The S Word

Strong, Sexy & Stylish are going to help your self-esteem, one podcast at a time

When Sally McGraw, Karen Kraus, and Laura Rad meet me for this interview, they start talking before I ask any questions, and their chemistry is apparent: ticking off a list of topics for future podcasts, reviewing a recent recording, Laura thanking Karen for a previous babysitting gig, discussing evening plans, all in rapid-fire volley.  I’m suddenly inside the making of a podcast without asking how they work.

The three women launched the Strong, Sexy & Stylish podcast and blog earlier this year, and it topped the “New and Notable” section of iTunes almost immediately. Each new release regularly receives more than 10,000 listeners worldwide.

The program, which melds their combined experiences as a style blogger (McGraw), wellness coach (Kraus), and sex therapist (Rad) has that raw, basement-y quality of podcasts, but is loaded with life lessons, confessions, and laughter—probably not unlike wine-soaked chats with your girlfriends, but with more expertise, as if your big sisters were letting you in on their secrets.

Indeed, the most pervasive and intimidating body-image topics—personal style, working out, me-time, and whatever happens in the bedroom—are tackled with aplomb. “Some podcasts have more giggling than others,” McGraw says. All in the hopes that women start  living by the “do what makes you happier” philosophy, says Rad, combatting the idea that “women are egotistical if they are confident.”

This sparks a volley of philosophical and feminist theory commentary—they’re getting warmed up, and it’s like I’m getting my very own podcast, delivered live.

“It’s way more socially acceptable to sit around talking about hating yourself,” McGraw says.

Kraus interrupts: “In fitness, people think their body has to be perfect; that women have to have at least a four-pack and eat all healthy stuff,” she says as she waves her salted pretzel in the air. “It’s so unattainable. I’m trying to let people know you don’t need to do that.”

“Baby steps toward your goal are valid and valuable,” McGraw says. Rad chimes in: “I’ve even dug out my arm weights and coordinated my closet by season as a result of being around these two.”

It’s the kind of articulate banter you expect to see on a TV talk show. Ellen, they look forward to your call.

 Check out Katie’s podcast with Stong, Sexy & Stylish