Artwork from Are We Nearly Bare Yet
As real-life friends, the pair hope that their podcast will be a space for open discussion on subjects that real women want to discuss, with no holds barred. Natalia explained: “That was part of the inspiration, the natural and safe feeling conversations that you have with best friends. We wanted to hold that space in the interviews and episodes that we do.” Ash backed her up, adding: “We’re pretty open people, we’re oversharers within our friendship groups and families. …we really wanted a space for that to be more public, so people can really get the reality of what’s going on in the world today… It’s that thing of finding someone saying 100% of what it is, rather than just a snippet of it… We always try and really get into the nitty gritty and bring out the truth behind the stories.”
What were your motivations to start podcast?
Ash: We’re best friends, we’ve been friends for ages. We’re both really interested in women’s health and in equality and feminism.
Natalia: For me, I was going through a lot of women’s health stuff and getting really frustrated with it all. I was actually getting asked to do a lot of write ups for press and magazines, in regard to what I’d been going through. I felt really passionate about speaking up a bit more about the realities of what happens for us women in different scenarios. It was something I really wanted to do and had on the back burner for a while. Obviously, me and Ash talk about a lot of our personal things, as best friends do, and we talked about it a lot in the run up, just about personal issues and women’s health and getting all ranty now and again.
I mentioned the podcast to Ash, because I was also thinking about starting my own for business-related reasons. I always want to start more than one thing at a time and do I really want to do that on my own?
Ash: I’m a personal trainer and a dancer. I work a lot with people and their bodies, but most specifically with women, and was just constantly coming up against the things that they don’t want to speak about openly. My whole inspiration of becoming a PT was to help people embrace their bodies because human bodies are just the most incredible thing. I knew I wanted to create something about embracing how epic we are, as well as the life that we have as women in the world today, so not just about being physical or our health, but just the general reality of being a female or relating to the female gender. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do something written or a performance piece, until Natalia said podcast and it just felt really natural.
I suffer from IBS and we both suffer from anxiety, all sorts of different bodily things, which a lot of people find it hard to talk about. We try and make it fun while talking about serious topics.
What do you mean by the modern female experience? How does it relate to your podcast?
Ash: Partly because we wanted to aim at women who were Generation Z and to millennials, particularly because there’s so many changes happening today. So many conversations about equality and what it is to be your gender, whether or not that is the one you were born as, and the openness that people are trying to create and also all the backlash. We wanted it to be very much about how this time now feels like another time of change. The 60’s and the 20’s were very much times of change. Now it also feels like it is, with tech rising and so many more conversations about race and about feminism and about equality around the world.
Natalia: It feels like there’s a lot of movement going on at the moment, both good and bad. There’s a lot of new campaigns happening and a lot of people stepping into the limelight, stepping into being leaders for change, who aren’t necessarily our political leaders. There’s also, like Ash said, a lot of advancements in the modern era that we didn’t have before, like tech, like the way that work is changing, the way that women’s lives are changing, the way that we have a lot more responsibility in some ways. But we also have a lot more roles that we have to hold and do that we didn’t really have before, and how does that look like for the younger generation as well? How is that going to evolve within the next ten years, with all of the changes happening?
What does femininity mean to you?
Ash: For me, it’s definitely about embodying a force of creativity. I really feel like women really are massive creative forces in everything about how they are, whether that is in creating life or creating a life for themselves and others. Strength, definitely, physically as well as emotionally. Sisterhood, this coming together and supporting is a massive part of being feminine and being female for me. Supporting the women around you and what they’re embodying.
Natalia: For me, it’s really about embodying an aspect of ourselves that we all have, whether we are male or female or associate with any gender. I feel like every human has a masculine and feminine aspect that we need to embody and we need to find a balance within ourselves for.
There is a lack of balance within that for both men and women, and there has been throughout the generations. We’ve been taught as we’ve been brought up for either men to be more masculine or for women to be more feminine, whereas actually if you look at women who are at the top in business, most of those women got there by being more of their masculine side than their feminine side, because they’ve felt like they need to be more like men to get to the top.
For me, it really is about each gender really understanding that we need to balance the masculine and feminine in order for us to progress as humans and to realise that we need that for ourselves to really be able to understand ourselves, understand our bodies, understand what it is to be human in the world today, and how that affects us both emotionally and physically. That’s really one of the big things for me, and bringing in the feminine qualities whether you’re a man or a woman or whatever into everything you do, which isn’t so much the softer side. It’s the nurturing aspect, but it’s [also] more than that, it’s the subconscious and the conscious. It’s the action and the present. It’s kind of like the opposites that need to be there for everybody to be able to be balanced.