The beginnings of a shady self-help podcast that embraces mistakes (and sometimes learns from them)
By Hannah Spruill, Katy Eller, Sandra de Kozlowski, and Suzie Orr
There’s nothing quite like a new decade (or a hangover) to make you re-evaluate your past decisions — and the four of us were battling both when this podcast was born. After yet another night of a few too many drinks, our group text (formerly titled “Wine helps me drink 🍷”) was blowing up with cringey confessions and plenty of laughter at each others’ questionable decisions. Suddenly, we realized our 30s were right around the corner and we had actually built up a decent amount of knowledge from all these “mistakes” we had been making in our teens and 20s:
Sandra: We are gonna be strong women for young women to look up to. I wanna go to the college bars and just yell at those girls about all the knowledge I have 😂😂 Like “don’t do what I would do”
Katy: HONEY DON’T MARRY HIM YET!
Sandra: Wear a condom!
Katy: DON’T GET AN ENGLISH DEGREE!
Suzie: Dying 😂
Hannah: Drink 👏 More 👏 Water! 👏 And you’re NOT fat!!!!
And just like that, we realized we had a lot to say to our younger selves….plus a chance to say it to other women who may need to hear it just as much as we did (and still do, let’s be honest). We also wanted to say it in a way that might actually make us pay attention — we needed tough love! Instantly, the Kenny Powers quote from HBO’s East Bound and Down seemed like a natural fit: “Listen here you beautiful bitch, I’m about to fuck you up with some truth!” Not only did it fit our idea of tough-love, it also included a backhanded compliment and an F bomb….it was perfect.
A few days later, we sat around Sandra’s squeaky table and came up with over 50 topics that resonated with us — everything from sex and dating to money and careers — it took us less than an hour to think of enough topics for an entire year worth of episodes! That same night, we settled on a sparkly, rainbow-inspired aesthetic and logo to make Lisa Frank proud, and Listen, You Beautiful Bitch was born.
Starting a podcast together was simultaneously incredibly easy and really, really challenging. While we had plenty to talk about, a great mix of personalities (if we do say so ourselves), and genuine excitement for this new project, we also had no clue what we were doing. We’re all pretty standard middle-class millennials with regular jobs and absolutely zero experience with recording technology. So it took us 3.5 tries before we had anything usable enough for a first episode, and even then it took us three more upload attempts before we figured out how to adjust the volume so listeners could actually hear what we were saying! We also had no concept of “microphone etiquette,” to the point where we were talking over each other so much that some of our best audio clips ended up being totally unusable (and our brave Katy almost had a nervous breakdown during the editing process). Now more than a dozen episodes in, we have actual recording equipment (though we still don’t really know how it works), official outlines to keep us on topic, and a “talking stick” that forces us to take turns…most of the time.
Beyond the technical learning curve, we also realized just how little we knew about each other! See, we’re actually a pretty new friend-group, in the grand scheme of things. Hannah and Sandra met first in a karaoke bar bathroom back in 2016, and Suzie and Katy came on the scene through mutual friends over the next few years, but the four of us didn’t start hanging out as a group until late 2018 (the group text archives say October). So we didn’t know each other during our more formative teenage and college years, and we weren’t around for a lot of our “first time” mistakes.
While this makes for way more fun stories and genuine reactions on the podcast, it also helped us see how universal our experiences were! As we opened up about vulnerable or “embarrassing” topics, it was empowering to find the similarities in our experiences. We all had insecurities about our bodies, histories of unhealthy relationships, and some definite portion-control issues with both food and alcohol (oops), but we also all enjoyed sex and self-love, watched porn, and have had some really horrific (but perfectly normal) bodily functions!
Building a Community of Acceptance
So we’ll be honest — we fully expected this to be a project that we did for fun, but which didn’t reach many people outside our own group of friends. We thought, if nothing else, it was at least a great way to guarantee a weekly girls’ night together. Surprisingly, though, our tipsy ramblings seem to resonate with way more listeners than we expected! There’s literally nothing better than getting a comment on Instagram where someone tags their friend to say “omg, these ladies are just like us!” Because seriously, we are!
If we’ve learned one thing from starting this podcast, it’s that we are all out there trying to live our best lives and making mistakes along the way. Lots of mistakes. So we can dwell on them and sink into a pit of self-loathing, or we can tell the story, laugh about it, and hopefully learn something from it! The big thing to remember is that we’re SO not alone, and there’s always time to learn, grow, and laugh — especially when you surround yourself with people who support you, love you, and are willing to “fuck you up with some truth.”
The truth isn’t always pretty, funny, or flattering, though. Our tough love sometimes includes saying things like, “you took it too far last night,” or “we’re worried about you,” or “if we don’t start taking turns talking then I’m going to burn this entire podcast to the ground.” Sometimes these conversations make it onto the podcast, and other times they’re offline. The main point is that we’re creating a safe space where we know we can be vulnerable, make mistakes, and seek help without worrying about being judged, and that our honesty with one another is coming from a place of love and the genuine desire to see each other living our best lives.
For any of you who may be struggling to find your own tribe of “beautiful bitches,” you can join ours! Subscribe to the podcast and listen to the latest hot mess we land ourselves in, share your own stories, and reach out for advice, support, or opinions. In return, we promise to be your “podcast friends” every week (Aren’t those the best?), offer judgment-free and mostly unqualified advice, and share our own vulnerabilities and embarrassments with you, too. Let’s talk about the weird stuff, the hard stuff, the embarrassing stuff, the “Is this normal?” stuff! Because the more we talk about it, the more we connect, and the more we can all realize that we’re in this crazy life together.
Listen, You Beautiful Bitch
Our goal for this podcast was not only to give advice to our younger selves, but to find and share the confidence we wish we could have had years ago. The confidence to say “no” or to get out of an uncomfortable situation. The confidence to try something new or put ourselves out there. The confidence to enjoy the things we like without feeling ashamed. It’s that confidence that keeps us moving forward, despite the mistakes, and reminds us to hold ourselves and our standards high, even when it’s hard (we know, that’s what she said). Because we deserve that confidence — we’ve worked hard for it and we’ve earned it — and we’re not giving it back!
So listen, you beautiful bitch…you’ve totally got this!!!
Listen, You Beautiful Bitch is hosted by Hannah Spruill, Katy Eller, Sandra de Kozlowski, and Suzie Orr. They come from a wide range of backgrounds, but all share a love for animals, pasta, and a solid girls’ night out. Follow their antics on your favourite podcast platform and Instagram, and feel free to reach out with your own topic suggestions (or just to say hello)!
Hannah works in marketing, has a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW), a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), and a stupid amount of student loan debt (Fuck!). She taps into her artsy side to make the podcast graphics, can’t pass up a good IPA, and has a guilty obsession with honky tonk music and really cheesy 90’s movies. Follow her on Instagram to see too many selfies and lots of pictures of her terrible dog, Maggie.
Katy is newly-30, generally anxious, and has a resting bitch face that will give Blair Waldorf a run for her money. You can usually find her completely enthralled in a Dateline marathon or admiring her yarn collection. She is living happily ever after with her smoking hot husband, Chris Evans. She’s @playasuave on all platforms.
Sandra (aka Sandra D, Sandy, or Squirrel) partied her way to a degree in Exercise Science at the University of SC. Go cocks! Family is her #1 priority — that could be family she was born into or family she made along the way (yes, Carrie Bradshaw said that, big Sex in the City fan). She is married to a bearded god by the name of Mike. Zoloft, pasta, pizza, red wine, and stupid reality tv shows are her lifelong friends. Follow her on Instagram! It’s wholesome, unlike her Snapchat. Don’t even try to find her there!✌🏻
Suzie Q is a 29 going on 80-something year-old aspiring art teacher living in the retail work world. Goofy introvert, but will never pass down a good beer (& a good time). A hopeless romantic, fashionista, and weird noise maker, she’s guaranteed to turn that frown upside down! She is also obsessed with Matt Nathanson (Marry me!) and Disney. Follow her on Instagram and Snapchat (Shmuziiq). 👻