period of weeks and presenting them in a 2,000-word essay that nobody has the time to read ;) Give it a listen, though — at 26 minutes, it’s a quickie.
2. The Beauty Haus Podcast with Shannon Kim
I loved my first conversation with Shannon Kim, host of The Beauty Haus Podcast. Unfortunately, that conversation is not part of this podcast!! Our initial talk was instead part of Kim’s pre-taping process, wherein she interviews her subject off-the-record, takes notes, and creates a narrative roadmap for the actual episode, to be recorded at a later date. By the time we had our second conversation, I felt like… the “magic” was gone? I felt pressure to adhere to the pre-discussed narrative, and my answers felt canned and hollow — all of it, obviously, a product of my own anxiety issues, not Kim’s process. She is lovely! I made things weird! For example, Kim asked about my personal history with makeup, I answered, and she responded that makeup seemed to be an early form of “self-expression” for me — self-expression being one of the pre-planned talking points. That is decidedly not how I see makeup though, so I pushed back and said something along the lines of, “Nope, this is not self-expression, this is the opposite, this is using makeup as self-rejection, here’s why, don’t you see??” and felt like a real asshole about the whole thing. Toward the end, Kim threw two unexpected questions my way: “What inspires you?” and “What keeps you going?” These kinds of questions make me want to disintegrate into a pile of dust and pour myself into a scented Hefty bag to be hauled away by a garbage truck. I word-vomited some panicked, flowery response about “truth” and “light” I think? Like… WHAT??? Truly, WTF?! WHO DO I THINK I AM??? That said, I do think there are some gems in this episode. Diamonds are forged under pressure and all that. It’s worth a listen!
OK, now I have a question for you: If I started a podcast — just me, all of it within my control, none of it anxiety-inducing, lol — would you listen? This is something I’ve been thinking about for literal years, but I haven’t carved out the time to do it yet. So should I? Are you even into podcasts? Do you prefer reading? What kind of content would you like to consume in an audio format? Or do you think I should just shut up entirely?? (This is my personal opinion, and yet, I can’t seem to keep myself from writing and talking and generally making my presence known.) I’d love to hear your thoughts!