A Podcast for Grown-Ups

The host of "Hey Frase" talks body image, celebrity and why she left radio.

Diet is a four-letter word: After my success in radio, I started contributing on air on Fox 5 News. I was desperate to get out of the dieting cycle and get healthy. I found [Takoma Park, Maryland therapist] Robin Mize, who helped me unlearn every single thing I thought about body image. One of the radical things she said to me was, “Do you think you could love yourself if you never lost one more pound?” And I was like, “Absolutely not!” But she really helped me understand how to eat intuitively, how to listen to what my body needs rather than just binge on ice cream because it’s taboo.

Taking it off: Eventually I lost 40 pounds and decided to wear a bikini for the first time in public—live, on Fox 5 News, in Dupont Circle. Now, every single year, no matter how old I am, I’m going to be photographed in a bikini. I’ve realized that everyone has a natural body weight, and for most people it isn’t a size 2. We’re all different sizes. I needed to get away from the idea that a number correlates with what I’m supposed to weigh or how I’m supposed to look.

Making amends: I was 100 percent wrong to say what I said [about Micheal Brown’s 20 college applications]. I thought I was an ally and an advocate, but I was really ignorant and had to do some real reflecting. There really was no intent behind my comment—we were in a newsroom with a lot of stories flying around, and when we decided to bring it up on air, we should have stopped for a second and thought about what obstacles he might have had to overcome. We should have been celebrating his insane achievement. The conversation we wanted to have was: It’s college acceptance season—how many schools is too many schools to apply to? But once we used the word obnoxious, it became about this 17-year-old who didn’t deserve it. A week later I hosted a panel on my podcast to address my comments about Micheal, and what came to the surface was that black men in this country can’t win no matter what they do—they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. The members of the panel challenged me to acknowledge the depths of my privilege and to notice the next time a kid of color is doing something amazing and highlight it in a positive way.

Shedding the good-girl image: We are a generation raised by the women of the ’50s and ’60s, when women were told to be housewives and nurturers. We inherited the lessons of that era. I tried to be that girl, but that girl was boring. When I was on 99.5, they said, “You need to be likable.” And I was like, LIKABLE? I don’t want to be f*cking likable. I wanted to be crazy and messy, and I think we’re getting there.

The skinny myth: I always thought that if I just behaved and was thin and pretty it would guarantee me a job. But thin women in media are hired and fired all the time! Meanwhile, look at Oprah—she’s always struggled with her weight and she’s maybe THE most successful talk show host of all time because she followed her heart and only did what she wanted to do. So I ask myself, What is your Oprah factor? What are you bringing to the table that no one else has?

Adrienne Wichard-Edds has covered topics ranging from giftedness to anxiety for Arlington Magazine.

Categories: People