Whether your January blues are still lingering, you’re trying to empower yourself, or just wanting something fun to listen to on a relaxing day, I think I have the perfect podcast for you. Reign with Josh Smith, presented by the animatic journalist and presenter, Josh Smith, provides the perfect combination of humour and inspiration.
In each episode, you join Smith and a celebrity guest for a down-to-earth chat about their journey to success. Guests range from actors such as Aimee Lou-Wood to athletes such as Katarina Johnson-Thompson. Smith’s charisma encourages a truly unfiltered dialogue between him and his guests, allowing them to comfortably share their personal stories in order to inspire the podcast’s listeners.
One episode that particularly made an impact on me was episode eight with Oscar-nominated actress, Vanessa Kirby. In the episode, she discusses her role as the lead protagonist in the award-winning film, Pieces of a Woman, which is about a mother’s journey in grief after losing her baby during a home birth. Kirby expresses her opinion on the need to expose the general audience to the topic of grief, through media, in order to destigmatise the conversation.
At the end of each episode, Smith asks his guests the same question: “In the reign of your life, what is the one rule you live by?” Kirby shares that her mother constantly reminds her that kindness is the most important thing. However, she also adds that in order to achieve spreading kindness, you must be kind to yourself first — “start with the inside and the outsides will take care of themselves.” In a society that, unfortunately, encourages people to please others in order to succeed, we often forget to take care of ourselves. We must remember that this forgetfulness may not only impact you, but people around you too.
In a recent episode, Smith sits down with Strictly Come Dancing dancer, Johannes Radebe. Radebe’s rule is to “be yourself, the world will adjust.” In a world full of injustice, being a person of colour, let alone a queer person of colour, meant that Radebe’s road to dazzling the dance floor has been nothing short of challenging.
The heartbreakingly cheerful chat between Radebe and Smith showcases the importance of living comfortably in your own skin. They acknowledge the excruciating difficulty in facing hate and judgement currently and whilst growing up, but also present hope in the form of optimism that Radebe has found after moving to the UK from his hometown in South Africa.
Similarly, Emmy-winning actress Claire Foy says bluntly, “don’t do things that harm you to make others happy.” Speaking from experience, Foy encourages listeners to practise the ability to say no to things that they fundamentally know will hurt them. It is simply not worth the pain that you will inflict on yourself, in the rather ridiculous quest to please others.
As you can see, a common theme that occurs in this podcast series is the need to live truthfully as you. Many of Smith’s guests share their struggles with body image, anxiety and imposter syndrome. They were only able to truly shatter this inner turmoil through the realisation that you cannot possibly give true love to the world, no matter how much you want to, when you do not love yourself.
Reign with Josh Smith is simply an empowering masterpiece that I encourage everyone to listen to. Through these 40-minute standalone episodes, you will not only discover how human celebrities really are, and how behind the lights and glam, they aren’t so different to us, but also be in awe by the way they faced various obstacles in life. So, hopefully, by the end of each episode, you will feel less lonely in whatever struggles you are facing, and be inspired to wear your crown and take the reign!
Illustration: Anna Kuptsova