Of their new Stitcher podcast, Podcrushed, Nava Kavelin, Penn Badgley and Sophie Ansari revisit the nervousness and hilarity of the awkward teen years. The three creators and hosts all deliver their distinctive views to the present. Badgley spent his center faculty years as a toddler actor in Hollywood. Ansari is a former fifth grade trainer who grew up in seven completely different nations, and Kavelin is a former center faculty director who spent her early life in Puerto Rico.
Podcrushed begins every episode with a listener’s center faculty story (stories can be submitted here), narrated by Badgley and full with its personal musical rating. The hosts then welcome a celeb buddy to share an embarrassing center faculty story, leading to a variety of tales from first crushes to non-public grooming nightmares to schoolyard dramas. Their first visitor is Badgley’s former Gossip Lady co-star Leighton Meester. Future visitors embody Amy Schumer, Andy Grammer, Ayo Edebiri, Drew Barrymore, Rainn Wilson, Shay Mitchell, Tati Gabrielle, Victoria Pedretti, and extra.
I spoke with the three hosts about how they choose the tales they share on Podcrushed and requested if these tales unearthed any recollections of their very own. We additionally mentioned what their youthful selves would possibly consider the present.
Risa Sarachan: I like the idea of Podcrushed. How did the three of you provide you with it?
Nava Kavelin: I used to work at a center faculty in a task the place I needed to uphold self-discipline, and it all the time struck me that center schoolers had been uniquely humorous and unusual, in one of the best ways. They did belongings you’d solely do in that point of life, the place you may have sufficient company to tug one thing massive off, passionate emotions which can be fueling you, and never sufficient foresight to comprehend one thing is perhaps a extremely unhealthy thought. I believed there is perhaps an untapped treasure trove of tales from that point in individuals’s lives. I approached the others to pitch them the concept, and everybody was immediately on board, and helped form it even additional.
Sarachan: What number of entries have you ever obtained, and the way do you choose those you share?
Kavelin: We obtained round 800 submissions for Season 1. Sophie and I learn each single story and narrowed it all the way down to 100 candidates we appreciated, after which Penn and David Ansari (one in all our producers) jumped in and helped us pin it down even additional. We tried to make sure a wide range of completely different voices and experiences. We may have executed 50 unhealthy dance experiences, however tried to stay to at least one to 2 per basic faculty style.
Sophie Ansari: I keep in mind studying a narrative a few tweezing fiasco and laughing so arduous that I instantly Facetimed Nava. She was in Puerto Rico on the time, nevertheless it was so good that I wanted to learn the story aloud to her so I may see her response. It was fairly cathartic to learn via the entire submissions.
Sarachan: Has engaged on Podcrushed made you replicate by yourself center faculty years in another way? Has it unearthed any recollections that you simply had lengthy forgotten?
Kavelin: I feel it’s made me really feel extra grace and compassion in the direction of myself, and in addition made me replicate actually deeply on how the media influenced my sense of my very own self-worth.
Ansari: Completely. Penn and Nava prefer to joke that I’ve no embarrassing tales from center faculty as a result of I used to be “cool,” ha! However the tales are slowly coming to the floor for me as we dig into this time of life collectively. I understand that it’s taking me longer to retrieve and share these recollections as a result of they’re really nonetheless fairly uncooked for me, even at 28! My embarrassing tales are much less humorous and extra so simply… painful!
Penn Badgley: And that’s after all, unfair to Sophie and all cool individuals–everybody has at the least just a few tales from this time that make them shudder with insecurity. By some means, I discover I’m typically in contact with this age as a result of it’s after I started appearing professionally, and I’m continually being requested how I acquired into appearing, and reflecting on how I acquired into this weird place. We did have a visitor who I knew personally after we had been each 14, Evan Rachel Wooden, who learn from her diary. I suppose that jogged my memory [of that time] with much more precision and ache.
Sarachan: Nava and Sophie, how do you are feeling your work in schooling has knowledgeable your work on Podcrushed? Do any of your former college students pay attention?
Kavelin: I selected to work in schooling earlier than due to my love for younger individuals, and perception within the significance of that formative interval of early adolescence to potently form our lives. That very same love motivated the creation of Podcrushed, and I hope the listeners will really feel that within the episodes. I haven’t heard from former college students but – I hope they’re listening!
Ansari: My greatest remorse from educating just isn’t writing down extra of the wacky issues that college students would say and do every day. It truly is such a uniquely humorous time of life that you simply get to see into as a trainer. And with all of the data and expertise of an grownup, it turns into even funnier. I really feel like engaged on Podcrushed has allowed me to expertise that feeling from a special approach.
My former college students are like tiny detectives! Lots of them have already found my TikTok, so it’s solely a matter of time earlier than I hear from one in all them about an episode of the podcast. I find it irresistible. Their help means every thing to me.
Sarachan: Penn, how does engaged on this podcast examine along with your work in movie and tv?
Penn: They’re not so comparable, to me, besides very broadly as “storytelling.” The experiences are very completely different. If there’s any future for me in interviewing, fairly than being interviewed, it’s an surprising improvement that I welcome. It’s an artwork type unto itself the place, sure, a story is being constructed, however I suppose it’s much more like journalism or stand-up. It’s commentary. Reflection. What I replicate on, as a lot as the rest, is how we symbolize younger individuals within the media as a result of I’ve been representing younger individuals within the media all through my whole youth. That’s not an exaggeration. In a way, this present takes the popular culture milieu I’m identified for and primarily permits me to narrate extra transparently, extra authentically, to the style itself. It appears like breaking the fourth wall.
Sarachan: Would your teenage selves respect this podcast?
Kavelin: Teenage me beloved embarrassing tales and crush tales greater than the rest. So I assume I haven’t advanced a lot!
Ansari: I’d most likely marvel why a bunch of adults had been so targeted on center faculty, when all I needed was to be an grownup! However actually, I do know that listening to it might have been the validation I wanted that my emotions and experiences mattered.
Badgley: Sizzling take: my teenage self most likely wouldn’t have gotten previous the hosts, the identify, or the premise. Or the persistent use of pink. But when I’d overcome these obstacles, I not solely would have loved it, I actually was determined for one thing like this: immediately addressing the ache of coming-of-age with a heartfelt private story, serious about the myriad social forces contributing to that ache, all whereas managing levity and wholesomeness. It’s these two elements that get neglected in an age of darkly critical programming for all ages, and I feel there’s medication in them.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.