Has it really been almost a year since Lena Dunham’s dulcet tones were piped through our earbuds during her Women of the Hour podcast?
We don’t blame the multi-hyphenate for putting the podcast on hold, although we’d hardly call it a break since she’s also started a kickass newsletter—hat-tip to her and Jenni Konner for getting people newly exciting about the long-standing format—produced and directed a comedy pilot for HBO and we’re sure spearheaded numerous other artistic endeavours that will reveal themselves over time and incite more discussion/thinkpieces/criticism.
Her hugely popular foray into the radio 2.0 format only ran for five episodes and since the last airing, we’ve been anxiously waiting for word of its return. Today, Dundam is releasing a special episode that acts as an amuse-bouche until we can feast on the main course.
She partnered with Clinique as part of the beauty brand’s Difference Maker initiative and spoke with three of the campaign’s actresses and activists—Gina Rodriguez, Erendira Ibarra and Jessica Nkosi—about using their position on the world stage to provoke change and discussion.
Herewith, a few of our favourite moments from the nearly hour-long talk
WOH Season 2 will explore new topics—including cats
That’s right. Even Lena Dunham can’t resist the feline charms of the internet’s favourite furry thing and has dedicated an entire episode to cats. The heart wants what the heart wants. But don’t expect the show to be all filler, no killer. She will also tackle the thoughtful, female-first issues you’ve come to expect like aging, faith and spirituality and solitude.
Gina Rodriguez has a way with bullies
During her talk with Dunham, the Jane the Virgin star revealed that she was picked on as a kid for her small size and though she learned to box thanks to her referee dad, her especially progressive and sensitive parents taught her that words were stronger. “There was this bigger, tougher girl and she said something nasty to me and I turned to her and was like, ‘Who hurt you?’ I just get kept saying, she must be in pain because she is trying to hurt me. I was probably like 10 years old. Isn’t that crazy?” Dunham’s understandable gasp was followed by her proclamation that Gina was “an enlightened child,” and boy do we agree.
Erendira Ibarra considers herself a storyteller first
The actress grew up between San Jose and Mexico, thanks to her war-correspondent-turned-producer father, and become an advocate for free speech once she realized that speaking her mind and openly disagreeing wasn’t a protected right around the world. She uses the notoriety and fame afforded her by work (including TV series Sense8) to push her agenda and in fact initially resisted the lure of Hollywood. “I tried to hide from it. I did everything; I did wardrobe, I carried cables, I tried to get away from it and it chased me all the way down to my reality, to my now. This it it—I don’t know what I would do if couldn’t tell stories.”
This beauty campaign is about taking action
Dunham isn’t one to mince words and when Jane Lauder, the global brand president for Clinique, joins the discussion, the host comes right out and asks how this opportunity is different than the too-typical commodification of feminism that preaches inner strength and beauty but does little to support the claim. Lauder says the brand’s focus was authenticity and community: “One of the most important things [to know] about giving back is that so many women are intimidated. They feel they’re not going to be able to do as much or make such an impact. We wanted it to be about letting women feel comfortable that whatever they do, makes a significant change. The same with beauty; one small change can make a big difference.”
The special episode of Women of the Hour is available now on iTunes.