As Me with Sinéad — 12: Kulap Vilaysack

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As Me with Kulap Vilaysack transcript


[00:52] Sinéad Burke: Welcome to As Me with Sinéad. This week’s guest I learned all about this person just before interviewing. For some bizarre reason, I hadn’t known of her work before. But now it seems to surround me and be nestled in every corner in which I look. She’s been an incredible friend and mentor to me, and this podcast, and to Lemonada. And she is an example of the ways in which personal and the professional can be extricated. In preparing for the interview, I watched her amazing Amazon documentary, Origin Story, on the plane on the way over. The people around me must have had some weird thoughts about my behavior because I was laughing, crying, cheering. It was this melange of emotions that I’m still trying to process. And once in the studio, it was the exact same thing. Kulap Vilaysack, the Laotian activist, American director, writer and comedian and — as they say in the states — an O.G. podcaster. For this week’s episode, we talked about identity, recreating her childhood in order to heal and create a platform for others. 


[02:03] Kulap Vilaysack: You know, I’ve been made to feel sometimes not American. In fact, in middle school, someone told me to go back to my country. When people ask you, like, where are you from? And I say, Minnesota, even I know what they mean, they don’t mean Minnesota. What you is what type of Asian am I? By the way, that’s racist, just so you know. 


[02:22] Sinéad Burke: What’s on my mind this week is something I read by a previous As Me with Sinéad guest, Kimberly Drew. If you follow Kimberly on Instagram, you realize that she has a lot going on at the moment. But she’s been hibernating on these ideas and projects for months, if not years, if not her entire life. And she put out this amazing, bold statement that said, ‘I have a lot going on at the moment. Don’t be envious of it. This is me working hard for years, and only now do I get to talk about it.’ And her pride in her own hard work and tenacity is something that I have been inspired by and I’m trying to embed in my own rhetoric and vocabulary. I mean, it’s been a pretty good year, but not just for me. For Kimberly, and for Kulap, too. Are you ready for this week’s episode? Let’s go! 


[03:16] Sinéad Burke: Sitting across from me is the amazing Kulap Vilaysack. 


[03:20] Kulap Vilaysack: Oh, you did it so good. 


[03:21] Sinéad Burke: Well, thank you. 


[03:22] Kulap Vilaysack: Here’s the thing, I am going to be honest, I mispronounce my name. 


[03:25] Sinéad Burke: Do you? 


[03:26] Kulap Vilaysack: I do. I do. What’s the easiest thing to sort of — it’s kind of like Thai people, they add sugar to make it more palatable for Americans. I do that with my name. 

[03:37] Sinéad Burke: So do you have examples — so, my name is Sinéad, which has a lot of vowels? And it has a fada, which is an Irish way in which to put emphasis. But if I get into a Lyft, or an Uber, or people meet me for the first time and see my name written down, I’m Sin-ee-ad, which is totally fine. And then it changes if they know of Sinéad O’Connor, the singer. But if they don’t, I tried to teach it in a way — because my background’s in education — like, your shinbone and then lemonade. So shin-ade. And they’re like, huh, you’re strange, but OK. Do you have a method?


[04:10] Kulap Vilaysack: Yes. And so Kulap, or Gularb, means means rose, but Gularb is hard to say. You know, Lao, it’s tonal. So things go up and things are down and it means something different. And so if I said my name Gularb, it would be like G-U-L-A-R-B. But Kulap is, like, easier. And then I wonder — even with my last name, which I’d never expect anyone to ever say to me, even good friends — I think it’s more like Vilaysack. But it’s like, you know, what can I put on a Twitter bio? That’s like phonetically easy for everybody. 


[04:51] Sinéad Burke: But yet we all learn how to say Tchaikovsky. 


[04:54] Kulap Vilaysack: This has come up recently. This exact thinking, I was like, yeah, this is tough. You don’t get this name, but like, you know how to say Tchaikovsky. 


[05:01] Sinéad Burke: Well, I speak Irish, and we have fadas, which are similar to accents in French. But up until recently, there hasn’t been any sort of law about particularly government bodies allowing you to use your name with those specific accents. So often my name would come back because there’s an accent on the E, like a jumble of letters, because it didn’t understand it. But it changes the meaning. So ‘sin ead’ as two words means that jealous, which I think if I ever write a book, that’s what it’ll be. Like with a question mark. But then without it, it transfers completely. But it’s like again, who is creating these things, and how it shapes culture and the world. 


[05:38] Kulap Vilaysack: Crazy. 


[05:39] Sinéad Burke: But I wanted to kind of start with, you know, how do you describe yourself personally and professionally?


[05:46] Kulap Vilaysack: I am a Lao-American woman who is 39 years old. I am a showrunner, writer, director, former actor, community builder, nice, like, dude. 


[06:00] Sinéad Burke: What does that mean? What what does it take to be a nice, like, dude? 


[06:04] Kulap Vilaysack: Great quesh, great quesh. 


[06:06] Sinéad Burke: I like that we’re abbreviating everything. That’s going to be my favorite. 


[06:09] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah, it’s funny because I started doing that ironically. And now I just do it. 

[06:15] Sinéad Burke: It’s become part of your brand. 


[06:17] Kulap Vilaysack: Yes, it has. So many things start for me as wanting to be irritating and then I achieve it. 


[06:28] Sinéad Burke: And how do you begin to know that you want to be irritating? 


[06:32] Kulap Vilaysack: It’s usually in reaction to, like, for instance, my friend Kevin, one of my best friends, we know each other for years. He was my man of honor 10 years ago. And he hates any sort of potty humor. He — 


[06:46] Sinéad Burke: How unfortunate. 


[06:47] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah. And I think it’s very funny. And just even talking about farts, like he’s just like, come on Kulap, it’s basic. I’m, like, I know. And I like it even more because you don’t like it. But it also makes me just so happy, his displeasure. 


[07:10] Sinéad Burke: Is it is an irritation or is it something else? 


[07:14] Kulap Vilaysack: I mean, I certainly can be just truly irritating to my husband. 


[07:18] Sinéad Burke: He’s not on the show. We don’t have to make that claim right now. 


[07:25] Kulap Vilaysack: We don’t have to make that claim, but I own up to it. 


[07:29] Sinéad Burke: OK, I’ll let you. Has that been a quality of yours? Was that part of you as a child? 


[07:35] Kulap Vilaysack: Yes. And I think I love to talk a lot. So my family is — they’re refugees from Laos. And I was born in Washington D.C. shortly after my parents arrived as asylum seekers, as war survivors. So we sort of learned English at kind of the same rate. They knew some before, but at a certain point because of my, like, in-depth schooling, you know, I kind of superseded them. And I’ve always been a, you know, I love to talk. I loved to talk. So, you know, yeah, I’ve been — I’ve been called annoying for almost as long as I can recall. But I made a career out of it, and so —


[08:23] Sinéad Burke: But was that part of — so, being in the classroom — so, I as a teacher to like 11 and 12 year old boys, and I’m from Ireland, which is an island of 4 million people. And we have this wonderful increasing diversity. And what I see from a lot of the students that I was teaching that their English was perhaps more advanced than the parents. So they had to become this, like, spokesperson for their family. Like, if there was a parent teacher conference, they would come and translate, and it was out of necessity, but then had this like huge value that you couldn’t have imagined being calculated at the very beginning. But it came out of need. 

[08:57] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah. And I know families like that. My parents are actually, while having accents, my mom is very verbose as well. And so I didn’t often have to do that. I mean, sometimes we would all play dumb. Like if we got if we got pulled over, we’d all play dumb like we couldn’t speak English. But for the most part, it’s either my dad was kind of more on the quiet side, but my mom also has the gift of gab as well. And we would always spar.


[09:28] Sinéad Burke: Were you really conscious of the story of your parents, like coming to the U.S., being born in Washington? Was that part of the conversation at home? Or were you blinkered to it? 


[09:39] Kulap Vilaysack: I mean, I’ve always felt difference outside of whatever. So even though I was born here, you know, I’ve been made to feel sometimes not American. In fact, in middle school, someone told me to go back to my country. When people ask you, like, where are you from? And I say, Minnesota, even though I know what they mean. They don’t mean Minnesota. What they do mean is what type of Asian are you. And by the way, that’s racist, just so you know. So then when I say that, like, where is your family from? OK. Laos. They’re like, what is that? Or is that Korea? Or, hmm, I’ve never met a never met someone from Lao, where is that? Or it’s like, oh, well, so is that Hawaii? It’s just like, OK, so now I’m not the correct Asian. And then even with the Lao community I sort of felt like a black sheep outside of that. So I’ve kind of always had this sort of like story. 


[10:40] Kulap Vilaysack: So my parents and people were my age, we’ve been in this country as the Laos diaspora for about 45 years this year. You know, they lost their home. They saw great tragedy. Bombs fell for nine years every nine minutes. Millions and millions in the country are still embedded. People still get wounded. Children get wounded. Forty-five years later, who have nothing to do with the war. They don’t want to talk about that. And so Laos is a place to be revered, but also to be feared, to be sent if I’m bad. So it’s just like in terms of identity, and how the conversation of being Lao, it’s pretty muddy. Because it’s like, OK, if I — if you’re not fully talking about it and nobody really knows where it is, you start to feel the sort of like invisibility. And there was always just sort of general conflict happening in my house. There never was really a time where it was like sitting by the fire and like sharing stories. 


[11:38] Sinéad Burke: Yeah. And did you have then rote responses when you were in middle school? And if people were asking you, where is that that, where are you from? Did you answer those questions? 


[11:47] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah. I mean, in the higher — in my highest calling, I just like, yeah, it’s this. Yeah, it’s, you know, Laos is in between Thailand and Vietnam,  it’s landlocked, and China’s up top, Cambodia’s at the bottom. I think it was my lower calling as just — I don’t know — is when I answer Minnesota. 


[12:09] Sinéad Burke: You don’t always want to be the advocate. You don’t always want to be the educator of your own life. Nor should you have to. But yet —

[12:19] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah. wouldn’t it be nice? But being a woman and a person of color of a southeast nation, you end up doing that. Because part of you is like I shouldn’t have to. But it’s like if I don’t, who will? 


[12:31] Sinéad Burke: And not that it’s the same, but I have dwarfism. So from the earliest of ages, my parents gave me these answers that, you know, if somebody comes up to you in the schoolyard and says, why are you so small? You just say, I was born like this. And you ask them why they were so tall, or whatever it was, that it was this — my parents understood that that was necessary for me. It was almost like an armor or an artillery. In order to be accepted, that I had to explain who I was in order for people to allow me in. And I am white, straight, cisgendered, from a working-class background, but disabled. And, you know, huge amounts of privilege. But yet I was always the only one who looked like me in a room. How did that frame, or were you cognizant of it — how did that frame your work, and what you wanted to do, and being this chatterbox that we would say at home, but conscious of identity? 


[13:22] Kulap Vilaysack: Well, growing up in Minnesota, it’s about assimilation. Coming to L.A., it’s about assimilation. For me, it was because I thought that the way to my heritage would be through my parents. I have a very problematic relationship with my parents. And so that felt like that path was like blocked. And so it was just about kind of putting my head down, going to UCB and Second City, and trust that I took to part in my own invisibility in this way, but just kind of a blanket Asian. I used to act a lot. And so when I was going on auditions, nobody in Hollywood until now is like thinking about the diversity within the huge umbrella which is Asian America. You’re just like going in for Asian roles, you know what I mean? This is a made-up term Asian-American that is important, but it was like 40 years old.


[14:12] Sinéad Burke: When you were doing those like auditions and when you were going through that period, what was the narrative that was going on in your head during all of that? Like, was there a particular, like monologue? Was there anything that you kind of said to yourself, or what was the story that you told yourself when you were there? 


[14:27] Kulap Vilaysack: You know, I’ve had great opportunities. I’ve been in every room that I think I could possibly be in. I mean, I notice when we do pilot season, there’s a period of time in Hollywood when you hope that you will be cast as a series regular on a new show, and then that new show will get picked up, and then all of sudden it’s Friends, right? And so during pilot season, you’re going out for a bunch of hopefully episode ones of a hit series. And in that time, the way you used to be, you were just going out for multiple scripts, maybe multiple in a day. And you’re reading — for a series regular, you’re reading like maybe 10 pages plus. And usually it would be not necessary for the leads, it would be for like the quirky Asian best friend. And the white people would get cast first, and then you go from on. Right. And then I remember going into a room, and it was essentially an Asian woman call, and putting my name down on the sign up sheet and looking around and seeing just the diversity of ethnicities, of shapes, heights, you name it. And being myself, and I’m sure those women, too, seeing all the different types that we were, all the different kinds that we were, all, you know, how unique we all are. And then but also fully knowing that on the other side of this door, the producers, the casting directors, could care less. Like I’m hoping that that’s changing. But change comes slowly. 


[16:01] Sinéad Burke: And what made you keep going back, despite knowing that?


[16:06] Kulap Vilaysack: I have a lot of drive. I just do. Like I inherited that from my mom, as problematic as our relationship is. The mom I remember is somebody who was very ambitious, but also driven and a hard worker. So there certainly was a lot of disappointments, but if it is something that you want, you go for it. 


[16:30] Sinéad Burke: I grew up always wanting to see myself reflected in lots of different spaces. I wanted to open a book in my classroom library and see somebody who looked like me. I wanted a Barbie doll that looked like me, or to go to the cinema. And, you know, we have Peter Dinklage, and we have Warwick Davis, but if you are a woman who is a little person, reality television is a space in which you get to exist. And there’s no agency in that narrative, and not that it’s — I think if that’s your choice, amazing. Incredible. But how do you go from that wanting to see the representation and then being the vehicle by which it can or should or does happen? 


[17:09] Kulap Vilaysack: We have to be in charge. 


[17:11] Sinéad Burke: Tell me more.


[17:13] Kulap Vilaysack: You can’t wait for old white people to invite you to the table, it’s just not going to happen, and it’s not going to be the agency that you’re speaking of. That’s just the breaks, you know? And in a writers room, what happens often is because you spend 14, 15, more hours than that, you don’t need a challenge or like unsure. So of a sudden, you realize these people are just picking someone who’s very similar to them. Same background, same schooling. And they look alike, sound alike. So, more important than being in front of the camera is behind the camera. It’s decision makers. It’s having execs who — of course we need all types of people to be allies, but we need representation behind the camera I think more to bring everyone forth. As a showrunner, I’m in charge of hiring. I’m in charge of setting the tone of the sets. How people are treated. And sure enough, when Bajillion Dollar Properties came along, it was really important to me to have a balanced set. And that’s why there’s so much talk about people like Zoe Lister, just like, ‘do I have to hire a guy? Ok.’ 


[18:23] Sinéad Burke: Queen Sugar being every episode directed by a woman.


[18:25] Kulap Vilaysack: Exactly. Because there’s still this fallacy, like, ‘the talent’s not out there,’ but it’s like you have to pull people up. So if I get any modicum of like success or any sort of power, I’m like, let’s bring people up. Let’s bring people up. Because if we don’t do it, it’s not going to happen.


[18:40] Sinéad Burke: And how do you practically do it? How does that actually come about? Or even before that? How do you fracture the system of everybody looking, and being, and thinking, and saying the same in that room and you’ve done it?


[18:54] Kulap Vilaysack: Well, I have. But the system still needs to be broken from the inside. And how, you know, I’m like, maybe this will work, but we haven’t done it yet. We’re just like hoping. Right? We’re looking for the plate. The fractures are just pound until it breaks. Right. So I’m an organizer for the Time’s Up A+ group, AAPI group, and we just started last summer. And what we’re doing right now — it’s about community, it’s about enrichment, it’s about support. And sharing information and organizing. And I would say that within the entertainment industry, I have seen a shift in that. And hopefully that means working together and networking. And if something goes down at your workplace where you feel unsafe, you’re more apt to say something, etc. But it’s trying to provide community which we didn’t have. So that we can have it, too. 


[19:52] Sinéad Burke: Yeah. And what did you learn from being part of that kind of process and advocacy and organizing?


[20:01] Kulap Vilaysack: I don’t know, what did I learn? I mean, just in general, community building and whatnot is just that it’s — you know, I love being an individual within a group. I think as women, we understand the ecosystem innately. We understand interconnectedness. When I have other women who have my back, I feel more confident to speak. I have another group called Laos Angeles. I didn’t realize how important it was to me to have that community. There was a part of me that was like kind of in the shadow because of my parents. And when I formed this group a year and a half ago, to be amongst people who know — and I don’t even have to explain what it was like to grow up with my problems, my joys, my hang-ups, you know, to have that, to feel that sort of ease, it’s so invaluable. Having been on the outside, I want to bring people into the lighthouse, you know, into the party. All I ever want to do is like, come to my house. Let me feed you. Let’s talk about how we’re going to change the world. Let’s karaoke. Let’s have a great time. You get it. 


[21:14] Sinéad Burke: How do you, when you’re organizing community groups and when you are bringing together marginalized voices and you’re building a new system, how do you ensure that that’s not just reiterating cycles of oppression? 


[21:28] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah, and reaffirming colonizing ideas and — so, for Time’s Up AAPI, no one’s like in charge. There is an organizing community group. But like Nithya Raman, who is the head of entertainment for Time’s Up overall — because we always wanna make sure that we’re in line with, you know, what Time’s Up is about, too. There’s always conversations. I think that’s a great thing about women, too. It’s like we’re always having conversations. And there’s always like, oh, that worked, that didn’t work. And OK, somebody put this really, really well. It’s like building an airplane in the air. And so you’re just flying by the seat of your pants. And sometimes it’s awkward and messy. But then if you’re always kind of having a conversation —


[22:17] Sinéad Burke: And conscious of the frictions.


[22:19] Kulap Vilaysack: Yes. Yes. 


[22:21] Sinéad Burke: Something as simple as, well, we’re going to ban plastic straws. Yeah, but what about disabled people? And just being open to that really helps. But I wanted to talk about Origin Story. I downloaded it and watched it on the plane to Los Angeles. And I was just so moved and transformed by it. But what made you want to do it? 


[22:45] Kulap Vilaysack: I mean, there’s so many reasons. It was a lifetime of not doing anything. So when I was 14, I found out my dad, whom I was closer to, felt that I looked like, had a better relationship with my mom — I found out that he wasn’t my real dad when I was defending him to her. And she said, why are you defending him? He’s not your real dad. And that alone was like, what? It’s like, very shook me. And then pretty soon after a meeting between my biological father’s family and myself didn’t happen, and I asked why. And the family friends said something like your biological father is worried that you would want child support, and so he asked his family not to have anything to do with you. Now, I didn’t want any of this. I did not want this bio dad to exist. I was fine with that dad. He was rejecting me. And so I just was like, I can’t, I am 14, I can’t handle any of this. Like, I don’t have this. 


[23:51] Sinéad Burke: Being a teenage girl is hard enough. 


[23:55] Kulap Vilaysack: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I just, I really did, I buried it. I also tied myself to that story, that origin story. That’s my origin story. What is that story? I don’t trust my parents. I don’t trust myself. Nobody wants me. And, you know, my problem was my mom. And there is varying truths to all of that. But it’s not a complete picture, right? But I really, truly did like for years and when I tell you that I did not ask a single question after that, I’m so serious.


[24:30] Sinéad Burke: Why? 


[24:31] Kulap Vilaysack: It’s too much. I’m dealing with the — it was not easy to grow up in my family. That was just something else amongst a mountain of dysfunction. And it’s like I’m just trying to — I’m going to school and I’m helping out with my sisters. I didn’t grow up in a household where I could relax. This on top of it. And I want to like have friends and school and that’s just kind of wasn’t really an option for me. So, I just wasn’t interested.


[25:11] Sinéad Burke: And when did it unearth itself again? 


[25:16] Kulap Vilaysack: Things had gotten super bad with my family, and my parents were finally splitting up, which is great, but it’s still was really hard, especially for my younger sisters. I say it’s great callously because they had such a horrible marriage. A horrible, horrible marriage. And I like to invoke the image of my parents beating a dead horse, which is their marriage, and dancing around it while making me and my sisters watch. So my reaction when the divorce was happening was like, yes, finally, thank you. Thank you so much. But it rocked — you know, my sisters were nine, 11 years younger. And even through that, you know, there’s like my mom’s a gambler, and my dad cheated on her. There’s just screaming, and violence, and it’s just — yeah. And so it had reached this fever-pitch. And I have kind of been tasked as the oldest, even when I moved away when I was 18, to try to be sort of like the fixer. And ultimately not a good one. 


[26:18] Sinéad Burke: I’m the oldest, too, and I’m not a good fixer. 


[26:21] Kulap Vilaysack: For a while I was like, this is awesome. My parents are listening to me. Full of myself. And then now I know like parts of their marriage I shouldn’t knows. Like what? This is bad — to having a phone ring, it’s my mom or my dad, and just like having Pavlovian response.


[26:40] Sinéad Burke: I hope no salivation. 


[26:43] Kulap Vilaysack: None. So that plus I had my first pregnancy and my first miscarriage. And I think I just was like, it’s time to know who I come from. And it’s hard to do things just for myself. But I was like, oh, what an act for, you know, this pregnancy didn’t work out. But I feel like motherhood is coming for me now. This was five years ago. Coming for me. And so this was sort of — let me do the sort of mental nesting and that sort of started the process. 


[27:15] Sinéad Burke: And how has it changed you? 


[27:17] Kulap Vilaysack: Oh, I would say immensely, having completed the process. It really is your heroine’s journey. Your Joseph Campbell shit, like basically. Yeah, because it was, I’m gonna do this! Ah, it’s hard, I don’t want to do this anymore. No, no. We gotta keep going. And my first interview was with Pang, my stepdad, and he was so forthcoming, and emotional, and honest with me. That really set the tone. I’d gotten from him something I hadn’t, you know, for all my time with him. So I was like, OK, well, this is — things are being revealed, let’s keep going. And so I think that tenacity, even though it was — every step of the way, every process from production and certainly into post-production and editing, it was so very difficult. You know, last night was my last screening at the Natural History Museum, and I’m just so proud of the documentary. I know that it has changed me, and has pushed me to evolve as a person, as an artist, as a creator. It has allowed me to let go of that old story that held me back. I feel free. I feel way more free, way more confident in myself, in my abilities and honestly, my inabilities. 


[28:43] Sinéad Burke: Was there a point in any of that where you kind of thought, this is too much? 


[28:48] Kulap Vilaysack: Yes. Many points. So many points. It’s like at the beginning, it’s like, who are you to do this? Why? Why do you think you’re so interesting? Who will care? Who will care? 


[29:06] Sinéad Burke: Did you have a good support system around you that could challenge that?


[29:10] Kulap Vilaysack: Yes. And also, there was this drive. Like, no, you — I don’t know. I don’t know. Sometimes I was like, why are you still doing this? But there was this pull, this drive to finish this. This like, no, you gotta keep going. And there were times when I thought we were not going to move forward, and then whatever thing was an obstacle, there was a path that opened up from someone, a hand reached out. And it was to the point that, ‘I can’t swat this away.’ Like, it would be that ridiculous. 


[29:50] Sinéad Burke: And before you started it, how did you envision success? 


[29:53] Kulap Vilaysack: I was looking to figure shit out. I wanted to let go. 


[29:58] Sinéad Burke: I think there’s so many people who want to do that. We talk about speaking truth to power, and we talk about the importance and the necessity of individuals stepping up and telling their story. But there very few who would do what you have done. 


[30:12] Kulap Vilaysack: I know. And I don’t know if I’d fully recommend exactly how I did it. 


[30:16] Sinéad Burke: What advice would you give them? 


[30:18] Kulap Vilaysack: Oh, man. Start. Start. I guess it all depends on what you want to do. But let’s talk about if you’re maybe of a similar background to me, or you have you wanna explore your own origin story, just start with like asking your parents questions. Or asking your auntie, or your people who have known you for a while, their story, so they can inform your story. And that can be as simple — as I mentioned before, at first I was just like, I’m going to record my dad, and who knows what happens? But I’ll always have it as a record. Right? That’s where we can start there. But then there’s also just like, put pen to paper, pen to paper, and then you have to share. We can only create in a vacuum for so long. And I think if you are honest, you’ll be all right. 


[31:12] Sinéad Burke: It has been a joy to sit across from you and talk to you. And I’m not sure if you yet can calculate the movement that this piece is gonna start with, simple, challenging, difficult conversations around dining room tables, Skype, Facetime, phone, people asking who they are. But you’re changing the world. 


[31:35] Kulap Vilaysack: Oh, wow. Thank you. Thank you for saying that. 


[31:38] Sinéad Burke: Thank you so much for joining me. 


[31:41] Kulap Vilaysack: I learned so much from Kulap. After speaking with Dan Levy, I had this wild idea that in 2020 I might sit down with a notebook, or my laptop in front of me, and develop a screenplay. But actually, Kulap gave me even more encouragement to do that because the power and agency that one has in writing their own story, and presenting it to the world without bias or sensationalism, has such extraordinary power and potential. You can find Kulap’s show, Bajillion Dollar Properties, on Pluto TV. You can also find her on the internet. And make sure to check out Origin Story, too. 


[32:18] Sinéad Burke: This week’s Person You Should Know is another O.G. podcaster. It’s Elizabeth Day. And her podcast, How to Fail, is incredible and has a fandom that is both terrifying and inspiring. But earlier this month, I got to sit with Elizabeth for a live version of the podcast and talk about my failures. Three of them in particular — there are many, of course. A failure to be kind to myself. A failure to be kind to my siblings. And a failure to see things through a myriad of different lenses. But Elizabeth has been so supportive of this show and of me, and has taught me how to bring out the best in people. So if you’re not already listening to How to Fail, or if you’re not following Elizabeth on Instagram, her handle is @ElizaBDay. Please tell her I said hi. 


[33:12] Sinéad Burke: But before you go, on Thursday, As Me with Sinéad is me in conversation with the incredible DeRay McKesson, who is probably the only reason why this show exists. See you on Thursday. As Me with Sinéad is a Lemonada Media original and is executive produced by Jessica Cordova Kramer. Assistant produced by Claire Jones and edited by Ivan Kuraev. Music is by Jerome Rankin. Ad sales and distribution partner is Westwood One. If you’ve liked what you’ve heard, don’t be shy. Tell your friends to listen and subscribe on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you like to listen, and rate and review as well. To continue the conversation, find me on Instagram and Twitter @thesineadburke and find Lemonada Media on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @LemonadaMedia. 


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