INTERVIEW ERIN WALSH
PHOTO CHRISTIAN HOGSTEDT
MEET KATE AND LEISHA, the dynamic co-hosts of PANTS PODCAST, who first met many years ago starring on THE L WORD. The two best friends made lemonade out of lemons by launching a podcast together during a pandemic. SBJCT spoke with K and L to celebrate the one year anniversary of their launch, and we discussed how positive representation helps dismantle stereotypes, why direct lines of communication has been insightful and healing, and how operating without an endgame can be a relief. Read on about their journey below…
Erin Walsh Working in television is so intimate, because viewers feel like they know you in a different way than they do with say, a play or a film project. They are constantly revisiting you week to week. How did you each adjust to the scrutiny and existing in the public eye?
Kate Moennig Personally, I wouldn’t know. That’s not information that I investigate or seek out.
Leisha Hailey I live such a normal and private life. Once we wrap a season, the work is done and I don’t feel the effects of what it brings next.
EW Any coping mechanisms that you turned to? Were you able to turn to each other?
KM We turn to each other for advice all the time. I called Leisha today to get her opinion on something, even though I knew what her answer was going to be. Just wanted to hear her say it.
LH That’s the thing with us. We use each other as a sounding board all the time. I really respect Kate’s values and beliefs so I always know I’m going get an honest take on something.
EW In terms of shows that have really shifted the cultural zeitgeist, TLW really did that and does that in its newer iteration in so many ways. Is there anything in particular that you feel nostalgic or proud of during your time spent there?
KM It’s very rewarding to have been a part of something from its inception. In hindsight, I can understand why so many people sat up and took notice of this show. It was not only the first of it’s kind, but it was unapologetic for what it stood for. We spent 6 months a year huddled away in Vancouver creating this world together and giving it our all. The memories and sisterhood we established is something I am forever grateful for. Now, here we are 11 years later doing the reboot we worked so hard to bring back. An immense sense of gratitude for all the work it took to get here, and is currently taking to keep it moving.
LH I feel an immense sense of pride that we are a part of telling stories about our community. Positive representation on screen or in media is invaluable in defining our own culture and breaking down stereotypes.
EW Let’s talk PANTS. Tell us why you decided to co-host a podcast during the pandemic and where does PANTS come from? What does is mean?
KM We were bored like everyone else. We had talked about doing a podcast before, but since we couldn’t see each other like normal, we figured now was as good a time as any to try it out. Mia Kirshner nicknamed us Pants when we were all in Vancouver. She would say “you can’t have one without the other”. Leisha remembered that when were tossing around titles and it instantly stuck.
LH It really stemmed from a lack of seeing each other like we normally do. We thought, let’s reminisce about the old show or talk about home projects and record it. It was really fun to do so we kept going and now here we are a year later.
EW Explain to our readers the premise, what they can expect, and what you are hoping to tap into with this podcast.
KM The basic premise is pretty straightforward. Two best friends shooting the shit and commenting on the similarities and differences they have regarding pretty much anything. Which then stems into advice and mockery.
LH It’s a window into what might be a conversation we would have on the phone with each other, a chance to give listeners ill-informed advice or walking down memory lane. It’s a mixed bag and our friendship is the anchor.
EW Any favorite episodes so far we should look out for?
KM We shifted the format a few months ago and started doing Q&A’s with our audience. The questions they call in with always spark a thought or conversation we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. That sort of engagement with the listeners makes not only us but hopefully them feel like they are apart of this friendship.
LH In July we are going to start to recap season 1 of the original L Word and discuss any and all things we remember about each episode as well as weigh in on any opinions we might have about them.
EW If you can have anyone on a PANTS episode as a guest, who would it be and why? Dream guest.
KM Roxanne Gaye to discuss 90 day fiancé
LH Liza Minnelli, Carol Burnett, Molly Ringwald or Liz Phair so I can sing with her.
Two best friends shooting the shit and commenting on the similarities and differences they have regarding pretty much anything.
EW How was the shift in medium for you? Anything in particular you LOVE about hosting a podcast?
KM Aside from being charge of connecting all the equipment it’s been smooth. It’s refreshing to be in full ownership of something with no oversight. It’s this sweet, simple idea we came up with that has no rules.
LH It’s a very stress free medium and it allows us to enjoy the process. I think that’s why it has such a light hearted feel and we can escape into each episode.
EW Any particular endgame in mind? Is this something you envision doing for the long haul?
KM Next month, we are going to start recapping the original series from the beginning. However, the beauty of PANTS is there is no plan. We take it week by week. Unless something really infringes on our time or we get into a colossal fight because I ran over Leisha’s foot with my car, we will keep this going for a while.
LH We do want to take PANTS on the road and record these episodes in front of a live audience. That seems fun to us.
EW What other ways did you find to cope during the pandemic?
KM Doing house projects and assisting Leisha’s house projects. Simultaneously.
LH I second that. House projects and gardening.
EW What keeps you sane and centered on a daily basis?
KM A schedule of any sort…
LH Doing anything remotely creative.
EW What are you most proud of in terms of how you reach people with this new platform?
KM The fact that we have listeners is a win. That they call us because they want our advice is a bigger win.
LH I like when people say it’s something they look forward to every week because it lets them forget about their problems and laugh with us.
EW What are some of your favorite ways to contribute and/ or pay it forward as well? From causes to charities or even the spreading of ideas, what is really exciting to you to be a part of in terms of being instruments of change?
KM We try to be really honest and realistic about any advice that we give. I’m assuming some callers are younger than us. So to have two people who can relate or have maybe gone through something similar and have come out the other side is hopefully helpful. Respect your elders.
LH I like the line of communication this has opened with our listeners. It’s not something you normally get to have. It feels like we are all on a journey together somehow. It has no real plan or end game which I like.
EW What must we be reading? Watching? Eating?
KM The New York Times and The Washington Post
90 day fiancé and Mare of East town
Whatever makes you happy
LH Hacks with a bowl of popcorn
EW What are you most excited about as we emerge into the light, post Covid?
KM Restaurants and hugging
LH Live music and museums
EW Kate and Leisha, what’s your SBCJT? What really moves and motivates you?
KM Seeing people go after what they want and finding a way to do it.
LH Sharing moments in life with the people I love