Episode 170: Priya Rao, Executive Editor at Glossy and Host of the Glossy Beauty Podcast

Priya Rao has worked at nearly every beauty and fashion magazine out there. After starting her career in banking, a sitcom worthy roommate situation opened her eyes to the world of creative pursuits. She realized if she was willing to journey off the beaten path, she could lead a more exciting and creative career — so she did.

Listen in to this week’s episode as Priya and I connect on networking discomfort, the many manifestations of feeling like an outsider, and how she got where she is today.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty®, hosted by Jodi Katz, founder and creative director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey there, it's Jodi Katz, your host of Where Brains Meet Beauty® Podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in. This week's episode features Priya Rao, she's the Glossy executive editor and the host of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. And if you missed last week's episode, it featured Dr. Michele Koo, she's the founder and CEO at Dr. Koo Private Practice Skincare. Thanks for listening.

Hey everybody, welcome back to the show, I am so excited to be here with Priya Rao, she is the executive editor of Glossy, and the host of the Glossy Beauty Podcast. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty®.
Priya RaoHi, Jodi, how are you?
Jodi KatzPriya, it's so cool that you're here, but I have to tell everyone you said that you were nervous, but this is kind of funny because you're the host of a podcast.
Priya RaoI am nervous, I am nervous. I have to say, it's so much ... it's so different being interviewed than being the one interviewing, and I've gotten much better at the second. So interviewing other people. So I'm in the hot seat today.
Jodi KatzSo now you know really what it feels like for your guests.
Priya RaoI know. And I was bugging Jodi, for everyone wants full disclosure, I was bugging Jodi in advance for topics and questions before, which is something I get so annoyed by by my guests and their PRs. So it's all coming full circle.
Jodi KatzRight, so why do you think having the questions ahead of time is important to you but also your guests?
Priya RaoWell I think for me, I want to say the right thing and I want to be thoughtful with my answers, and be able to provide information that isn't just on the fly even though those conversations are great, too. But I totally get it for my guests now, being able ... If they're talking about a digital strategy, or their brand, or some new launch, they don't want to just be surprised, which I think is the biggest fear in podcasts but also makes for great audio.
Jodi KatzRight. So those people might have bosses who need to see their responses before they're allowed-
Priya RaoRight.
Jodi KatzTo say them out loud, right?
Priya RaoTotally. I did one yesterday that will be airing pretty soon, either this week or next week, and the PR was on the whole time taking notes. And that's not usually typical, the PR usually goes dark. But they were taking notes very furiously and rapidly, I guess to kind of get those talking points squared away.
Jodi KatzRight. So I'm going to go totally out of order on my questions, so sorry to complicate it. And we will talk about your career journey because I think it's so interesting for everyone to hear. But I'm so fascinated by you and the position that you have because you're working, you're leading content for this influential industry publication, which puts you sort of in the center of a lot of storytelling. And you're meeting people all the time, right? So and you're lovely, so I'm just curious about how do you build relationships when you're like wanted because of your ... I don't know, access or exposure, whatever you want to call it. I'm just so curious how you navigate relationship building because this is a fun industry, but how do you know if relationships are real in your position?
Priya RaoTotally. Well it's so nice to hear you say that I'm wanted, because I definitely never kind of feel that way, and I guess that's kind of part of it, is just having a little bit of an outsider point of view. I remember when I first started at Glossy, which was a little bit over two years ago, Glossy hadn't done so much beauty as they had done fashion, or luxury, or technology. And so it was really building a lot of this from scratch. And I remember one of my first meetings was with the Shiseido team, and they were so interested, they were so open, they were willing to talk. And it ended up becoming a really great relationship and great story that we told at the very beginning of that. But it was like they were just as open to me as I was open to them.

And now it's very odd because I know in beauty it's so much fun and there's so many events and there's so much like party, party in part of it. But at the same time I think during COVID, it's really kind of allowed people to pull back and be like who is responsive, who's respectful, who's easy to get along with? And that matters more I think now more than ever because you're pulling back all the veils of pomp and circumstance, or products, or a free facial, you know? Which is not something I necessarily really enjoyed so much, because I get really nervous at events and get really nervous talking to people and doing like dinner party chat. Which I think people would be surprised by. I'm much better with people I know and they know me well.

So relationship building is really important to me, and so I think the people who know me in beauty probably know that I'm much more vulnerable than a lot of editors from the get, so it just takes a while to really trust people.
Jodi KatzSo you're saying that because we don't have the pomp and circumstance and party that we used to right now, that you can see the difference between publicists or brands who ... I guess work harder to relationship build than the ones who just relied on those in real life tactics?
Priya RaoYeah, and I also think that right now ... I know beauty and innovation and launches are so important to the industry, and newness drives the industry, but at the same time it may not be appropriate to be doing some of these launches or some of these influencer campaigns right now in this environment. And so maybe you don't get to talk about your greatest vitamin C or greatest sunscreen launch right now in summer, which is what we'd probably be talking about. But you're kind of developing ideas together and you're kind of seeing like, "Oh, what are you working on? What are you seeing? What are you ... " It's a little bit more casual, I find.
Jodi KatzAnd do you think that your podcast guests and the people that you are interviewing for reporting, are they being more vulnerable?
Priya RaoYes and no. I think that there's a clear difference between people who do want to share. I think at the start of this when everybody was like ... the world has like totally crashed and ... I had an interview with Bob Rhatigan at Merz the other day and he said, "In March the world fell off a flat earth." So it’s interesting being able to say that, and saying it like jokingly now, but at the time really feeling it. But at the same time there are some people who are really, really on message. And I really found I think in June when business started to kind of open back up and that fragmentation wasn't really happening as much, people were back on it, people were back on like, "I'm doing this launch with this influencer," or, "I'm launching this brand and it's going in Sephora or going into Ulta," and that was the party line. And I think that one thing COVID and also Black Lives Matter has shown us is I think people are wanting to be a little bit more collaborative, and a little bit more open, and maybe more willing to share a little of their secrets. So I hope that's something that we see continue.
Jodi KatzI just read that Glossy article about Merz. And it's just so cool to come full circle and here you are talking about it.
Priya RaoYeah. Well I was finishing that up like literally before we started recording, Jodi, so that's why it's on my mind.
Jodi KatzWell maybe I was one of the first people to read it, that makes me feel special.
Priya RaoYou are, you're very special.
Jodi KatzSo you just said to me that you don't really like going to events, and like the networking makes you feel uncomfortable. And I want you to know that that's the reason why I started a podcast, because I hated going to these dinner parties, and I didn't want to hang out at bars, and I didn't know how to infiltrate cliquey groups, and I told my coach at the time, I'm like, "I'm just not really good in big groups, I'm really great one on one." And then he called me the next day and said, "You should start a podcast."
Priya RaoThat's such a ... I think that's such a funny thought. Because I very much am similar. I think I present as an extrovert, but I feel like I'm an introverted extrovert, you know? And I think I'd much rather have deep conversations one on one or in a small group or with people I know and love or respect, than just go to a dinner for three hours, it's really hard. It's much harder than it looks on Instagram.
Jodi KatzRight, and this navigating small talk is really challenging for me. I have a hard time with surface conversations, they make me really uncomfortable, just like you, I'd really rather go crazy deep. And you can't do that with everybody, obviously not everybody's prepared or willing to be vulnerable that way. So but one on one you can kind of like ... I guess you can suss that out easier.
Priya RaoRight, and I think there was something about when in those kind of small groups or dinner party situations or bars, there's something about you want the other person to like you, you want them to respect you or think that you're cool, especially here in New York. And I end up feeling like I'm oversharing, and just like telling someone my whole life story, or I just like got drenched because I didn't have an umbrella or my skirt flew up on the subway, or whatever I'm probably doing that right now. And then the person looking at you is just like, "What did you just say to me?" And so it's just this weird balance I find that it's still tricky to do.
Jodi KatzI'm laughing so hard-
Priya RaoEven in your 30s, even in your 30s.
Jodi KatzPriya, I'm laughing so hard right now because I feel like I'm the person, like I'll tell you when I have my period. You know when you were talking about oversharing and while talking about-
Priya RaoYep.
Jodi KatzLike period horror stories.
Priya RaoYep.
Jodi KatzWhich I think is maybe the reason ... that this oversharing may be why people perceived you as super outgoing and myself as well. I see it more as being vulnerable and real than being outgoing. But you just said something that I thought was really interesting that does lead into one of the prepared questions that I gave you. This idea about what other people think, this notion of ... You and I both meet really smart people every day and engage with them. I have dips in insecurity and self confidence that kind of some in waves, usually it's tied to the bank account. How much money is in Base Beauty's bank account, if there's a lot I feel really good. If all the sudden there's less, I'm like, oh, maybe I'm not good at this.

So that's one of the reasons why I force myself to be vulnerable and honest, because I think it makes the insecurity sort of vanish a little bit if I'm real. But I'm just curious as to how these moments of insecurity show up for you when you're talking to all these CEOs, and executives, and board members and whatnot.
Priya RaoYeah, it's funny that you say that because I feel deeply insecure. I think you and I have talked about this before, Jodi, and I'm sure we'll get to this later, but it's like I've always felt like the ultimate outsider. I haven't even been in beauty that long. And I grew up in a small town in south Texas where I was like one of very few Indian children there, my family's one of very few Indian families. And being in Texas and being a minority is also a totally other thing.

But yeah, I always kind of felt a little bit like I had to prove myself much more than my peers and of course more than my white male peers, or my white female peers. And so I think with CEOs and board members, and I think the ones especially that I'm getting to know early on, I'm so over prepared. Like I really do read everything, and whether it's earnings reports, or that one line in WWD, or the Times, or Beauty Matter, or wherever, I take really verbose notes and I kind of use that as my armor. So if I'm talking to Bob like I just mentioned, or Marc Rey at Shiseido who I have never met before and was really, really nervous to meet when I met him, I just use what I knew as my backing.

And I think what's surprising to people sometimes, and I've found this ... I'm sure you hear this too, Jodi, because I feel like you're outgoing and fun and when we talk one on one people are surprised that you know a lot about this business. And you're not asking questions like, "So, do you put the highlighter on before the blush or after the blush?" Of if your influencer, like, "What's your favorite mascara?" Like you're asking tougher questions and of course a lot of the private equity guys I talk to, it's very easy to hear like party lines whether it's from a CEO or from a founder or private equity, but when you start asking more detailed questions, when you're like, "What was that really about?" It's kind of like that Axios thing with Trump the other day. Just asking a follow-up sometimes, and an informed follow-up, really puts people ... Lets people respect you and also puts them on their toes.

So that's one thing that I think that I do have in my ... I guess like toolkit, is that ... And my husband says it too, like I will ask questions over and over again in different ways and he's like, "You're not interviewing me, we're just having dinner." You know? But that can be a skill for first time ... For someone who's trying to kind of carve out a space for themselves and build something when people didn't know them.
Jodi KatzRight, it's the follow-up questions where the juicy, meaty stuff is. I don't mean juicy, meaty meaning's going to trip somebody, but it's like where the details are. Right?
Priya RaoRight.
Jodi KatzBecause you sent me an email this morning and you wrote, "y'all" Y, apostrophe, A-L-L, is that how you spell it?
Priya RaoYes.
Jodi KatzRight?
Priya RaoYes.
Jodi KatzSo like it leads me to I want to talk about Texas, I want to talk about-
Priya RaoYeah.
Jodi KatzGrowing up in Texas. So it's because I think when people are speaking, hopefully you're more comfortable now than you were 10 minutes ago, and you're-
Priya RaoDefinitely.
Jodi KatzBeing yourself, and you're willing to reveal yourself to me and my listeners, and I'm so grateful for that because the more people ... The more that people get to hear you and you be you, I feel like the future us can navigate the world with less insecurity. Like I think my job is to help the people who are 10 years younger than me just be themselves at their job and not have to pretend to be cool, or chic, or rich, or whatever it is that the games like I felt like I used to have to play. When I started in the business I really felt so insecure and I thought if I wasn't like roommates and best friends with Jane Lauder growing up, I'm never going to make my dreams come true. And you're laughing but it's like exactly ... Like I really believe this, this is like as if it was written in stone, I don't have this relationship with Jane Lauder so therefore I can't.

And it took like a lot of years and therapy and coaching for me to see that I can create my own path, I just never saw those other paths.
Priya RaoAbsolutely. I mean, you're preaching to the choir. I definitely felt that way when I first moved to New York, when I first had a career in New York. And even as a kid growing up, I always felt like I had to be ... Backtrack, my parents were professors, they immigrated here from India, all my brothers were born in India, I was the first person in my family to be born in Eugene, Oregon when they were going to grad school. And then we moved to Laredo, Texas, which is literally on the border of Texas and Mexico when I was four.

So talk about being an outsider and feeling like you have no connections, like nobody in Laredo leaves Laredo. Nobody in Laredo ... Like if they do leave Laredo, they're just going to Dallas, or San Antonio, or Houston. So to come all the way here to New York City and to be working in these industries, it's like where did you come from? I'm not a trust fund, I didn't go to Princeton, I didn't go to Penn, I didn't naturally have those things at my fingertips. And I think that was really hard. And I think when I first started in publishing when I was 23, it was very much like The Devil Wears Prada, like oh my god you're one out of every million girls gets this job, it's amazing that you got these jobs. And that's how I felt, I felt really grateful to be there. And that's a great feeling to have, and it's good to have that, but it also kind of undermines you and your own confidence, because it says you don't deserve to be there.
Jodi KatzRight, you mentioned when we were on our intake, I think you called it a caste system, like there was this order and like only certain people were let into the order and-
Priya RaoYeah.
Jodi KatzIf you weren't let in to the order then forget about it, go find a job somewhere else in insurance or something.
Priya RaoYeah.
Jodi KatzSo I'm hopeful that this getting erased. I'm hopeful that this like world of ... like fragile, and I say it with sarcasm, fragile people who need to be protected is going away. Like why can't everybody just be an adult and carve their path and not have to come from a certain legacy to achieve a job?
Priya RaoRight, and I think some of it ... Ultimately I think a lot of it has been access, like access point, so much of it is network and who you know and also where you went to school, private school and college. And then also money. Like I told you at the beginning of this, my parents were professors, like we were very middle class. And still are. And I think that the idea, even back then for me thinking about doing something more creative was outrageous because you just had to be sure that you were going to have a stable life. And what was more stable than being a doctor or a lawyer? No one was saying like, "Go be in product development at Este Lauder or Loreal," or, "Go start your own brand."
Jodi KatzSo I want to talk about your career, and let's just put it out there, you worked in banking for a short amount of time.
Priya RaoI did. It was a very short amount of time. I was a finance and English major at the University of Texas in Austin. And English was added on as kind of my more creative outlet, my mom's an English professor but it took a long time to get there. But I was really focused on finance, and I thought it was because I didn't want to be doctor or a lawyer, and I thought well, business is like the next best thing and all these kids in my class were applying for investment banking internships and so did I. And so the summer of 2004 was the summer that I came to New York, and was a Merrill Lynch investment banking analyst. And if I remember correctly, I was in the consumer retail group. And it was wild. Like I have to say, it's all again coming very full circle, but I was not great at it. I think I was intimidated for sure, and I was much better at reading about things in the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal or understanding things on paper than understanding things on practice.

But it was that experience in New York that kind of showed me that there were other creative jobs in New York. Because I had a roommate who worked in an art gallery and she was from Bucknell, and another roommate who worked at W Magazine, and she was a fashion merchandising major. And so I was like oh, wow, you don't have to follow this really linear path. And being a banker is not the only way to be successful.
Jodi KatzSo first of all, that roommate mix has the makings of a sitcom.
Priya RaoRight.
Jodi KatzOkay, second of all you said that you were better at putting things ... reading things in paper than putting them to process, what does that mean?
Priya RaoSo I guess I really understood reading about ... And this is funny that I'm saying it this way, like I think I really understand when I read a newspaper article what was happening in a story, or what was happening in a business, or reading like a balance sheet. But when I was actually talking to some of these vice presidents at Merrill or other analysts, I felt like I had no idea what practically this meant. It kind of was like ... And I took a million accounting classes and a million finance classes, but it was like truly like why do I need to learn calculus, I'm never going to apply this in real life. And that's how I kind of felt about some of those accounting classes and finance classes, and obviously my real life experience at Merrill Lynch, I just didn't totally get it, didn't like work with one part of my brain.

And also, let's be honest, I did make a ton of money that summer. And I feel like I remember I bought it myself, my treats were like a Gucci purse, like the Jackie O Gucci purse, which is now making a comeback. And a Prada like leather pouch, which is very fancy right, because my roommates weren't buying that for themselves. But, at the same time, I worked like in the middle of the night to like 3:00 in the morning and hated it. And then went out to like NYU bars afterwards. It was just such a weird burning the candle at both ends or however you say that kind of life.
Jodi KatzRight. So you moved on, you told me that you got a role at Gap, which was pretty cool back then probably.
Priya RaoYeah, it was. After I came back my senior year I decided I wanted to do something more creative, and really looked at magazine jobs because I realized this was something that you could do, you could work at a magazine. But every Conde Nast and Hearst HR person said you have to be in New York to get a job, so my parents were totally thrilled about that idea. And I was also applying for more creative jobs at fashion companies. At the time it was mostly fashion because I was very, very into fashion, like read Vogue religiously and Harper's Bazaar. And I got a job in Gap's retail merchandising program. So it was this really ... It was called the RNP program and you rotated between all the brands. Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic at the time in merchandising, production, and I'm forgetting ... planning is the last one. And at the end of it I was a merchant in Old Navy Boys Canada, so like I told you, Jodi, I was like picking out like those Husky boys pants with the snaps on the side, and like puffer jackets because they had to be seasonally appropriate for seven year olds. But it was the first time really realize again that there were jobs out there that were so different than what you were exposed to as a kid.
Jodi KatzYeah, I love this. I want you to know that as a parent, the buttons on the inside of little baby pants are like really important. They help you size the waist, and they help you grow the waist as a child grows. It's a detail that's probably really aggravating to sew in because it's like little tiny pants with lots of buttons, but it's an amazing thing for parents. Okay-
Priya RaoI also remember ... I also remember there was also ... Are carpenter jeans like still important for boys, because these snap pants always had like a carpenter loop.
Jodi KatzYeah, my son who's now 13, he just had his 13th birthday yesterday, so 13 year ago, yes, he had those jeans. And now I'm wondering like why do babies need to wear jeans, is it really important that they're wearing jeans?
Priya RaoI think not at all.
Jodi KatzHe doesn't wear jeans now. All he wears is like sporty clothes, like Under Armor clothes, that's all he wears.

Okay, so fast forward after the Gap role you worked at Conde Nast, right, so you made that dream happen. And then basically every single fashion magazine that existed you've worked at it seems like, is that true?
Priya RaoI mean, not every. But yes, I worked at W Women's Wear Daily, the Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair, In Style, it was a lot.
Jodi KatzThat's a good list.
Priya RaoIt was a good list, it was a really good list. And I think I ... I mean, obviously I started in publishing right before the 2008 recession. I started in like late 2006. And it was a dream time to be in magazines, pre that. And I think after that what we realized is you really did, I specifically thought you had to jump around, to move up and to make more money, you had to move from place to place. And I really did that in a way to an art form for a while. And then I kind of realized ... Then it became an issue of like oh, well, you've jumped around a lot. Like where is your loyalty, where's your kind of like ... your through line? And for me, I think it was always just like I really like to be a part of something new, one piece of it.

And at all of those places, especially later in my career when I was at Town & Country and Jay Fielden was the new editor-in-chief, and they were trying to make it like zhuzhed up and like more modern, that one percent have a more modern feel, or when I was at Vanity Fair and started the style site for them, those were like incubator projects within these heritage corporations. And that was really exciting to me, and so whenever I got those kind of opportunities, I really went for them.

But publishing has changed a lot from 2006 to 2016 which was when my last full-time job was at In Style, and that was the summer of 2016.
Jodi KatzI'm thinking about relevance, because it's something that I did subconsciously, unconsciously? What's the right word? Not realizing it until recently that I think I've watched people who own agencies sort of like not evolve, and the agency is the same now as it was 20 years ago in terms of its structure, and its offerings, and I watched ... They kind of seem like dinosaurs, it's not a relevant style of business anymore. And I realized that one of the things I've done over the past few years is I continue to evolve with the marketplace to maintain relevance. And I think the podcast is another way to do that. And it sounds like you're doing that too through your career. You were picking up skills and then bringing them to these new opportunities because these new opportunities were the future. So it could've been an incubator experiment with Town & Country or Vanity Fair, but it was really what was coming for everybody. Was that a conscious decision of yours and do you feel like it was rooted in relevance? Essentially what I realized this morning as I'm brushing teeth is like I'm trying to continue building relevance just to maximize my earning potential, like that's the reason why I work so hard.
Priya RaoYeah. I don't think I knew it at the time. I think at the time it was just like pure ambition. I wanted to get ... I wanted to be in editor-in-chief of Vogue one day, or Harper's Bazaar, and I thought this was the way do it. And show them that I have a lot of expertise and showing it at a lot of different places and being able to understand tone, or understand stories, and at all these different places had to be valuable, right? But then what I soon realized is by 2016, people really ... It was a very like triangular place, if that makes sense. Like there were so few positions to get to, whether it was executive editor, or deputy editor, or editor-in-chief, and that's still the case. There are one ... again, like it takes a million girls to get that on editorialist job it could be argued the same thing to get an editor-in-chief job.

And I think for me when I went freelance that summer of 2016, it was really freeing because I wasn't necessarily beholden to fashion, it forced me to not have a name attached to myself, to be like I work at Town & Country, or I work at Harper's Bazaar, to back up my validity. It was really hard, of course, because I was pitching all the time and freelancing is such a grind. But it also opened me up to things I would've never thought about. Like being able to write about beauty, being able to write about wellness, writing more business. Like I would've never thought to do that, even though I started at WWD was one of my first jobs.

And I just ... My career took me in a place that I just didn't expect. I never would've thought I would be doing this podcast like almost two years later. And sometimes what I see now is that those older publications and those legacy companies that I worked for, there was a hierarchy and there was a structure that you had to follow. And maybe I wasn't going to be the person that was put on the Today Show, or put on a podcast because I didn't look a certain way, or because the industry wasn't ready for that kind of change at the time. I remember when social media first came out, people weren't allowed to post on like Twitter, like the handles were like In Style at name of person, or Instagram, that kind of thing. It was like you had to be ... You were always representing the brand, it wasn't the idea of you yourself could be a brand, right?

And so I think now what's amazing about Glossy is I never thought this would become ... of course my Alexa is going off right now and saying it's lunchtime. But what I think now is that I don't think I ever ... I think I didn't have that many expectations about Gloss, I didn't know where this was going to go, and I was really, really open to it. And now it's opened a whole new world that I didn't even, again, knew was reality. That business reporting could be so important, that it could be so important to carve yourself out from consumer press right now, digital would be so important. Like events on Zoom, and podcasts, and being able to be these so called multi taskers, jacks of all trades that we always wanted, but we weren't maybe allowed to be in publishing five or 10 years ago.
Jodi KatzRight.
Priya RaoThat was a long, long question. Long, long answer.
Jodi KatzI love that, but I do want to know what is for lunch?
Priya RaoWhat is for lunch, you know, I don't know yet. I don't know. I've been really eating this like mix of cashews and dried cantaloupe basically all day and that's like my meal. But I'll let you know after this, Jodi.
Jodi KatzI have my breakfast sitting next to me, like a really beautiful bowl of chia pudding with fruit and nuts, but I haven't had a chance to eat it yet, it's so pretty.
Priya RaoOh my god.
Jodi KatzIt looks so good.
Priya RaoWe should've had a lunch date.
Jodi KatzYes.
Priya RaoWe should've had a lunch.
Jodi KatzOkay, so we have so many questions and we have limited time because we keep these bite size just like you do on your Glossy podcast. Okay, so I think I want to skip to what is your super power?
Priya RaoI think it is ... well, I think it's twofold. I think it's gathering information, and then distilling that information. So I will get as many facts as you can. And I don't necessarily know where the story is going to go, whether it's on a show, or in a story, or just in conversations like this. But when it gets there it really does get there. I feel like I have a way to package and distill information with a different kind of eye, which I hope is helpful for people.
Jodi KatzThat's so cool. Okay, so my next question, this is a soft ball, I think.
Priya RaoOkay, okay.
Jodi KatzAs a consumer, not as an editor or podcast host, but as a consumer what category or beauty do you actually like pay for and love the most? Like pay for yourself with your own money.
Priya RaoSo I think it's eye cream. So skincare is always an important thing, but I've basically burned off my face earlier in the pandemic from like perioral dermatitis from using way too much stuff. But eye cream is the one ... besides cetaphil, eye cream is the thing that I'm using every day and I feel like that's the area that I hate about myself the most, or I'm most insecure about on my face, like these dark under eye circles which are like more swollen than ever. So a good eye cream without necessarily all that crazy stuff like hydroquinone or steroids that really just makes you look beautiful, like looking fresh faced is the best thing ever.
Jodi KatzAnd you pay your own money, like you'll order stuff and experiment with it, spend your own money on it.
Priya RaoYeah. And my favorite is this brand 111SKIN and I bought it last year before my wedding and my husband was like, "Why is this $190?" And I was like, "You don't understand." So now I kind of try to save for it and like mix and match, but it's really expensive. But it works.
Jodi KatzSo I just got a package of shower gel, so I'm really obsessed with the Golden Door, do you know that small resort in California?
Priya RaoOkay.
Jodi KatzIt's famous legacy, and I was there a few years ago as their guest and it was the most amazing experience ever. And the shower gel just has this like ginger, like this incredible ginger scent and I love it so much, and I've been buying them, and I buy them a few at a time because I want to stock up, so I'm like a shower gel body scrub girl, like that's my happy place. And nobody ever talks about shower gel and body scrub, but so it came in the mail and my husband opened it and he's like ... each one's $44. It's a shower gel that's $44 but I spend my own money on it. And I know that that's insane, but it makes me so happy. It's $44.
Priya RaoNo, totally. Totally. I mean same thing with shampoo and ... Shampoo and conditioner is like my second favorite thing, and yeah, like you can't wash your hair every single day, you'd use that whole bottle of $44 shampoo or shower gel in like a day.
Jodi KatzYeah, I love it, but you know what, I was like this is what makes me happy. Going out to dinner does not make me happy, this shower gel makes me happy.
Priya RaoEspecially not anymore.
Jodi KatzOkay, so this is what I need to know.
Priya RaoOkay.
Jodi KatzSo you have your own podcast that you're recording still during the pandemic.
Priya RaoYep.
Jodi KatzYou just went through our production process and so you saw the behind the scenes, how different is the behind the scenes, the mechanics of getting the show made for you?
Priya RaoIt's similar. Obviously I was talking to Niko a second ago about a certain setting on audio that we ask our guests to do for voice memos, because we record our own voice memos too in the Zoom era. And it was something that I learned and obviously our producer is on as well. I think it's very similar. One thing I will say, this seems like ... And maybe it's because we know each other, Jodi, I feel like this is just like girlfriends hanging out a little bit, I feel much more natural and much more open and willing to talk, whereas on the opposite side from my perspective, I feel like I have to be so on when you're the host. Which I imagine you probably feel right now.
Jodi KatzI feel like I have to be on, but it's very much ... Like the on is intensified when my guest is not as free and comfortable in just speaking candidly. So when-
Priya RaoRight.
Jodi KatzAnd I really want to represent all the different types of people who work in our business, so there are some people that are like you and are willing to have a conversation and it is very two way, but then I have guests that like answer the question and they don't ... there's no conversation. So that to me is like the ultimate challenge, because I want to make our listeners smile, whether it's they learn something new, or they related to something, or they had an epiphany, or an aha moment, whatever it is. And it's harder to draw information out of people, that makes my job harder, but I think it's an important task. Like I've felt so proud of myself when I've gotten through hard interviews, and they're not hard because the subject matter's hard, it's just hard to get people to talk.
Priya RaoRight. Totally. I think it can be really exhausting, it can be really draining, especially when you're doing this on Zoom, because you're not in person, you're not feeling their energy, you're not getting that ... the excitement from being together in a room. And that's one thing I really miss about not doing this in person. I'm sure for you guys, too. Because that almost just felt like people could be a lot more comfortable.
Jodi KatzIt makes me laugh that you were just saying that it's exhausting, because I felt like ... Like I'm not usually a diva, but there was like a year ago where I told my team, "I can't do three of these a day. It's too exhausting." And I felt like such an actress who's like, "No, I can't read the lines anymore, I'm not going to do another take." But I really want to listen to what you're saying and that is a process that is exhausting when you do it again and again and again. Because I'm really listening.
Priya RaoYeah, you have to really listen. And it's funny that you say that because I'm doing the same thing to my producer, Pierre, who I literally drive crazy. Because we do our weekly show too and we're doing a special series for the first time, it's a four part special series on skin lightening that's going to launch in September. And it's more narrated, so I'm learning how to write a script and I'm ... It's more than one person on the show, and it's like ... I'm like, "Pierre, no, we can't have six of these a week." And he's like, "Priya, we have to get this done. We actually have to finish this."
Jodi KatzWell, okay, so that takes us to the end of our time and it was more than 30 minutes, it's 39 minutes together. But I know everybody will love this and I hope that I made you at ease during this conversation because you're a lovely guest.
Priya RaoOh, Jodi, thank you, I'm so happy to be here. I love doing this with you and I feel like if it was anybody else I'd probably be even more nervous.
Jodi KatzWell thank you so much for your wisdom, and for our listeners I hope you enjoyed this interview with Priya. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes and for updates about the show, follow us on Instagram at Where Brains Meet Beauty Podcast®.

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