Season 2 of Straight to the Comments is returning on June 22nd. In the meantime, we have prepared two special bonus episodes, and today we're excited to share Part 1 with you.
Join us as we discuss why we started the podcast and reflect on some of the issues covered in Season 1, including fat-shaming and ageing. We also share our personal stories of living abroad—Sarah in rural Australia and Cape Town, and Lisa in Oslo, Norway. And discuss how we have confronted self doubt and discovered the power of second acts.
Tomorrow, in Part 2, we will dive deep into the world of online mobs and comment culture. We touch on the scandal that rocked This Morning, how Lizzo wants to quit social media, and the reactions to new couple sighting - Kylie Jenner and Timothée Chalamet. We even go straight to the comments about ourselves and this podcast.
Follow us on Instagram for news and behind-the-scenes @s2tcpodcast
If you like the show, please rate or review it and don't forget to share it.
This series is produced by Emily Crosby Media.
Click here for the full transcript
Hello everyone, it's really great to be back with all of you. We've missed you during our break. But we've been busy planning season two, and plan to be back on June 22nd with a whole new episode, so just two weeks from today. In the meantime, we're releasing part one of a two part bonus special
We are indeed, and today we'll be sharing a bit about ourselves and how this podcast came to be. Then tomorrow, we'll be taking a bit of a look at Lizzo’s fight back against fat shaming again, the scandal that rocked This Morning, and even the viral Kylie Jenner and Timothee Chalamet hook-up.
And that's not all. Tomorrow, we're also going to be going straight to the comments about ourselves and the podcast. And believe me, it took quite a lot of courage to finally go read the comments from a group of anti Alice Evans online commentators about us, we'll be sharing our reactions to that experience.
And I've not even heard any of these. So I'm just going to brace myself a little bit.
Don't worry Sarah, I think we've got this. But today, we're going to be doing something a little bit different and interviewing each other and going deep into why we started this, and what we really feel about our episodes and the issues that we bring up.
Okay, that sounds good. But as long as you promise to go more Terry Wogan rather than CIA interrogator, because I know you can get a little carried away.
Yeah, I promise. Okay. Let's go.
So Sarah, we all know that you don't like social media. No, I'm joking. Let’s make a podcast about social media and you don't use social media. But I run the Straight to the Comments Instagram account, and we've connected with the most lovely people. I won't put their names out there, they might get a bit embarrassed. But you know, these messages have been so appreciated and supportive. The people that have got open profiles on Instagram, I can see that a lot of us are all very similar. We're all very creative, funny, love animals. And I kind of think that's why we want to do our podcast is that we wanted to kind of find our tribe, and I think we've really found them.
I think that's so true as well. I have had a little look, I'm like you said I'm not big, big on social media. But they just seem like quirky, interesting women like ourselves, I'd like to say.
And it's so lovely to see other people who appreciate the same thing. And it's really lovely to get that direct feedback, because sometimes it does feel like shouting into a void. You just, it's like you said to me before, it's not like live theatre where you get an automatic feedback if they like it, or they don't like it. So it can be a bit, um…Yeah, I mean, it can feel a bit weird, not knowing how it's received sometimes.
Exactly. And I think that's why I thought this week, it'd be quite a good idea if maybe we shared a little bit more about ourselves. I mean, we've shared bits along the way, I know. We've shared quite deep, vulnerable things along the way. But I thought maybe we should just do a quick interview with each other and explain why we're so passionate about sort of this topic and why we started this podcast in the first place.
Yeah, I think that's a great idea. Because I think it gives a bit of insight into who we are, why we're doing this, and yeah, so I'm happy to go. Let's do this.
Okay, so I'm gonna go first. Sarah, you grew up in a remote farm in the Australian Outback, and part of the year in York? Why was this and how has it shaped you?
Yeah, well, I feel like I have to explain this to everyone when I meet them, because being half and half, you know, dual national, so I'm British, and I'm Australian. And people then automatically assume, okay, so one parent was one and one parent was the other. And it's like, well, not quite. Both my parents are originally English, but my dad who was much much older, he emigrated out in the 60s, as an adult, but with his parents, because they were farmers, to Australia. And they swapped the Yorkshire farm for, you know, a huge one in Australia that's really dry and beautiful, but it's very…how do I say this? You know, it's very remote, where, where we're from, but we, once we were born, and we started going to school from about the age of nine, we started coming back to York more often, well we’re in a little village outside. And yeah, so I had this kind of mixed upbringing, which was really interesting. And it was also a bit weird because I always felt kind of like I didn't belong anywhere. I mean, they're both quite anglocentric cultures. They both speak the same language. You could say there's quite a lot in common but I remember in school I was always called a ‘pom’ in Australia, which is the slang for British person. I don't think it's, I don’t think it's an endearing term. I don’t think it's meant to be complimentary. But then when I'd come back to England, I suppose with my parents, I'm more English in that relation. But I was born in Australia and I always felt like I was very Australian, the younger I was. And over here it would be - you're the Australian one. So it was quite an interesting feeling of not fitting in in one way. Splitting yourself, you know, living half the year in one country, it was like the other one didn't exist while you were there, and then you just went back to the other. But also, I think it gave me the opportunity to look, see more things about the cultures, because I was stepping out of them for a while. So I think when you're really just in one culture, it can just become so normal that you don't notice these idiosyncrasies, you don't notice the patterns. And so I really appreciate that.
What kind of farm was it?
Wheat and sheep. So sheep were for the merino wool, and wheat. And it was it was, it's large, Australian farms are, see, I'm talking about Australia and my Australian accent gets a bit stronger.
I just noticed that!
It's like, this is why I say I have a schizophrenic accent because it just goes all over, and then I'm, I saw some relatives the other day, and they were like, Oh, you sound so South Africa now. And I'm like, do 1? So I don't know what I sound like. But yeah, it was uh, farms in Australia are obviously much bigger than here. But it wasn't like cattle country or something, you know, there was a school 15 minutes away. In some ways. It was quite idyllic growing up on the farm, but it's very, very remote. And I think it's a hard life, particularly for women.
For farmer's wives. Yeah, quite lonely I think it was my mom.
Did you have many friends in Australia then growing up? I’m imagining this big remote farm. How did you find people to go and play with?
There were other farmers around. And like I said, it wasn't station country where it's so huge that no one's there and people go to school on the radio. So my best friend Lorinda from Australia is my oldest friend. In fact, we became friends when we were six months old. Well, I don't know if we chose that. But my mum met her and they had babies same age. So we grew up together, we're still friends. And then we had family friends. There were three families, ours and two others, and we used to like have barbecues, and we used to play this game called Spotlight. And they're still kind of all like cousins to me, those families. So there were, there were quite a lot of people there.
Yeah. And just I know, and just lastly about Australia, because it's something that fascinates me. You said it was a bit hard for women out there, can you just talk a bit more about that?
Well, I've always said, and don't get me wrong, I have a strong love for rural Australia. But I always say you've got to deduct about one or two decades from whatever year you're in, to how far they've caught up. And I think it's what you know, when you see these films, and they talk about small towns in America.
I remember my mmm saying that when she first arrived there, she arrived in the 70s after she married my dad. And she said they were at this event and someone was coming up and talking to her with my dad. And one of the women came and like grabbed her and was like, No, the women aren't allowed in this room. The women have to like sit in a separate room and talk. And things like that, there was a lot of misogyny. I mean, it has changed quite a lot. But it's quite steeped in its traditions I'd say. I think it's also just lonely. I think that's happening a lot more. There's a show called Farmer Wants a Wife in Australia. The young male farmers are struggling to find partners, because not many women want to live in the middle of nowhere. And a farming…that's the thing that I always find quite funny. They call you a farmer's wife, you are a farmer, you are doing the same amount of work. My mum used to do 18 hour days dipping sheen when she was pregnant, and then also had to cook and clean and look after us. So it is incredibly, an incredibly tough life. And those women out there are so strong and the men too, but like, I think men, the male farmers could throw themselves into the work a lot easier. And for the women, it was hard to find that connection. And if you were struggling, if you had depression, if you had postnatal depression, there was absolutely no help for you, you know, so it is a tough life. And I have a lot of respect for that, for the people who do it.
But then that leads me to why did you select, I mean, you went to study Experimental Psychology at university. And I always said to you, wow, what a cool title for a degree, I mean. But what does that involve and how did you arrive on that decision? Because, like I said, I always thought of Ghostbusters, you know, what was Bill Murray doing? Was he doing experimental psychology, like doing that electrocution on those students?
Yeah, but like they they put a stop to that I think in the 50s. You have quite strong ethics and they did used to, they didn't actually electrocute them, they made them think that they were electrocuting other people, so there was all these kind of experiments. So there’s strong ethics that you have to go through now. I did actually do something involving wires. So my master's project, I was essentially using these mini ultrasound probes on people's temples, and you have to like, you usually use ultrasound gel, but it's… the department were like, it's cheaper to buy KY jelly. It's the same thing. You're like, we're just gonna buy that instead. So I was basically lubing up people's foreheads and sticking probes on them, and making them do listening tasks while I while I, you know, looked at their brain, but that was just that, you know, that was in my master's and then as an undergraduate, I did more like social psychology. It was really interesting how I got there, actually. I'd always been interested in sort of psychology, serial killers. I know a lot of people are really into that now. All..I think if I'd have been American, I would have said my ideal job was to be a psychological profiler, you know, with the behavioural analysis unit with the FBI, but I don't think you can join if you're not American, I remember looking it up at the time.
Yeah. But from the age of 18, I'd always said, I'm going to be a barrister. And I want to become a judge. I think I just wanted to give my opinion on everything.
Then you just did a podcast?
Yeah. So I've just yeah, I've gone a different route, but I've got to the same place. Yeah, I wanted to give my decision, my opinion. But just at the last minute, I realised I didn't want to be one. I’d just made that decision when I was eight, and I just stuck to it. And like it was a week before, I had my application all set, and I was going to apply to Cambridge to do law. And in the last minute I was like, I don't want to do this. So I was like, I want to do psychology, because I'm interested in that. But I had a week to choose, they didn't have a full psychology degree at Cambridge, so I decided to apply to Oxford, and they had experimental psychology, and I don't think I really knew what I was getting into. I think a lot of people as well, they think psychology is just, you know, people used to say to me, Oh, I'd better be careful then, you can read my mind. It's like, psychologist, not psychic. But also, we didn't really do that. Oxford was so determined to be seen as a science. It was all experimental, which is very different from behaviour analysis, anything like that. It's literally, you know, experiments, often, questionnaires, it's all about statistics. Whether I sort of fully understood that getting into it, I'm glad I did it. It really gave me a strong grounding in critical thinking, in understanding observer bias. And you know, I did find it really interesting. Yeah.
But then we've talked a little bit in the podcast that you struggled a lot with your emotional and mental health, like I have. That's one of the reasons we bonded when we first met.
Yeah. So do you want to sort of share with our listeners, like why you went down to Cape Town a few years back, because we went around the same time in 2016, you went to Cape Town, I went to Oslo, which is just a coincidence, we started our new lives. Can you tell us about this?
Yeah. So it was, I didn't know I was going to stay there, by the way. It was part of an ongoing, I'd say, I'd say I've had depression, and some suicidal ideation from the age of about eight. I think my eating disorder really took off around 12. I first started seeing a therapist at 17. But I had my first big breakdown, I'd say at the end of my first year of uni, and I actually took a year off. And since then, I've been sort of trying to find treatments to help myself. Firstly, it was private therapists, because my mum was really concerned about the stigma. Then I moved after my undergrad degree to Australia, and I had my second major breakdown. I actually went into an inpatient psychiatric clinic. And then I'd done this like day patient with eating disorders. I've done all these things for years trying to just, you know,, it really was a case of not really even being able to function at one point. And I, as I mentioned, in the fat shaming episode, I'd gotten up to, oh, just under 30 stone, so you know practically disabled. So I was finally, my mum finally scraped together the money to send me to a private inpatient eating disorder clinic. And my therapist often referred people to this one in, in Cape Town.
So I went there. And I went there for three months, and I just loved the place. But I decided to come back and try and continue with my life, but it didn't sort of work. So six months later, I went back again, and I decided to stay there long term in treatment and sort of like in a step down treatment for quite a long time. And I've just stayed on there longer, because I've been able to build sort of a bit of space and life and new patterns. I think it's quite hard to change old patterns in old environments. It's not impossible, but I just fell in love with the place, it felt like home to me, it felt like the perfect mix of Australia and England. You know, it's not so remote, like where I grew up, but it's not so frazzled, like London, which I also loved, but it was just, you know, it was a nice mix. And I found a spiritual community there as well, where we do sort of meditation and things and I found that really supportive. So yeah, I just fell in love with the place
And I've seen you almost transform, the last years since you've been there. I don't know what the power of that community you belong to and the work that you've done. I mean, it got quite seriously bad for you in London at one point. I mean, you were really struggling. And I almost felt like, I don't know, I feel like you're a butterfly emerging now, you know, from years and years of like, like you said, it's very hard when you get into these old patterns, you describe that really well, like sometimes you just need a new start. Not always, but it takes a lot of psychic energy to restart. And you did.
Yeah, I mean, I remember when I came back after the first time, just sitting on my living room sofa, I would feel hungry, because that's where I used to binge. So it was almost like my body was primed for it. And so having a sort of new place, and having a whole team there that could support me, because it's, I love the NHS, but it's very hard to get the level of support you might need for an eating disorder, particularly if you're not, you know, severely, severely underweight. There's just so much demand and such a long waiting list that, you know, I found a place where I could afford to get the support I need. And I realised that I'm incredibly lucky in that respect. But like you said, I mean, it was, I have to be honest, not to sound overly dramatic. I'm turning 40 in November, and I didn't really think I would make it to 30, let alone 40, because of the severe mental health, you know, issues. So. Yeah, I do want to just sort of say to people there, there can be hope, just keep going. But it doesn't feel like that when you're in it at all.
I know. And I know how hard it's been. And that brings me to, because that's why, one of the reasons we started this podcast, we felt very passionately, I mean, yes, we said we wanted to be impartial. But we really wanted to cover the fat shaming episode. Because I went through episodes of being shamed for different behaviours over the years to do with my mental health and some of it I needed to be called out on, but the fat shaming, particularly, I think we have a lot to say about it. And I think you articulated yourself beautifully in that episode, and a lot of people responded really well to it. I think we got a lot of people connecting with us because of that episode.
Yeah, I mean, that's my favourite episode. And it's also the one that so many people came back and said, Oh, I think that's my favourite episode. And that was before we'd done, finished them all, but because there was a sort of personal element to it. And I think also I felt almost a sort of semi expert on the topic in the sense that my entire life has been about weight, eating disorders, fat shaming, you know, all these things. So I, it's a topic that I'm both passionate about, and I feel like I've got both a lot of experience and read a lot on, so it was definitely my comfort zone doing that.
Yeah. And I think so many women, it doesn't matter what size they are, they relate to body shaming, yeah, or feeling fat, even if they are objectively not.
And that's one of the lines, I really remember, you said that you were in treatment, and there was people in there that were, like, technically, the beautiful people you see in the magazines, and they still felt terrible about themselves. And that made me really think.
Yeah, yeah, I've got one, I mean, one of my best friends in South Africa, she, in my opinion, she looks like a model or an athlete, but she, you know, and she's come on so so far in the time, but like, you know, everyone has their insecurities.
They do, and talking about insecurities, we had a few starting the podcast, or like, but we'll get into that a little bit later about the journey of the podcast. But is there anything you'd like to have done differently during season one? Or you think, Oh, we could have said that? Or I wish we'd done that? What do you think?
Um, it's hard to say that, because I think that we really tried to do our best with the tools we had at the time. So, you know, neither of us had done this before, this was a massive learning curve, we didn't have that level of experience, you know, someone who has been a broadcaster for years. So it was like learning on the job. And, yes, I think that we've improved as we've gone on, and we will hopefully continue to improve, because I think everyone should always focus on that. But I don't go back and think, oh, I shouldn't have done that. I think the only things were in some of the setup and some of the, you know, stuff that we, we had to make decisions about. We got there in the end, but initially, there were points where I felt like I let my self doubt steer me away from where my intuition was like, oh, maybe we shouldn't follow this line or go with that person or whatever.
And we got there in the end, but we had to do this like quite difficult childbirth, because it was like, No, I was right, I didn't have a good feeling about that. And so it has really reinforced to me. Trust your intuition. You know, don't let yourself be, sort of talk yourself out of it. Because you're like, oh, maybe I don't know what I'm talking about. Like if you got a strong feeling, go with it. I mean, the only other thing that I would say that I would change is not actually the episodes or that, but like you, you and I both know, when we decided to do a podcast, I think in my head, I was like, oh, you know, we chat all the time. We, you know, we have a phone based relationship because we live in different countries and we can chat for hours, you know that, but I thought, Oh, it'll just be like our normal thing, and then we'll record it for an hour, once a week, you know, it'll be it'll be fine. And then, you know, with the concept that we landed on, it is so much more work than I thought it was going to be. And I'm glad that it is, I enjoy that work. But we started off doing weekly episodes, and we're an independent outfit. So, you know, we don't have massive teams or anything. We do it all ourselves pretty much along with our producer Emily. And the intensity of the work of doing it weekly. I love being able to get something out there weekly, but it was leaving, it sort of was leaving no time to manage life as well. So I've sort of realised what a big project it is. But I don't regret it at all. No.
But we met, we, just to say that Sarah and I said this in our trailer, we met in a bootcamp pushing, and it is genuinely true, we were pushing huge tractor tires up a hill together. She was like a machine. You'd lost 10 stone, you were on fire. I was working out.
Yeah. And you also worked hard.
And we worked out really hard. And then we went for a long walk together. And we honestly those walks were painful in the afternoon. They were three hours after five hours of exercise in the morning. And we talked and we talked and we talked and and we didn't even notice we were still walking. That's how much I love talking to you.
Yeah, me too. Yeah, we really bonded and then I came to visit you in Devon? Poole.
Yeah. In Poole in Dorset. Yeah.
Yeah, I came to, yeah, sorry, my geography isn't the best. But yeah no, we had…yeah, we've never stopped talking really, I mean.
Yeah, so then when you moved abroad, it was a good sort of thing that I almost felt like I had you in my pocket because I had WhatsApp. And we could just talk anytime. You were in Cape Town and I was in Oslo. I almost felt when we're on the same…is it? Sorry, help me out here…long… ?
I felt like we’ve got a line from Cape Town to Oslo.
Oh, yeah, totally. And I think and that brings me to my questions for you and everything. So you've mentioned Norway quite a bit. And you've you know, you are originally from Poole, and you know, you lived there for a long time and you lived in London. But you moved to Norway at the same time as I moved to Cape Town. So why did you do that? And do you want to tell us a little bit more about that journey?
Yeah. Well, like you said, I didn't actually move to Norway, or to another country until I was 39. You know, I've lived my whole life in the UK. And I guess, you know, I've always had that love of nature. I've always been sort of daydreaming or pinning pictures on Pinterest of dogs and cabins and nature and wildlife. And I've always had that fascination of just being completely on my own in the countryside. Because I did film and TV at university, I went to Royal Holloway. And once it finished, I was like, where do I go? If I want to work in the industry, you've only got one destination, that is London. And like I've mentioned before, and I think we discussed a little bit the Nepo babies episode. I didn't have much financial backing, I literally worked and did everything myself. But when I got to London, it was a lot tougher than I imagined. And yes, exciting, exhilarating. And maybe it's Sex and the city's fault, but I thought I was going to be Carrie Bradshaw, you know, peak Carrie Bradshaw era, the early 2000s. But in reality, I was earning 23,000 pounds. And I was really struggling to make ends meet as a sort of assistant / PA for some quite powerful media players. You know, working at actually, I worked at ITV BBC, as an assistant.
And all your money goes on a tiny flat, right?
A tiny flat and I ate so much tuna and sweetcorn and pasta in those first few years. And I still to this day, don't know how people managed to have lovely outfits and go out and I don't know. I just feel like it's two different Londons you know, from people who've got money and people that don't. But I gradually did move up the ladder out of PA work into PR and I landed my dream job at Disney. I think I was around 33, sorry, 33. But it was only a maternity cover. And the woman at the recruitment agency said that it's a dream job, they never have job openings there. This person is going to come back so don't get your hopes up, that they're not gonna be taking you on afterwards. But I still gave it my all and I think I always wanted to work for Disney and it was my dream place. I was working on the Avengers. The Help. War Horse, so many, The Muppets. I launched the Muppets. So I was doing all the PR, doing the junkets which is when you go to the hotels, you had the film stars, you create all the publicity or the content, write all the articles. It was so cool, but when the contract ended I really hit a wall that I didn't expect. I literally didn't know where to go next and they were so sorry like and gave me presents and said, but we just can't keep you on you know, and I said okay, and I took myself off back home to live with my mum because I just, I’d had it with London. I was, I've got no man, I've never met anyone decent in years. I've got no money, got no home and it's not just about the man but I just felt like I was not winning anything in London anymore, you know I'd done it. I, I've been there 12 years, I had brilliant friends. So I went back home to live with my mum, went on lots of country walks with my dog, listening to Madonna. And I applied for a local job, and it was a really nice local job. And I made some amazing friends there. But I just had this feeling I had one more adventure in me, you know, and I was back on my Pinterest board pinning pictures of cabins, and then one night, I'm not joking, I saw an advert in TechCrunch or something saying they were looking for a social media marketing sort of launch manager for a project in Oslo, for an exciting entertainment startup. And I was like, Okay, I'm gonna go for it. So I wrote a really heartfelt, like cover letter, like really gave it my all. I couldn't believe it. 10 days later, I was out there for an interview. A month later, I got the job. And two months later, I moved here. And after all that striving in London, I mean, I really strived to make it there. To meet someone, to get a home. In one year in Norway, I met my dream man. Like, I mean it, I'm still with him six years later, we bought a house by the sea, which I always dreamt of. Got my dog. But yet my career is shit here. No, can I say that? There's not as many job opportunities here. I've had an OK career. But yeah, that's that's why I got to Norway.
Yeah, no, I mean, so would you say that you've sort of found a way of life that makes you happy, you’ve found your sort of home?
Yeah, that's a really big question. And, yes, I found, actually, a real deep piece in Norway that I don't, I didn't really have before. You know, I think maybe it's something to do with the connection of nature, and that I've got that nature around me all the time, and I've got a dog, I've wanted that for so long. I think it's been really important for my mental health. I just genuinely feel less anxious here. You know, it's a good society, a fair society, they treat people with dignity. There's less people here, there's only 5 million people so you feel more space. There's so much I love about it. And it's been a good work life balance. And I've met some lovely people. And they're really into the community here, which I like. The only part that's been challenging for me, and I can understand it, is that I'm, it's a small job market. So there's lots, there's not as many opportunities. And because I've worked mostly in the media, it's even less or hardly anything unless I speak fluent Norwegian. And I just speak basic Norwegian. And so I sort of think back to your point earlier, that when you go move somewhere abroad, as well, it almost makes you feel acutely aware of your own identity. And because I came here at 39, and sort of fully baked, I kind of have made my friends, I love British culture. I love British, a lot of British stuff. I love gardening. I love British gardens. It's like, I sometimes ache for that a lot. I didn't realise how much it meant to me. But yet I've got everything else I dreamt of here. So I live this sort of mental state where I'm sort of back in the UK a lot, thinking about the content. And you know what I mean, like doing this podcast with you and following stories and things like that. But at the same time, I'm physically here. So I still feel like I've got a bit of work to reconcile that.
Well, I think it's hard because I think so many people are looking to tick all the boxes in life. And like you said, you tick some and there's ups and downs in life in each aspect. You know, I don't think anyone is just is completely content in every area of their life, are they?
No, and I think someone, you know, years ago, my first therapist said to me, you've got to compromise Lisa, so you can't have everything. You've got to pick things and sometimes make those decisions, and opting for those infinite choices and possibilities of what your life could be. But even when I went back to London last week for the podcast festival, I was like, Oh, I love London. I really miss it. Maybe I should be back here. It's like, just close it down. Focus on what you've got and put your roots down and grow it. Yeah.
Yeah. So you asked me what my favourite episode, what, I mean, what's your favourite episode of of the ones we've done so far?
Well you’re never gonna guess Sarah!
Oh, no, it's gonna be really difficult for me.
It was the Madonna episode. And I think it's because I felt like we had a lot to say about that.
And you're a huge fan.
Yeah, we know. And, and also just genuinely the topic of women ageing. It's weird because someone, a really good friend said to me once, that it's all about mindset. And we've discussed this before, if you make something, if you keep thinking and fixating on something like I do - women ageing, or being discriminated against, you make it true. But then part of me is like, no it is true, because I saw this thing where, through my career, you sort of peak at 35/40. And suddenly at 40, I did notice a shift. I didn't quite fit in because I wasn't a director or head of department, but you’re too senior maybe to fit into the main team, because you got a lot of experience. And even if you sell yourself as I'm flexible, I can work in a team like my last job, you've got a manager that's 15 years younger than you. And that's not a problem. It's more that you have to kind of edit yourself so badly because you've not strove to go and go for that top job. So I sometimes, I think that I've got a little bit lost in whether it's a true thing, or if it's sort of like I'm fixated on it, what do you think?
I think it's complicated. I think both things can be true at once. Right? You know, there are statistics, as we talked about in that episode, that show that the older women, there are less older women in the workplace, they are promoted less, and that there are, there is ageism in our society. And yet, it's also, we each have this opportunity of how do we adapt to that? How do we, you know, how do we how much do we focus on it? And how do we find ways around it? Because it can be if you focus entirely on it, that it becomes bigger and bigger and bigger, and it becomes the only thing. And then it's almost like self fulfilling.
Because if you build up a sort of bitterness towards this, that system, which I'm not saying people should be happy about it, but you almost sort of like go in with a chip on your shoulder, and you kind of like, that's going to put people off even more. So I think, God, I mean, there's so many different things at play. Ageing is a real thing. And it does affect women, particularly, but there are also loads of older women who are just going, no I'm not going to accept that. So. Yeah, I think it's a mixture of, it depends on the industry you're in. It depends on your personal situation. Yeah.
Exactly. So yeah, I feel like I've got a lot to say about this. And I actually would be interested in doing a bit more of a part two on this.
So I mean, the same question for you, I suppose that you gave me, is there anything that you would have liked to have done differently? Or change about any of our episodes? Or where you think, Oh, God, I wish I wish, I wish we’d said that, or wish I'd done that? Or I wish I hadn't said that, you know?
So I think that the one episode I was reflecting on because I listened to it was the Gwyneth Paltrow one, because we we put a lot of work into that. And that's a big story. Because actually, it was quite sprawling, like you did, I think we did a brilliant job putting it all together. There's a lot to go through. And I think that ultimately, I felt like quite angry by the end of the episode with her, but maybe I'm not as angry as I think I am. Because ultimately, I'm really a bit more angry about capitalism. And just, you know, consumerism, and just that ultimately, she's not doing anything different from any of these sort of other big business people out there just making more and more stuff from Apple to, you know, Kylie Cosmetics, they're just all doing it. But it's just more I get sickened by the amount, it’s sort of pushed on us. And like you've made that great line, I love that in the episode, which is, you know, yes, it's wellness, but why does it have to charge so much? And I think it's part of a trend, you know, that you see all the time on Instagram, like, join me on in Turkey for this retreat, and it's like 5000 pounds, it's like, you don't really care about your, the people's wellness, you know, you don't, you know, you could take them for a walk in the New Forest.
You know, there is a, there is a place for that for the people who want it. But I think it's when it's pushed with the message of, you need this in order to really to get to the next level instead of saying, well, this is one option, but you can also just go for a walk in the New Forest, it's, you know, I suppose that's the entire industry of marketing, like, you know, you have to make people feel like they need it, that it's special that there's nothing, they couldn't get it any other way.
Let's talk about straight to the comments and how it came to be, like, I mean, how we came up with the concept, where it came from?
Yeah, I mean, we've wanted to work creatively for a long time together, haven't we? And but we could never find the right time. And so when my contract ended last year, I finally had a window to do something I loved. And I really, I called it my soul project. I wanted to do something that was mine and not other people's, you know, it really represented who I was, and my creativity, and but also work with you. I think we complement each other so well.
And I've been talking about doing a podcast for forever, for a long time. So here we are.
Yeah, I mean, we've done some writing and editing work together, just in small parts. And we always found that we lined up really well. And we wanted to do a creative project. I mean, we talked about writing a TV series, we talked about writing a movie, but you had a full blown corporate career, which kind of limited the time that you could put into it. Whereas I have a more flexible sort of life. I mean, I still have quite a lot of commitments, but there was a bit more freedom. So we were kind of waiting for that break in your career that this opportunity gave, we sort of decided we wanted to do a podcast before we even came up with a specific concept. I mean, we had a few ideas. But this was the one that we were most connected to right from the beginning. And I think we also just really loved the title and the concept. But as I said, we didn't know it was gonna take so much time and so much research and I think both you and I are perfectionistic. We get really obsessive about things. We love to really get into it and do it properly. So we just kind of jumped into it really.
And it was a big step for us because I think there had been a lot of anxiety about doing a project, you know, something we've always wanted to do. We've always wanted to both be creative and be out there. And maybe our own self doubt had stopped us. Being able to do it together really help that?
I think so. And like I said, in our trailer, you know, I worked in social media for years. So I'm used to tracking and listening to people's conversations and comments. It does sound a bit creepy, but it's part of your job is to sort of
Just lurking there!
Yeah lurking and monitoring your brand and what people are saying. And I generally find the comments section really interesting. You know, it's really like the pulse of the public opinion. And it's fascinating to see how people rally around certain issues. And I wanted to shine a bit of a light on this.
And it was sort of like, yes, we like gossip. Yes, we like celebrity gossip. But, you know, when we looked, looked around, it was like, the pop culture sort of podcasts and other things out there. There weren't as many from the British perspective, it was very American based. And there were none looking sort of directly or focusing specifically on the comments. And the general sort of culture in some of these was, was that it was quite mean spirited, or quite bitchy, like I said, and we really didn't want to do that. And we didn't want to just stop at the surface, we didn't want to be like, so we hear this person is dating this person. For us. Yes, the pop culture is the is the way that we go in and thing that we're interested in, but really more ultimately interested in society, and just what it says about being human, and you know, all those good things and all those deep conversations, I think you can totally get to, from any topic if you really want to. And so our aim to be, sort of ,not do this in a non judgmental way, do this in a sort of fair way, and we just we've ended up coming at it in a feminist way. I don't think that we specifically set out to make a feminist podcast, but we sort of slightly ended up there. And that's where we came up with the catchline ‘Gossip without the Guilt’ because that is our, that is our aim. I think there's a lot of, we've said before, there's a lot of judgement around people who like to read, you know, celebrity or entertainment news, like, Oh, you're so much lesser, you can't be very intellectual, you can't be very serious. Well, you know, I believe that we're multi-dimensional layered human beings as, as are all people. You can like these topics, and also like having a really deep philosophical conversation, why can't you do both? So, you know, that's, that's how we found ourselves here.
And we had some really fun conversations at the start of the podcast, sort of saying, you know, there was all these names for the Daily Mail like the daily fail, the sidebar, or shame. But you're like, when I did my research, you know, the Daily Mail, I think a staggering readership, staggering reach in the UK, like, I think I won’t quote them, but millions of views every day, someone's reading it. And, you know, they even said themselves, it's mostly ABC one women, sort of a demographic seen as professional, you know, class of women. So someone is reading it. And it's not just the Mail online, like we cover the Reddits, the Instagrams, we, we do all of it, and we try to go to different places,
Even financial times. So yeah, we try to give him the three year 360 view on the topics. And, and what's interesting is that I genuinely and I think this is a very big topic to take on is just about the civility that's going on in the conversations online. What I mean by that is the way you have dialogues. And going back to like when we're you know, most of us have gone to school, and we learned how to write an essay, it's about being constructive, given both sides, coming to a conclusion. And we try and take that approach, right. But it's just the lack of civility, and who has got the best put down. And even you see that, like, that's, that's the trending kind of thing I see on Twitter all the time. Like who can put someone down the best?
Who would speak like this in real life? You know?
Uh, yeah. I mean, you know, what's difficult is, I think that we put trolls as these other, you know, like, the most extreme ones. But it's gradations, right? It's gradations of grey. And so, I think a lot of people tell themselves, Oh, they're just being funny. Because they want to be snarky, in a, in a way that like, you know, people think is hilarious. And I'm just, I'm just witty, you know, or the other thing is, I just like to be brutally honest. I'm just calling out people. I'm a check. I'm just speaking my truth, you know, is a phrase that people say, and I had a really good quote, the other day, and I can't remember where I heard it, but it was something like, people who talk about brutal honesty, love the brutality as much as they love the honesty.
And there's something in that, you know, there are ways that you can say things and I think I think it is very dehumanising when people are separated by by the internet, they they forget they're talking to a real person.
But it does feel like there's a competition on Twitter, like who’s right?
Yes, yeah. And as if there is a right or wrong, there's a correct answer. And it's always two sided where on the, you're either pro obesity or you're anti obesity. There's no sort of mixed ground of like, you know, let's look at this from a nuanced perspective, why is there always a bad guy? Why is there always someone we're fighting against? And we have to sort of win the argument? Because that's what they all are. They're all arguments. They're not discussions anymore. My mum used to always say, Oh, back in the day, and I don't know how true this is, but she's like people have lost the ability to have conversations where you can have completely different points of view, and you're just discussing the topic, and then maybe you get by the end, you go, well, we'll agree to disagree. No one wants to agree to disagree now. It's like, no, you're wrong, and I need to convert you.
Oh, that's, that's a powerful way of putting it is the conversion, right? If you do not bow to their opinion, you'll be pursued to the ends of the earth, you know.
Either I'll convert you or I will absolutely destroy you. Those are the two options, often for some people. And I think that usually comes from a place where they really need to prove they’re right because they don't necessarily deep deep down trust that they know. So if I'm not sure of myself, then if I can convert everyone, then I can prove to myself I was right.
But even though we had this mission to be impartial, I learned along the way, like I said earlier about Gwyneth, it is hard not to have an opinion on something. And I think people want you almost like we said with some of our peers in this podcast space, they have hard takes on things, they just say something, and I I'm sure it's much easier to do a show where you just go, she is such a so and so. I agree. And that yeah, ends there.
Or I'm gonna say something really outrageous, because it will get covered that way, at least at least, if I, if I'm controversial, that'll get me attention, or, you know, people talk a lot about, oh, you're sitting on the fence or, and I think there's a really big difference between someone sitting on a fence because they're too afraid to say what they really think, and someone going, I don't really believe in two sides. I want to try and look at it from all the perspectives and accept that, yeah, that person triggers me. I mean, we're all triggered, there are people I look at and go oh for fuck sake. And then I go, Okay, well, why did I have that response? Why am I so, why are they irritating me? And is there something in me that it reminds me of that I don't want to look at? Because I think that's the most, you know, useful way that I can approach that for myself.
You know, we, we like to know what team you're on. We, we’re as humans, our brains really like to categorise, are you us? Or are you them? So if you say, Well, I'm kind of like everybody, or sometimes I want to be, you know, you see this a lot more in America, we said about how, you know, are you a Democrat? Or are you a Republican? And you know, where's the space to go I have different opinions on different topics, and they don't necessarily always fit into a single space. And maybe that's okay, too, but it's not okay for a lot of people.
I mean, yeah. And I think we had quite a lot of fear of ourselves being attacked, you know, and, and fear around doing this podcast. I mean, what was your feeling, because at the start, we were kind of like, a bit nervous weren’t we?
I think, in general, I've always had a fear of being seen and putting myself out there very publicly. Doing a podcast, as opposed to getting up on a stage was slightly more comfortable. I felt a little bit more cocooned. The more visible you become, the more reactions you're gonna get to that, and not all of them are going to be positive. You can't please everyone, someone is always going to be angry at you. And I feel like that's been a big theme for me being very conflict avoidant, and really struggling. For a long time, I've really struggled with any negative feedback. And I think I've built up a lot more resilience, but I don't think anyone really likes someone telling you you're an idiot, or someone, you know, picking on you, or, you know, and what's interesting is the fear of it is much bigger than the reality when it happens. You're like, oh, this is unpleasant. But when you're anticipating it, it's so much worse. And I think that's why we've got to the age that we are, and it's taken us this long to start something public like this because of those fears, right?
Exactly. I mean, you know, I've started so many projects, and it's actually very hard to start a screenplay. I've written screenplays, scripts, done things over the years in London, and, you know, there's always the doors are like, you've always got to kind of get seen by someone, a commissioner or someone likes your script. Whereas doing the podcast is so immediate, and we don't have any hurdles, we can just put ourselves out there. So really, I encourage other people if you feel frustrated and want to do something creative then a podcast, yes, it's hard to do, but it's actually I found the threshold to kind of getting yourself out there much easier than other projects. And like I said, you know, at first I just thought it was going to be my friends that were going to listen, my very lovely loyal friends. And, and then suddenly it just really exploded. Like I think we, that we kind of slowly climbed and climbed and climbed. And then when we had a break for a week, we did our Harry Potter episode or something, and then came back two weeks later to the James Corden one and Ellen episode, and something about that episode really resonated with people. And it went up to number three in the UK entertainment news charts. And this was a really big thing for us, because we've been sort of in the top five, top 10 Really now since then. And what's interesting is that, you know, we're up there against, you know, like you said, top broadcasters, and I think this is a really good message for other people that are trying to do something or struggling and thinking, Oh, you’ve got to have the right connections, you’ve got to have money. You've got to do all this. You know, we've done this, I think on a very small budget.
Yeah, just by ourselves really.
You know, we're not young influencers. I mean, I've got like, no followers hardly on Instagram. I just keep my family and friends on there really? And you've just got your cat.
I've just got my cat. Yeah, yeah.
And me, I keep knocking your Instagram, Sarah, I said, just put yourself on there, not the cat. But I don't mind, the cat’s very, it's got its own personality. It's Ophilia. So follow Ophilia if you want to follow Sarah. But the point is, is that, we had like, we had like, the lowest of the low profile. Like we're more anonymous than, you know, anything. And we got there, because I think that we put a lot of work and time. And I just want to pat ourselves on the back.
Totally. And it's just a start really, I mean, there's still so much, so far to go. And, you know, this was a, you know, I'm really proud of where we are considering what we we've we've, where we've come from, we haven't had we haven't just been launched by the BBC with a massive marketing budget, or we didn't already have 100,000 followers that then would listen. So you know, when you’re putting so much into something, and it is a passion project, then it is nice to see that other people appreciate it too. You know, that's the whole point, really, is that we want people to enjoy it and be interested. Yeah. I mean, we're not just talking for ourselves. And I think that reminds me of the you know, we did the Oscars episode, we talked a lot about second chances. Second acts like Michelle Yeoh. That Oscars was all about the comeback. And I think I would want to encourage people in any area that they're doing, just take a little step, take a leap of faith and not a giant one. I mean, just a manageable one. And then just keep taking the next little one, because it was a leap of faith for both of us. And, you know, hopefully, it'll embolden us to make bigger leaps of faith. And, yeah, I want, I would love everyone to just do something, even if it's for themselves, even if it's, you know, you start start your own, you know, garden, gardening, you've always wanted to do it. So do it, you know.
And that's easier said than done, you know, but, yeah, I like hearing inspirational stories, and I think that gives me a bit more strength to try and take those steps that I've been afraid to take.
Likewise. So we will be back tomorrow for part two, where we'll continue this conversation and go into Lizzo, Phil Schofield and more. So please join us for that.
And we also want to announce that we'll be back with a brand new episode on June the 22nd. And from then on dropping fortnightly episodes. So we'll see you tomorrow.
So see you tomorrow. Thank you to our lovely producer Emily. If you enjoyed today's episode, please don't forget to leave a review and subscribe. It really does help us in reaching more people.
Also, you can follow us on Instagram at straight to the comments podcast. Our handle is @s2tcpodcast, and join us next time where we'll be diving headfirst straight to the comments. See you there. This podcast has been produced by Emily Crosby Media.