WITH ITS DISCUSSIONS on topics as diverse as sex and astrology, beauty and politics, metaphysics and money, That’s So Retrograde, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Simbari and Elizabeth Kott, walks the line between serious journalism and a hang with your best girlfriend.
“We do kind of make fun of ourselves in our exploration of these topics,” explains Simbari. “We don’t put too much pressure on the guests or ourselves. We just focus on sharing honest information, and we do it with a lot of levity.”
But while Simbari and Kott’s approach on the podcast is relaxed and freewheeling, they have a knack for getting to the heart of difficult issues and interviewing guests that share relevant information that isn’t available elsewhere. Former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, comedian Janeane Garofalo and actress Fran Drescher have all been guests recently, as have neuropsychologist Dr. Judy Ho, astrologer Debra Silverman and meditation guru Jesse Israel.
The interesting perspectives and expertise of such distinguished guests make each episode feel like a present waiting to be unwrapped. Through it all runs the theme of mindfulness, which the hosts strive for every day. “Mindfulness is doing something with intention—and giving it your full attention,” says Kott. “We try to focus on and explain the meaning of concepts on a micro and macro level that enrich our experience in life.”
The idea of mindfulness is very popular now, notes Simbari. “I think people recognize that they’re being pulled away from themselves. They’re not feeling as they want to feel,” she says. “And whether it’s being mindful of what you consume in your food or in your media, all of this has an effect on us. It’s being aware of how and what you’re consuming and how you’re behaving based on how much you’re being stimulated.”
Watching Cannabis Grow
The pair, who jumped into the podcasting world in 2015, lead active lives outside the confines of That’s So Retrograde. New York native Simbari is an actress, writer and stand-up comic who starred in the 2017 film, Lady-Like, and wrote comedy sketches for the long-running late-night show Last Call With Carson Daly.
Kott got her start in the media world when she was hired by fashion designer Rachel Zoe to conceptualize and launch The Zoe Report, the highly regarded lifestyle blog. Her drive and entrepreneurial spirit also led her to launch her own online show, Closet Rich.
Together, Simbari and Kott mix solid interviewing know-how with a breezy style on their podcast, but what caught my attention was the duo’s unapologetic appreciation for cannabis and willingness to invite guests from the weed world to stop by for a chat. “The idea of That’s So Retrograde was born under a cannabis moon,” Simbari says with a laugh about her initial smoke-fueled conversations with Kott about their endeavor.
“We continue to take advantage of weed for creative brainstorming. We were among the first to really discuss cannabis in terms of health and wellness. Now it’s everywhere. It’s been amazing to see both podcasting and the cannabis world grow!” Kott concurs, adding, “And honestly, the laws around cannabis and what has been happening have changed so much as we’ve been doing this show. It’s been amazing to really go deep into that topic. We’re just scratching the surface on the information that’s out there.”
Past cannabis-focused guests have included CBD pioneers Jon and Jesse Stanley, and Anna Duckworth and Kate Miller of Miss Grass, a popular online pot shop and magazine aimed at female consumers.
“Our listeners really appreciate the cannabis episodes,” Simbari says. “It’s a kind of coming out of the closet! Many of them are young working millennial professionals who like to use cannabis but don’t talk or hear about it because of the stigma still attached to it. There’s also this curiosity about it and so many of the other subjects we talk about.”
The two find podcasting to be the perfect outlet for talking about weed (and anything else that pops into their WOMEN & WEED That’s So Retrogradeheads). “I think that one of the reasons podcasting has just exploded is you can enjoy it anywhere, even while you’re doing something else,” adds Kott. “Listeners can be sitting at their desks, in their cars, at the gym, all the while taking advantage of the new media. This is a more elevated way to engage that other part of the brain.”
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