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‘I've started co-hosting a podcast with Holly Wainwright. It's so much harder than I thought it would be.'

While I was studying at university, I swore off podcasting

I wouldn't do it (read: I couldn't do it). My voice felt too heavy and when I spoke, I stuttered often and the words tripped over each other.

I didn't know where to begin and even though I had produced two (TWO!!) podcasts for uni assessments, they hadn't been very good. My mic popped and rubbed against my shirt. My breathing was awkward and ragged because I believed I could cut it all out in post-production. Mind you, I didn't actually have any concept of what post-production really meant (and I still don't).

Nope. I was never good at podcasting. Never very good at all. 

But then I got a job at Mamamia. My job was in editorial, which means writing day in and day out – which I love. But about 11 months into working there, I was asked if I'd be interested in trying out for the co-hosting gig on Lowbrow alongside Holly Wainwright. 

The show's former co-host Emily Vernem was leaving Mamamia after four years and we were all devastated. To add to it all, I was also very scared because it is challenging to take the mic from someone like Em who is exceptionally difficult not to love. 

Of course, there was also the fact I'd be sharing the mic with Holly, who may be kind and gracious and very generous with her time, but is also VERY intimidating. 

Call it ambitious or naïve, but I still jumped at the opportunity because it would have been... very stupid not to. 

Listen to Lowbrow, hosted by Holly Wainwright and Shannen Findlay (me). Post continues after audio.

My friends were supportive and so were my managers. While my mum didn't really understand what a podcast is, she encouraged it anyway.

Now it's been three months since I began co-hosting the show and I've learned A LOT so far. Here are a few I'd like you to know about.

1. Being an inarticulate, bumbling co-host isn't so bad (I promise).

If you've ever been concerned about the fact you might not have a very good podcast voice, just know that doesn't really matter when you become a podcast host.

Mostly because producers won't let you have a "bad" podcast voice and also because – and trust me when I say this – there isn't really such a thing. Having bad breathing techniques or fumbling over your words usually just comes down to nerves and that can be fixed with preparation and the understanding that no one wants you to fail. 

The best bit about being part of a podcast is that if you stuff up, you can just take a deep breath and go again.

2. Your co-host is your best friend (they probably just don't know it yet).

Holly Wainwright has no idea, but we are great friends – or at least heading that way, anyway. 

Yes, she is the boss of my boss's boss. And yes, she might be the busiest human I've met in my very long 23 years. And she might have cooler, smarter and wiser people to hang out with. But luckily for me, co-hosting a podcast where we teach each other about stories from our own generations means we're kind of... forced to be friends!

Emmeline Peterson and best mates Holly Wainwright and Shannen in the studio. Image: Supplied.

3. Praise is nice but constructive criticism is better for you!

As good of a job you are doing, you can always do better – and that's not a bad thing. After all, isn't the goal always to be the best person you can be and produce the best work you possibly can?

It might not be fun to be told you pronounce 'women' and 'woman' exactly the same, but you'll sure feel good when you finally get it correct (which will be after many, many tries).

4. You will learn SO much.

Aside from hearing fascinating stories week in and week out, I've learned so much about being a better colleague, which has been surprising since I am so good, to begin with. From scriptwriting to the way I tell stories and explain my opinions – it's all gotten better (slowly and surely).

5. Most of your friends will tell you they've listened to your podcast. Most of them are lying. 

It's a weird thing having the majority of your friends lie to you about loving your podcast – but, to be honest, while it's nice to believe they care, it's much funnier knowing they don't.

Your other loved ones will tell you they just "haven't gotten around to giving it a listen yet" which also might be a lie.

6. Pop culture history is as disappointing as it is thrilling. 

In three months, I've learned so much about the celebrities that came before me but what has stood out is the level of sexism and body shaming leveled against women in the early 2000s. It's been an incredible learning experience, but it's also been really nice to see that what we expect from celebrities has changed (even if it is just a little bit). 

7. Your podcast producer is better at your job than you. 

I didn't realise just how much producers do until I started working with one for Lowbrow

First, there was Emmeline Peterson and then Talissa Bazaz. Both are brilliant and bring gallons of energy to every record – but it's their behind-the-scenes work that deserves a standing ovation.

They help you with your script (and likely re-write it for you). They tell you when to have BIG emotions and small ones too. They create funny games and push you to think more creatively even when your brain is fried. They make an incredible experience for the listener... Every. Single. Time. 

They're basically miracle workers in the booth. 

It's no easy job to be a podcast producer, but someone's gotta do it... And I'm glad it's not me. 

8. You will never get used to hearing your voice on a podcast.

It's the sad sorry truth. It's also true that you will never like the sound of your voice either. No matter how hard you try. No matter how many times you force yourself to sit through another listen just in case you might fall in love with your dulcet tones this time. 

9. The fame will get to your head. Embrace it.

Half the battle with a podcast like Lowbrow is that you need to be confident on the mic. And you know a great way to boost your confidence? Convince yourself you are just a little tiny bit (massively) famous. 

The lady who walked past me on the street was a fan, I just know it (she actually was just judging the fact I'm wearing crocs at 2pm on a Wednesday).

But in all seriousness, it's really important to believe in yourself and sometimes it's okay to lie to yourself if it means you will at least sound like you know what you're talking about. 

Every day I've been working on Lowbrow has been an incredible lesson and it's been SO worthwhile. I have truly loved every second with my new best friend, Holly.

Listen to Lowbrow, hosted by besties Holly Wainwright and Shannen Findlay, here.

Feature Image: Mamamia.

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