1. What is your background?
I grew up in Saskatchewan but moved to Toronto when I was 19 to pursue journalism. I attended Ryerson university and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Journalism. In my final year I took an internship at The Plaid Zebra, an online unconventional lifestyle magazine. After I graduated, I was offered a writing position with the magazine and continued to take on various roles until eventually I was promoted to Associate Editor, and finally Managing Editor, which is where I’m at currently. Throughout my years at Ryerson I took a lot of sociology and philosophy classes, which greatly influenced the way that I see the world and formed my political opinions. It’s those thoughts and opinions that continue to drive me to create work that will broaden people’s minds and challenge social norms.
2. What inspired you to host your own show?
As much as I love writing, I similarly love talking. Engaging in a deep and interesting conversation is something that lights me up inside. When I write a story for the magazine, oftentimes I will have to do an interview. Sometimes these interviews are in person, other times they are over the phone or Skype and when all else fails, they can be completed via email. I record every interview I conduct and when I sit down to write the story, I first re-listen and transcribe the interview and then select which pieces and quotes I would like to use. The downfall to this method is that a lot of that interview gets left on the cutting room floor. It’s very hard to jam-pack an hour long interview into a 2,000-word or shorter article. And most people do not have the attention spans to want to read long-form journalism anymore. Social media has conditioned us to consume our information in tiny little, tweet-sized nuggets. I was very intrigued by the idea of getting to cover the same issues that I cover in my written stories, but to allow the audience to hear everything that the person I’m interviewing has to say. Unrehearsed and non-censored.
3. Why is your show called Fully Exposed? What does that mean to you?
We spent a lot of time coming up with a name that fit before this one was realized. Even though it is technically a journalism podcast, I knew I didn’t want to include journalism in the name as it makes it sound very dry and stale, and like it’s a podcast about the current state of journalism as a business, which it’s not. This podcast is about the people. It’s about the guests and the issues that these guest are dealing with or shedding light on. I wanted it to be rooted in truth. Truth that is sometimes ugly and oftentimes difficult to face or talk about. I’m not scared to ask the uncomfortable questions if they need to be asked, and I would like to create a space and a brand that allows my guests to answer freely and openly. Fully Exposed just sort of floated to the top of my head one day and it stuck. I like that the first thing you think of when you hear the title is nudity. The connotations related to nudity are uncensored, stripped, raw, open, vulnerable and honest. These are the same things that I want to try to relate to my show.
4. What impact do you see this podcast making in society?
I don’t like to count my chickens before they’ve hatched or however that old saying goes, but my hope is that it sparks discussions and changes people’s world view, even if on a very, very small scale. Of course, to an extent the podcast is biased, as everything else on the planet is, whether you want to be upfront about it or not. I choose the topics and find the guests and write the questions. Yes, the podcast will always centre around important topics, but they are also topics that I myself have deemed important. So, of course, there will always be people who do not agree with the things I have to say and who think the podcast is total crap. But the point is not to be liked. The point is to show that there are different ways of living and thinking than we traditionally see everyday, and how we can acknowledge those things instead of ignoring them and going back to our comfortable little bubble. I don’t necessarily agree with everything that is said on the show. I don’t live the same lifestyles or have the exact same beliefs as every single one of my guests. But I will forever fight for their right to these beliefs and I think that talking to and understanding one another a little better is a powerful tool for eliminating hate.
5. When you were in school, was podcasting something you aspired to?
I don’t even think I knew what a podcast was when I was in school. That sounds bad, but I was not into podcasting in the slightest. So no, it was not something I aspired to do. That being said, my education and the people I met while in school have greatly influenced the things I feel passionate about today, which carries on into the podcast.
6. Do you consider yourself to be a trailblazer?
I think everyone in their own lives is a trailblazer. If you follow your heart and act based on that rather than the rigid societal influences that surround you, then yeah, you’re a trailblazer. But by actual definition of the word, no. I’m definitely not doing anything new by any stretch. Podcasts have been around for longer than I’ve known what they are. There are also SO many podcasts. I highly doubt that I’m the first person to interview people with interesting and unique lifestyles or talk about taboo subjects. But yet, no two podcasts are ever the exact same and that’s what makes this so much fun. I could listen to two different podcasts about the same topic and take away completely different things from each one. So while I don’t think I’m a trailblazer per se, I do think that my podcast will stand on its own as a very unique thing.
7. How does hosting differ from your work with The Plaid Zebra Magazine?
As I mentioned earlier, it’s different in the sense that it’s uncensored and unrehearsed. I don’t let the guests see the questions in advance and we are very conservative during the editing process. The only thing we really cut is background noise, or if we do a re-take because someone stumbled over their words. With writing it’s very different. First of all, because I interview people from all over the world, it’s very hard to get people in for a face-to-face interview. That means I do it over the phone or by email. If I do an interview over the phone I miss out on the facial expressions and the mannerisms of the person, so it becomes harder to read the energy and come up with additional questions as we go. If I send questions via email, the person can write a very rehearsed and put-together answer, which ends up being less genuine. When I’m in the recording booth, I sit across from my guests and look them in the eyes as we talk. It’s a lot more real and honest and it makes for a better conversation. When I write an article I also have to cut a lot of the interview for space reasons. The amount of information you can get across in an hour long podcast is drastically higher than the amount you can convey in a written article.
8. If you could interview anyone on your show who would you choose and why?
For completely superficial and pop-culture related reasons: Mindy Kaling. I love her and think she is hilarious, plus I think we would have a lot in common and have the same sense of humour and wit.
For completely selfish reasons: J.K. Rowling. Apart from being a huge Harry Potter nerd, she is a huge inspiration to me. She has faced so much adversity on many fronts and yet managed to climb out of extreme poverty and despair completely by her own strength and efforts. Her passion for storytelling never wavered, even when it would have been very easy to call it quits. That, combined with the fact that Harry Potter is not just a children’s book about witches and wizards, but a series about hate and love, good vs. evil, and the social and political implications of a dictator’s power and control over the minds of thousands of civilians, is extremely inspiring.
For actual podcast reasons: Anyone and everyone. Learning about people is the best way to learn about the world, and yourself.
9. What does “educate your ass” mean?
The tagline for the show actually started as a bit of a joke. Lizz, the producer, and I were throwing around ideas about what the tagline should be to no success. I think if you try to force something too hard and for too long, the ideas will just continue to get worse and worse. We took a bit of a break and then I was being sassy and, as a joke, said “a podcast to educate your ass” and it stuck. It really means what it says. It’s a cheeky (pun intended) way of saying “listen to this podcast to learn something new and open your eyes to things you might not even know existed because you’re too busy living in your comfort zone.” The majority of people, myself included, are ignorant about at least a handful of things. Ignorance breeds hate, and I think that constantly learning about others and expanding our views, or realizing that things aren’t so black and white it really important. I think the edginess of the tagline, plays nicely with the edginess of the podcast altogether. It’s not meant to be polite and politically correct. It’s a podcast about people’s truths. Part of conveying that is to talk how people actually talk.
10. Is there a topic that you just couldn’t discuss with a guest?
Off the top of my head, no. Is there a topic that I would feel uncomfortable talking about with a guest? Absolutely. But in my experience, the things that make you uncomfortable usually have the greatest reward.