It would be rude to talk about nipple hairs in the company of a lady right? Wrong. For any podcast lovers and girl-gang fanatics, nipple hairs are but one of the many incredulous and hilarious topics covered by the LadyGang. Launched in 2015, the podcast has seen its fair share of female faux pas and triumphs. Viewed through the lens of its three hosts, Entertainment Tonight's Keltie Knight, former Glee star Becca Tobin and fashion designer Jac Vanek, you get honest and hilarious views on the daily life of women.
The program, which has amassed a whopping 25M downloads, fuses self-deprecating stories from the trio themselves, and allows lots of audience interaction, whether that's in the form of questions or conversation prompts. And while that number seems massive, the ladies were quick to point out that the devoted listeners don't necessarily, and interestingly, translate to social media followers. “If all the millions of people that listen to our podcast would follow me on insta I would be so happy," noted Knight laughingly. “I had a girl come up to me this week and said, 'I am the biggest LadyGang fan, I listen every week,' she was an actress, [I said] 'Oh I'll follow you on Instagram, what's your Instagram?' and she was like 'I don't think I even follow you.' I'm like 'how do you listen to the podcast every week and don't follow me on Instagram, what the hell?'"
SWAAY chatted with two of the three ladies, Vanek and Knight about the podcast's trajectory and some inspirational collaborations in their near future.
On LadyGang origins
The three ladies, all in entertainment and fashion, knew each other through friends of friends, with Vanek and Knight ironically united by a mutual ex-boyfriend. And while they may come together twice weekly to record the show, it's certainly not something that gets in the way of three very hectic schedules. "That's the really cool thing about the three of us together," says Knight. "We're certainly friends and have certainly become closer through LadyGang, but we all have our own lives, we all have our own careers, and we sort of come together, very different women, every week, to make the show."
Originally intended to be a celebrity-focused show, data then found their listeners were equally devoted to the shows with just the three of them on the mic, than with some A-Lister (the self-deprecating and overly humble trio refer to themselves as D-listers, but not so say their legion of cult fans). “As we kind of went along over the past couple of years, all of our listeners and our fans became really invested in our own lives and our own personal anecdotes and stories that that has been kind of the driving force through the podcast," says Vanek. “We'll get just as many downloads of a show that's just the three of us versus if we have some A-list celebrity."
“I think what makes the show cool is our motivation to always make all of our women feel less alone and feel more normal by opening up and telling our stories." Keltie Knight
On giving back to the LadyGang community
We've encountered a lot of phoney "women's empowerment" in the last few months who've rode on the coattails of #metoo and #timesup, and have come to recognize that many are in fact doing lip service to further women's societal position. These three are doing the opposite.
"I think what makes the show cool is our motivation to always make all of our women feel less alone and feel more normal by opening up and telling our stories."
Recently they partnered with Claremont Lincoln University to give out $100k in student scholarships to women. The non-profit, which reached out to the ladies via Vanek, will benefit the women who haven't the time or money to commit to an onsite University degree. "We have so many questions coming from girls that want to go back to school, that are working full time jobs, are stay at home moms, or don't have the funds to actually pay for a master's degrees," says Vanek. "So this was a way for us to make that happen for women who wouldn't get the chance otherwise."
The competition is an easy application and only requires the submission of a one-minute video, through which you might end up with a master's degree. "It's not some bullshit degree that won't be able to help you," advises Vanek. "These women are able to take power and become as confident as they can in whatever jobs that they're in."
On LadyGang TV
In May of this year it was announced that the LadyGang will no longer be beholden to a single microphone in a recording studio, they're about to hit the small screen. And not only will they be featured in their new show, but they'll be producing, because who knows how to put on a good show better than these three?
“Wait, if you think Kim Kardashian is crazy, you wait till you see Becca Tobin."
- Keltie Knight
"The E! Network was always our top choice, it just felt like our realm really fit so well with what they were doing and so we pitched to them," notes Knight, who's no stranger to television herself. The show, which will launch in the fall is sure to ensue in hilarity, and the real talk that really come to connote the LagyGang brand. What you see is really what you get with these three, and we're sure that's what has landed them this major career move.
Gang's all here! (L-R) Becca Tobin, Keltie Knight, Jac Vanek
And what's more, they promise that even with the advent of their TV adventure, the podcast will never go away. Vanek was adamant about this, commenting, "we would never get rid of the podcast. The podcast is everything and it's so great for us to be a part of." So there you have it ladies, come fall, you will get your fill of this trio three times a week. Is that even enough? We're entirely unsure.
For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."