Podcasts are bigger than ever, so whether you’re looking for a new listen or to start one yourself, let us introduce you to one of our favourite beauty podcasters…
If you’re getting lost in Emma Gunavardhana’s sea green eyes (is eye envy a thing? Is now), just wait until you catch her dulcet tones in her regular podcasts. Akin to a Desert Island Discs of the beauty world, I love nothing more than sitting in the bath of a Sunday and listening to her get to the nugget of a topic with a health and beauty expert, whether it’s chatting about how to not to be a beauty industry dick with Sali Hughes (vital listening), gut health with nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik or ageing with dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross. If you’re after witty, wonderful and well-informed chat to accompany a commute, quiet morning or chilled weekend, the Emma G Podcast is well worth hitting up, but how did it get off the ground in a landscape of blogs, vlogs and social media stars? Emma gave us some insight into launching a successful podcast, dream guests and giving listeners what they want...
What’s your background in the beauty industry?
I honestly believe that the only reason I’m in the beauty industry now is because I was such a mess as a teenager. Spotty, bearded and uncomfortably overweight, I looked to the beauty pages of magazines to help me with all of the above - and I retained every single word. I’ve been a health and beauty writer on magazines for over 15 years: I was beauty editor on a weekly magazine for ten years and have been freelance for five and am now a brand consultant and presenter in addition to writing.
Describe your podcast in a sentence…
Informative, in-depth conversations with interesting individuals from the world of beauty, health, lifestyle and wellbeing, including often unexpected exploration into secret passions and driving forces.
What inspired you to start a podcast?
I’ve written all my life, but about five years ago I started plugging into podcasts. I loved that I could go about my business, commute, walk round the supermarket, do my housework, and the podcast didn’t need to be interrupted. I’ve met incredibly talented and inspiring people through my career and felt a podcast was a really solid way to create a platform to celebrate them in a way that would be informative and entertaining to a listener - infotainment!
How do you decide on guests and topics to feature?
I’ve got a guest wish-list as long as my arm and numerous topics I want to dig into in the way I did with Elimination recently. With guests it really depends on their availability, but there are some brilliant people in the pipeline. Topics take a little more time to put together but there will be more editorial style shows coming up.
Do you structure the conversation or keep it spontaneous?
I always have some sort of prep as a cue while I’m recording. It’s usually a colourful mind map with a series of topics I want to unpick with the guest. There’s room for spontaneity though and the conversation can go anywhere. When Ateh Jewel came on the show we ended up driving through London while recording, spotted a Leonardo diCaprio look-alike and laughed like drains - listeners loved it! When I had Skinfix CEO Amy Regan on the show we talked about business and then discovered her interest in astrology, which was fascinating.
What’s your most memorable interview so far?
Each one has been really special in its own way. Alexia Hargrave really resonated with me personally, Marisa Peer was an incredibly powerful guest for me but also to several listeners who contacted me to say the show had been life-changing. Sali Hughes was a very generous and open guest as was Nadine Baggott who I’ve had so many requests for her to appear again that we’ve recorded a second episode.
Any tips on making a podcast engaging?
One of the other podcasts I listen to religiously is Fatman on Batman with the filmmaker Kevin Smith. He says everyone should make a podcast and I echo his encouragement. The only question I asked myself before I hit publish was ‘would I listen to this?’ as someone who loves the beauty industry, enjoys hearing people’s stories and is a little over ‘soundbites’ and the kind of surface-selfie culture that’s everywhere, the answer was ‘yes’. That’s the crux of it, if you would listen to it, do it.
Was presenting a podcast scary at first?
The presenting part has never bothered me, but what I did find scary was those first few times I pressed publish and knew I’d sent the audio file to iTunes and my website. All of my work before that had been in conjunction with a huge brand, whether that’s a magazine, a beauty brand, a TV show or a television channel, but this was me all on my own. It felt odd in the beginning, but it’s now something I really enjoy.
Do you get feedback from your listeners? How do they interact and get involved with your programmes? Do you take requests?
Yes, and increasingly so, which is really brilliant. I’ve had women email with beauty queries, asking me to tackle certain topics, requesting certain guests and even just emails to say they really enjoy listening to the show. I had an email from a girl recently who said she listened to the podcast to keep her company while she was in hospital last year and I was completely taken aback. The mailbox has been getting really busy so I’m actually meeting listener demand by recording an ‘Ask Me Anything’ show to cover all the topics that have come up in listener questions. So yes, I absolutely take requests and Get The Gloss readers are welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Social media has also proven to be a great way to interact, particularly Twitter, but I always announce the show with an Instagram post on a Sunday when it goes live and there tends to be a flurry of activity on my inbox when that goes up.
Who’s your dream podcast guest?
This is one of the questions I’ve had most frequently from listeners. I love getting people who inspire me on the show and then unpicking their journey, including the real bits - the challenges and tricky times. I know this is aiming high, but I’d love to have a conversation with RuPaul, it’d be a dream to sit down with Victoria Beckham and I’d really like to chat with Elle Macpherson and talk to her about business - she’s a formidable businesswoman - as well as being The Body.
Any exciting future plans for your podcast? What are you dying to discuss?
There’s a lot of noise out there right now that 2017 is going to be ‘the year of the podcast’ so I’m excited about other podcasters and inviting them on the show. In terms of guests, the shows I recorded with nutritionists have done extremely well, so there will be more content on diet and nutrition, but I’ve also had requests for a meditation expert, more business-focused shows like the one with Jo Tutchener-Sharp from Scamp & Dude and also helpful shows on topics including anxiety and depression. It’s why the show, which was called The Beauty Podcast with Emma G is now The Emma G Podcast, because it’s evolved, very naturally via listener demand, into something broader than just beauty.
Listen to Emma's show on iTunes
Find out more about Emma and the podcast on her website
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