“It’s funny ‘cause it’s true!” said Tina Fey on 30 Rock. As in all things, Tina is 100% correct. In our 2nd episode of For the Love of Finding the Truth, Elle.com humor writer R. Eric Thomas and Jen explore humor as a truth-telling device and how we can use comedy to face some of the greatest ideological battles of our time. Eric has a daily column called “Eric Reads the News” where he breaks down the biggest headlines as only a satirist, brunch enthusiast, and Beyoncé Fan Club President can do (and be careful where you read anything Eric writes—he’ll likely inspire uncontrollable snorts, much like you’ll hear from Jen during the episode). Eric’s first stab at observational humor took place at church while he and his brother made hilarious notes about the people there (to which Eric was sure they’d go to hell for). This humor later turned into imaginative scenarios Eric would post on Facebook for his friends (i.e. when he saw a group photo of President Obama, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and former Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Eric declared them “an all-male cast of Sex and the City”), which ultimately got the attention of Elle.com and launched his daily column. Eric’s journey is defined by confronting his own painful and hilarious truths as he’s overcome stereotypes, reckoned his Christianity with being gay, and discovered some surprisingly deep things about himself when he joined a gay softball league—all of which he talks about in his upcoming book Here For It. As Eric says: “The oppressors do not get to define the way I walk through the world and hold my head up. I get to define that.” As Eric would also say—honey, yes.
In the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, can you handle the truth? We think you can, and we’re excited to start a new series that dives into the murky world of truth-telling in our culture today: For the Love of Finding the Truth! Skewing the truth is nothing new—bias exists everywhere—but in the pre-social media era, it was a smidge easier to parse through what was real and what wasn’t. With the massive growth of online communities, there are more ways to get information than ever before—and more organizations looking to feed the information they want us to have (#fakenews). Kicking off the series are two women dedicated to sifting through the mountains of information hurled at us each day and understanding it from differing perspectives. Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silvers (who go by “Sarah from the left” and “Beth from the right”) stand a few feet from each other on the political spectrum, but are still friends—good friends. And they’re leading the way on how to have grace-filled political conversations, which they do each week on their highly acclaimed podcast Pantsuit Politics. Lucky for us, they wrote a whole book called I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) to remind us that relationship is always more important than being right. Plus, Sarah and Beth answer some burning political questions like: how does the Electoral College work and why is everyone in a twist about it? Gerrymandering—why should I care? And what’s gonna happen in 2020?? The Pantsuit ladies break it all down and give us thoughtful explanations and opinions, showing us how truth can be revealed through knowledge wherever you stand.
Erin Loos Cutraro has a vision some may describe as bold, but actually, it should be our reality: half of the people running for office should be women (and spoiler alert: women who run win at the same rates as men!). But often, starting when we’re little girls, women don’t see themselves as qualified leaders, or feel they don’t have enough experience, connections, or time to jump into the political arena. Erin is passionate about removing those perceived obstacles and clearing the path for more women to run for office—starting at the all-important local level (did you know 99% of elected offices are at the local level?). Erin launched She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that encourages and equips women from all walks of life to run for office. Erin and Jen talk about why it’s so important to have policymakers with diverse experiences and backgrounds, and how we can start small by getting to know our local officials. Erin believes women participating in government is the key to solving systemic issues in our neighborhoods and our nation, which lifts up everyone. If you’ve ever thought you could bring a fresh perspective to the political landscape where you live and beyond, Erin’s here to tell you: you should—and can—run!
If you’ve seen her on the Netflix series Chef’s Table, you know Chef Dominique Crenn is filled with equal parts talent, love, and creative whimsy. Dominique is the chef-proprietor of Atelier Crenn, the San Francisco restaurant she opened nearly a decade ago. And last year Dominique became the first female chef in America to earn three Michelin stars, the highest honor in the food world, all with an eye toward connecting with her guests and ensuring all feel welcome in her space. Raised in the Brittany region of France, Dominique moved to California in her twenties, looking for a sense of purpose, and talked her way into the glitzy kitchen run by acclaimed chef Jeremiah Tower—except Dominique had never cooked in a professional kitchen before. Today she and Jen talk about the ways leaders can help their teams thrive, how women can become advocates for each other, and why it’s so important to care for the earth as much as it cares for us.
Our series on Powerhouse Women continues with two strong women who are helping women in Haiti get through the most powerful and vulnerable moments they will ever experience: giving birth. Midwives Tara Livesay and KJ Johnson are best friends who work with Heartline Ministries and, like Melinda Gates, they champion maternal care as a human right. As Enneagram 2s, Tara and KJ became fast friends, and they tell Jen why they decided to become midwives, about the birth story that brought them together (an unexpected twin!), what it’s like to offer maternal care in Haiti (it involves Tara driving a van on the rules-optional streets of Port-au-Prince—not for the faint of heart!). Tara and KJ are facing broken systems that are daunting for people in their line of work, and instead of walking away defeated, they are offering love to one person at a time—the kind of love we’d all like to receive in our own moment of need. And sometimes, that’s all we can do.