As a sort of follow-up on a small part of the monthly “What is to come” post, let me add Janet Mock to great English speaking interviewers.
Below, there is a reiteration about who Mock’s peers are and then how she is similar and yet unique to them.
For like Sam Jones, James Lipton and Graham Norton, there is a pursuit of understanding. Sam Jones in a very casual, college friends drinking wine kind of way. James Lipton is like a studious professor. Someone who has 5 students in his class. So, with that, there is a closeness he pursues. One in which he studies his pupils to the most intimate detail. Then, through their work, looks for them to fill the gaps.
But with Graham Norton and Janet Mock, there is a lighter approach to it. Graham Norton is a comedian, so naturally, there is a lightness. However, being that his format is conversational, there are judging looks and he isn’t for bowing to his guest like they are gods. They are famous, assumingly interesting, and he is trying to bring that out of them. So, that way, it isn’t just them trying to sell you something but to share what it is like to interact with them.
With Mock, she combines the youthfulness of Norton, alongside Lipton’s pursuit of understanding. All the while presenting this ability to switch to a more seriousness like Sam Jones. Thus far she has interviewed Tina Lawson aka Beyoncé and Solange Knowles’ mom, and Girl Meets World‘s, Rowan Blanchard. I haven’t finished Rowan’s episode yet, but I am reminded why I love both Mock and Blanchard’s voice.
Despite Mock’s age, which she jokes about for there is this generation gap, there isn’t this foreignness when she deals with Blanchard. There is an admitted lack of understanding in a way, but she approaches it with curiosity. For Mock has a true desire to understand Blanchard. To understand and demystify what it is to work for Disney, especially in the modern age. To be a young woman who works for what can be considered a conservative network, but have progressive views. Much less, understand how someone her age becomes an activist in her own right.
And even if we are talking about her interview with Tina Knowles-Lawson, who she is clearly more aware of, there is this pursuit of understanding. For that seems to be the goal with Mock’s interviews. With her subjects, who she notes she knows what the general public knows, she tries to dive deeper. She presents this duality of demystifying the person’s place and experience with pop culture alongside what can be considered probing questions. Not some Oprah-level, “I want to see tears on your face!” type questions, but the type which does peel some layers back. Enough to make it feel we are going beyond what they may put in a social media post.
Overall: Positive (Check It Out)
I’m not going to make reviewing or talking about different podcasts a thing. For, outside of Never Before with Janet Mock, the only other podcast I listen to is The Read. But I do feel the need to highlight Mock because, in a very male space, she is a rare voice to me. One which I think is noteworthy for the reasons above. She can be jokey but isn’t trying to make a joke out of her guest. Mock can be probing but isn’t doing so to get the gossip, like Wendy Williams, or for that teary eyed moment, like Oprah. She, similar to Jones, Norton, and Lipton, want to show a different side to the person she is interviewing. She wants to demystify them and strip back that veil of celebrity. So that all that is left is Rowan Blanchard. A 15-year-old who came to fame and is working out how to balance the demands of her job with her truth. She is trying to strip down Tina Knowles-Lawson.
She is trying to strip down Tina Knowles-Lawson. Take away her being the mother of two of the biggest names in music, and just be herself. This woman who grew up poor but through hard work and being rooted in her culture, found comfort. Not just in terms of financial comfort but comfort in her being.
So check out Never Before with Janet Mock. I linked to the Google Play version mostly because, if you have to close the tab or do something else, you can begin where you left out. That is, in comparison to SoundCloud in which you are SOL. It is also available by subscription on iTunes but, you need iTunes in order to download/listen to it from there.