143 episodes

Eavesdrop on real, vulnerable, intimate conversations with award-winning artists, best-selling authors, CEOs and execs you can’t get anywhere else – like listening to two good friends talking over a cup of tea or glass of wine. We go deep.

Heroine Heroine

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 478 Ratings

Eavesdrop on real, vulnerable, intimate conversations with award-winning artists, best-selling authors, CEOs and execs you can’t get anywhere else – like listening to two good friends talking over a cup of tea or glass of wine. We go deep.

    Root and Ritual — Becca Piastrelli

    Root and Ritual — Becca Piastrelli

    There are a lot of things wrong with the way we live our lives. While the average American spends 90 percent of their day indoors, we continue to feel completely disconnected from our food sources, and are lonelier than ever, especially in light of this pandemic.

    My guest Becca Piastrelli, author of a new book Root & Ritual, believes we can offset some of this modern angst by “rewilding” and reclaiming the natural part of ourselves. Becca is a friend, writer, speaker, ancestral folk medicine keeper, and women’s group facilitator. I’m thrilled to share her journey and work with you!

    In this episode, Becca describes how she grew up with an ache of unbelonging, and an inner knowledge that there had to be more to life than what she was taught by her family and the patriarchal, convenience-driven society within which she was raised. Acknowledging that change is very difficult, she shares her thoughts on connecting with our ancestry, navigating the pandemic, and handling grief.

    Her book Root & Ritual which I highly recommend offers practical wisdom, processes, and recipes for reconnecting with land, lineage, and community.

    Tune in today to learn more about her work that embracing old ways can make our modern lives feel significantly better.

    • Becca shares the anxiety she experienced growing up, and why she developed impostor syndrome at a young age.
    • The four parts which make up Becca’s book, Root and Ritual.
    • How Becca’s relationship with nature has evolved over time.
    • Different meanings that rewilding can hold.
    • Obstacles to rewilding that exist in our society.
    • The value that Becca believes lies in embracing ancestral ways of living.
    • Everyday experiences which highlight how disconnected we are from nature.
    • What Becca’s life currently looks like, and how she plans to change it.
    • The importance of human connection, which we are losing.
    • Becca shares her thoughts on navigating different opinions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Our “great severing” from our ancestors.
    • A process Becca went through to rebuild lost ties to her ancestry.
    • Personal challenges that Becca has gone through, and her method of dealing with them.
    • Becca’s relationship with shame.
    • The long journey that is rewilding.
    • What Becca is currently reclaiming.

    References

    Becca Piastrelli - https://beccapiastrelli.com/
    Root and Ritual - https://beccapiastrelli.com/book/
    Break the Good Girl Myth - https://majomolfino.com/book
    HEROINE (Podcast) - https://majomolfino.com/podcast

    • 54 min
    Writing Our Stories into Being — Angeline Boulley

    Writing Our Stories into Being — Angeline Boulley

    Writing a debut novel that becomes a New York Times bestseller is an impressive feat. Doing it over 10 years while raising children and working a full-time job is simply awe-inspiring.

    Angeline Boulley is the author of Firekeeper's Daughter, a layered Native American thriller. She is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and writes about her Ojibwe community.

    In today's episode, we learn more about Daunis Fountaine, the book's main character, and her distinctive character traits. While there are similarities between Angeline and Daunis, the teen character blossomed into something unique and fierce. We hear some moving excerpts from the book, and Angeline talks about the gravity of the regalia and elder scenes in the work.

    Our conversation also touches on the complexity of strong women, why the book is not a trauma story, and we also find out more about what Angeline's fascinating writing process was like.

    This moving dialogue around the power of women creators and the role they play in shaping their cultural stories will lift your spirits and potentially change your life.


    • Hear about what Angeline was like as a little girl.
    • Where Angeline grew up and insights into her cultural background.
    • Hear about what Firekeeper's Daughter's main character, Daunis Fountaine, is like.
    • How similar and different Daunis is from Angeline.
    • What Daunis's greatest virtue and greatest flaw are.
    • The tension that Daunis feels struggling with different aspects of her identity.
    • Why it was so important for Angeline to convey the significance of Daunis's regalia.
    • The role that elders play in the book and how Angeline views elders in all of our lives.
    • Why it was so important for Angeline to include the complex Aunty character in her book.
    • We do strong women an injustice when we place them on pedestals.
    • How the word "resilient” is often misused to justify suffering.
    • The balance Angeline had to find between telling the truth and overloading Daunis with tragedy.
    • How Angeline found time to write the book while raising children and having a job.
    • What Angeline has learned about being kinder to herself from having children.
    • The impact that having teenagers had on Angeline's ability to write a teen character.
    • Why Angeline decided to make her first book the epic work it is.
    • How Angeline learned the craft of fiction, given that she did not study creative writing.
    • The support that Angeline had during her writing journey.
    • Angeline's tips for aspiring writers: find what works for you.
    • What Angeline, as a heroine, feels she is reclaiming for herself.

    References

    Angeline Boulley - https://angelineboulley.com/
    Angeline Boulley on Twitter - https://twitter.com/FineAngeline?ref_src=twsrc%255Egoogle%257Ctwcamp%255Eserp%257Ctwgr%255Eauthor
    Firekeeper's Daughter - https://www.amazon.com/Firekeepers-Daughter-Angeline-Boulley/dp/1250766567
    We Need Diverse Books - https://diversebooks.org/
    Break the Good Girl Myth - https://majomolfino.com/book
    Majo Molfino - https://majomolfino.com/
    HEROINE (Podcast) - https://majomolfino.com/podcast

    • 44 min
    Home Is Not A Country — Safia Elhillo

    Home Is Not A Country — Safia Elhillo

    How do you relate to the country of your birth, if it’s a place you’ve never visited? And when does nostalgia go from being something beautiful to an illness that keeps you from living in the present moment?

    Our guest today, Safia Elhillo is a Sudanese American poet whose strikingly beautiful debut novel Home Is Not a Country is deeply informed by these questions of belonging, nostalgia, and identity.

    Her book is written entirely in poetic verse and follows the story of Nima, a 15-year-old girl who longs to escape the racism and bullying she experiences daily in America and become someone else.

    Safia shares how she was first drawn to poetry because of the sense of community she saw amongst poets at open mic night and how she steadily honed her craft. We discuss the challenges immigrant parents face in imparting their culture to their children and how nostalgia can deprive you of appreciating the richness of your present circumstances.

    Join us today for an insightful and meaningful conversation on what it means to straddle two worlds and the power of community.

    • Introducing today’s guest Safia Elhillo
    • Safia shares what she was like as a child and how she discovered her talent for poetry.
    • Safia’s experiences moving around a lot as a child and insights into her cultural background.
    • How Safia was first drawn to the sense of community among the poets she saw.
    • Hear about Home Is Not a Country’s main character Nima and how Safia created her.
    • How nostalgia and its effects inform the topic of Safia’s book.
    • How Nima is driven by a desire to return to the country her parents came from.
    • Nima’s experiences of racism, rejection, and loneliness in the US.
    • The extent to which Home Is Not a Country is autobiographical.
    • How Home Is Not a Country explores the confusion of growing up in America while straddling two cultures.
    • Safia shares her experiences of belonging and how her perspective has changed.
    • The significance of a chosen community.
    • Safia explains the concept of nostalgia as an illness.
    • The challenges that immigrant parents face in raising their children to care about a culture they are not immersed in.
    • The use of magical realism and Islamic mythology in Home Is Not a Country.
    • The logistical challenges Safia faced in using time travel in her novel.
    • How Safia chose to write the entire novel in poetic verse.
    • Why it’s important to allow yourself to write a bad first draft.
    • The value of community and outside input for revising your work.

    References

    Safia Elhillo on Twitter - https://twitter.com/mafiasafia
    Safia Elhillo on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/safiamafia/
    Home Is Not a Country - https://www.amazon.com/Home-Not-Country-Safia-Elhillo/dp/0593177053
    Break the Good Girl Myth - https://majomolfino.com/book
    Majo Molfino - https://majomolfino.com/
    HEROINE (Podcast) - https://majomolfino.com/podcast

    • 46 min
    Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Story — Mary H.K. Choi

    Healing Intergenerational Trauma Through Story — Mary H.K. Choi

    Continuing with our series on women in the literary arts, today’s guest is Mary H.K. Choi, a Korean-American New York Times best-selling author.

    Mary has written three young adult novels and has been published in The Atlantic, New York Times, and GQ.

    Her latest book, Yolk, is the story of two estranged sisters who slowly heal their relationship after one of them is diagnosed with cancer.

    In our wide-ranging conversation today, we talk about Mary’s journey to becoming a writer and some of the beliefs she had to let go of to get to where she is.

    We then dive into Yolk, where Mary talks about the similarities between her and one of the main characters, Jane. Mary unpacks why it was important for her to write about an eating disorder and having a fraught relationship with your body.

    Not only does this reflect Mary’s personal experience, but it also comments on the broader pressures within east Asian communities regarding physical appearance. We also touch on intergenerational trauma and why Mary thinks it’s an inevitable outcome of the immigrant experience, race, and the power of sibling hood as an immigrant.

    To hear all this and more, tune in today!

    • Hear what Mary was like as a little girl and her naturally inquisitive, scrappy nature.
    • When Mary realized that she wanted to be a writer and the pain that came with this realization.
    • The difficulty Mary faced trying to break into mainstream media.
    • For many years, Mary waited for permission, or for a break based on her merit.
    • A synopsis of Mary’s latest book, Yolk, and the similarities between her and the main character, Jane.
    • The struggles Mary has had with eating disorders throughout her life.
    • Why it was so important for Mary to talk about bulimia in her book.
    • How Jane’s low self-worth and insecurity reflect what happens to many women of color.
    • The different yolk signifiers and why Mary chose this as the name of the book.
    • Why Mary chose to explore sisterhood in Yolk, despite not having sisters herself.
    • Mary’s fraught relationship with America and how she thinks about her identity.
    • Having a brother gave Mary someone to talk to about their unique immigrant experience.
    • Representations of East Asian men in the media and how this differs from representations of East Asian women.
    • How Mary chose to bring up the issue of race in a non-prescriptive way.
    • What Mary has learned from her characters about what it means to break free.

    References

    Mary H.K. Choi - http://www.choitotheworld.com/
    Mary H.K. Choi on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/choitotheworld/?hl=en
    Mary H.K. Choi on Twitter - https://twitter.com/choitotheworld?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
    Yolk - https://www.amazon.com/Yolk-Mary-H-K-Choi/dp/1534446001
    Emergency Contact - https://www.amazon.com/Emergency-Contact-Mary-H-Choi/dp/1534408967
    Permanent Record - https://www.amazon.com/Permanent-Record-Mary-H-Choi/dp/1534445978
    ‎Hey, Cool Life! - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hey-cool-life/id1448378735
    ‎Hey, Cool Job! - a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/hey-cool-job/id984365487"...

    • 45 min
    Exploring All Your Identities — Meredith Talusan

    Exploring All Your Identities — Meredith Talusan

    The conversation around identity has evolved greatly in recent years, and this progress has been so important for many people.

    However there is still a long way to go to a more inclusive and accepting world, and we are joined today by someone who is adding a beautiful and complex voice to the discussion!

    Meredith Talusan is a transgendered woman, born with albinism in the Philippines, and who later immigrated to the US.

    Her relationship to acceptance and belonging has always been a complex one, a relationship she explores in her book, Fairest, and in today's episode!

    We get to dive deep into her journey, talking about external perceptions and inner realities, her writing for many prominent publications, and her current role as contributing editor at Them, Conde Nast's LGBTQ online platform.

    We look closely at her move to the US and time at Harvard, and how this influenced her life's trajectory and her professional and personal decisions.

    Meredith also talks about the art and literature that played a huge role for her, and how she tries to avoid too many comparisons and stark binaries.

    This is a beautiful and nuanced conversation from someone with an amazing story and the ability to unpack it honestly and insightfully, so make sure to join us!

    • Meredith's curious early years, growing up in the cultural melting pot of the Philippines.
    • How being born with albinism impacted Meredith's feeling of never fully belonging.
    • Meredith's work on a sitcom and soap opera, and the dynamic this created with her mother.
    • Feelings around being treated a certain way due to appearance; Meredith's mixed emotions.
    • Meredith's experiences and reflections on leaving the Philippines as a teenager.
    • The constant process of learning and growing; navigating life with fewer examples to follow.
    • Literature and stories that impacted Meredith and how these aided her on her journey.
    • The evolution of the academic approach to 'minority literature' over the last few decades.
    • How Meredith came to terms with and appreciated her particular experiences.
    • The influence that Meredith's life story had on her success and publication as a writer.
    • Uncertainty and complexity within the transgender experience; adding nuance to the discourse.
    • Meredith's gender identity and her hope for a different world.
    • Considering the possibility of a space beyond identity and Meredith's perspectives on spirituality.

    References

    Ignite Leadership Program - https://majo-molfino.mykajabi.com/ignite
    Meredith Talusan - http://mtalusan.com/
    Fairest - https://www.amazon.com/Fairest-Memoir-Meredith-Talusan/dp/0525561307
    Meredith Talusan on Twitter - https://twitter.com/1demerith
    Them - https://www.them.us/
    Jane Austen - https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jane-Austen
    George Eliot - https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Eliot
    Virginia Woolf - https://www.britannica.com/biography/Virginia-Woolf
    James Baldwin - https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-Baldwin
    Langston Hughes - https://poets.org/poet/langston-hughes
    Jennifer Finney Boylan -...

    • 44 min
    The Heroine's Journey — Gail Carriger

    The Heroine's Journey — Gail Carriger

    The heroine’s journey has historically been ignored, cast aside, and devalued, which has lead most of us to idolize and play out the hero’s journey in our own lives.

    On today’s episode, Gail Carriger, author of The Heroine’s Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Fiction, breaks down why and how we can begin to reclaim the heroine’s journey for ourselves.

    You’ll hear about the biggest differences in motivation between the hero’s journey and heroine’s journey, as well as the best and worst parts of being a writer and how her writing genre facilitates a greater feeling of connection with readers. We explore the impact of culture on storytelling and narrative, how the hero narrative can feed into the development of toxic masculinity, and the history of how romance writing is critiqued and defined.

    If you’re a heroine on the journey who wants to have more self-trust and confidence, this episode is for you.

    • What Gail was like as a child: a bossy, self-motivated old soul who knew her own mind.
    • How Gail realized she was a storyteller; rewriting the end of stories her mom read to her.
    • The kind of stories Gail tells about heroine’s stories, connection, and happy endings.
    • Her primary motivation as a writer: found family and how that has played out in her life.
    • What she considers the best part of being a writer: providing comfort and connection.
    • Why the hardest part of being a writer is the illusion of extreme intimacy and being known.
    • How the genre of fiction Gail writes leads the audience to feel connected to her.
    • Why it is important for young people to have adult perspectives outside of their parents.
    • The distinction between the motivations of the hero’s journey and heroine’s journey.
    • The Wonder Woman journey as an example of the hero’s journey.
    • The heroine’s motivation to reconnect and her position of strength in asking for help.
    • Why a hero operates in isolation, but a heroine is most powerful in community.
    • The impact of culture on storytelling and narrative and their core mythos.
    • How the hero narrative can feed into the development of toxic masculinity.
    • What Break of the Good Girl Myth is about.
    • The history of romance writing and how it is defined and critiqued.
    • The harmful trope of “Pussy Salvation” in romance writing.
    •The prevailing American myth is that you have to do everything by yourself.
    •TJ Klune’s book on connection and found family, The House in the Cerulean Sea.
    •Gail’s realization that she is a communal writer and writes best around people.
    •How Gail’s confidence in herself and trust in her audience has grown over time.
    •How authors are driven to write non-fiction when they have identified a problem.
    •Break of the Good Girl Myth by Majo Molfino and where to get it.

    References

    Gail Carriger - https://gailcarriger.com/
    Gail Carriger on Twitter - https://twitter.com/gailcarriger
    The Heroine’s Journey - https://www.amazon.com/Heroines-Journey-Writers-Readers-Culture-ebook/dp/B08D5ZSNRB/
    The House in the Cerulean Sea - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45047384-the-house-in-the-cerulean-sea
    Break the Good Girl Myth - https://majomolfino.com/book
    HEROINE (Podcast) - https://majomolfino.com/podcast

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
478 Ratings

478 Ratings

Joshill:) ,

Thanks Majo!

I love this host’s style of selecting and approaching her guests to really draw out the essence of the matter. Quality production, keep it up!

NM Nerdist ,

So beauteous

Just found this podcast and am truly intrigued. Can not wait to have the free time to listen to all of these.

Deirdre Tanton ,

Black Lives Matter

Your podcast today on Black Lives Matter felt so soothing and sane. Your declaration of wanting to repair any wrongs you may have unintentionally made came across to me as authentic and healing and with such a positive vibe. I will be curious to hear of any dialogues that result.
Thanks.

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