In this episode of Healthful Woman, Dr. Nathan Fox speaks with Jackie Oshry from “The Toast” podcast. Along with hosting a podcast, Jackie is an influencer, children’s book author, mother, sister, and daughter. She discusses her past, her family, and how she got into podcasting.
“Toaster, Podcaster, Influencer, and Author: Jackie Oshry”
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Dr. Fox: Welcome to today’s episode of “Healthful Woman,” a podcast designed to explore topics in women’s health at all stages of life. I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox, an OBGYN and maternal fetal medicine specialist practicing in New York City. At “Healthful Woman,” I speak with leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness.
Jackie, welcome to the podcast. This is awesome.
Jackie: This is awesome. Hi, Dr. Fox. I can’t stop calling you that.
Dr. Fox: We’ll get there, we’ll get there. I call you…I don’t…I call you Jackie, so I guess you have to call me Natey. We’ll get there.
Jackie: I know, but I’m just, like…Dr. Fox.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: That’s like calling your teacher by their first name. I can’t do it.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I can hear you on that. But I’m not your teacher.
Jackie: No. No, no, no. I’ll get there. And the more podcasting we do, like, it’s more familiar, and I’ll…I’ll switch over.
Dr. Fox: Fine. That’s fair.
So this is a very exciting day for me. A, I love seeing you in general. B, I’ve wanted to have you on the podcast for a long time. C, I was on your Toast situation.
Dr. Fox: Which was amazing, and I’ve gotten so much feedback about that, so many people I know… I was saying I’ve never… My whole life, you know, I went to medical school, I trained, I stay up at night, I deliver babies, I do this, I publish, blah, blah, blah, no one seems to give a damn until I’m on “The Toast,” and then it’s like, hey, ho, you’re on “The Toast!” So I’ve never impressed so many millennials at one time in my life, nor will I, and so thank you for that opportunity. You have an amazing audience. They’re so cool.
Jackie: They’re so cool, and I’m glad that they were excited by it. But also, the episode was so great. Like, you really contributed so much, and shared so much information. So it wasn’t just like, “The Toast,” it was, I think, you know, the whole show in general people really liked.
Dr. Fox: Good. Well, I mean, many of them have jumped on the “Healthful Woman” train, and they’re listeners, and so that’s cool.
Dr. Fox: We’ve gotten emails from them, I saw my numbers bump up clearly after, you know, “The Toast” episode, and so it was really… So thank you.
Jackie: You’re welcome.
Dr. Fox: But it was a lot of fun, and this is my chance to now put you on the hot spot.
Jackie: It’s fun for me. The tables have turned.
Dr. Fox: My, the tables have turned.
So for this podcast, and I told you already when you got here, I dropped the news that we’re doing two, so for this one, we’re talking about you. This is just Jackie.
Dr. Fox: All Jackie, all the time. And then for the next one, we’ll talk about Jackie, and Jackie’s birth, and we’ll do the birth story.
Dr. Fox: So in terms of the first, and we’re going to talk about everything about you, and we’re going to get into, obviously, the book that you wrote, that’s awesome, and is flying off the shelves, as you said, like, literally, people are just waiting in line like concert tickets to get this book, so awesome. And tell me, who are you?
Jackie: My name is Jackie Oshry. I currently am podcast host, primarily influencer, and now children’s book author. Mother, sister, daughter. I host the podcast, “The Toast,” which we call “The Millennial Morning Show.” It’s a comedy podcast that we do every day. So that’s kind of what sets us apart from other podcasts that are once a week, we do it five days a week, Monday through Friday. It’s an hour long. I host it with my sister, Claudia, who is also an influencer, she’s also a comedian, and we just have a good time.
The show is about pop culture, but that’s really just a framework for us to have structure for the show, and we go off on tangents, talk about ourselves, share about our personal lives, funny things that happen, like shows that we’re watching. Whatever it is, we’ll talk about anything. We’ve got a lot of time to fill. It’s great. We’ve built a huge community. We’ve been doing it for six years now.
Dr. Fox: Wow.
Jackie: And we love doing it. People really love the show. It, like, just keeps getting better, especially as we enter different phases of our lives, alongside our listeners, you know? People who have been with us six years ago are also becoming moms at the same time I’m becoming a mom, so it’s really cool to grow with them, and like, share our life experiences, and just share what I’m feeling, and know that there’s people who feel the same way, or are in the same position. And then, you know, Claudia shares her personal stuff, so it’s a very just warm place, and we have a lot of fun with it. I mean, I think it’s really funny. I’m always laughing on the show.
And people just need that, like, to start their day. We’re a big part of people’s routines, and we don’t take that for granted.
Dr. Fox: Do you have a sense of who your audience is?
Jackie: Yes. So we have a couple different, like, big chunks of audience, you know? We have a lot of Jewish listeners who live in the tri-state area, we have a lot of listeners across the country who have never met a Jew. And hearing us talk about our…
Dr. Fox: You’re their Jews. That’s it.
Jackie: We’re their Jews, yeah. They, like, don’t know much about the Jewish religion, faith, we’ll talk about things… And we explain, if we’re talking about being kosher… Or we’re always talking weirdly, this is a weird reference, about like, tropes, when you’re reading the Torah, because that’s how we talk…
Dr. Fox: Sure, yeah. Oh, that trope. Not…
Jackie: No, no, not Jewish tropes, but like…
Dr. Fox: Not Jewish tropes. And not, like, the horns trope?
Jackie: No, no.
Dr. Fox: Oh.
Jackie: No. But like, when you sing something, like with a specific melody, and that’s how we talk, like we use phrases, and we say it in different tropes, and we talk about, like, gematria… Just weird, like, things that resonated with us from going to Jewish day school, things that we learned, and we share that with our audience, and they learn a lot from it, so that’s really cool.
Dr. Fox: Where did you guys grow up, if I may ask?
Jackie: So we grew up…
Dr. Fox: Although I know I may ask, because you guys share everything on your podcast.
Dr. Fox: It’s pretty detailed.
Jackie: It’s pretty detailed. We grew up on Long Island, but we moved to the city when Claudia was in middle school, and I was in high school. So like, half and half, five towns, and New York City.
Dr. Fox: Okay. And how many of you are there?
Jackie: There’s four of us, and we’re all girls.
Dr. Fox: Wow.
Jackie: And like, between my older sister and I, one year, between me and Claudia, two years, between Claudia and Margo, three years.
Dr. Fox: Right. And you guys are all Ramaz grads?
Dr. Fox: How about that? See, that’s our connection number one, I married into a Ramaz family. I myself am not of the elite Ramaz graduates, nor probably would I have been allowed into the school at any point in my childhood. But I married into them, so I really got some of that power and fame through marriage. It’s wonderful.
Jackie: Is that what Ramaz is to…?
Dr. Fox: Yeah, the Harvard of preschools.
Jackie: That’s funny.
Dr. Fox: And then, you know, my wife worked at Ramaz for, whatever, 150 years as a school psychologist. Was she your school psychologist?
Jackie: I don’t think so.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: I feel like we’ve compared timelines.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, you’re probably slightly too old for that.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, sorry. Or she’s very too old for that. How about that?
Dr. Fox: Sorry…I’m sure she’s listening. Sorry about that [inaudible 00:06:31]
Okay, so you grew up in New York, and then where’d you go off after that? You went to school of some sort?
Jackie: I did, I went to college. I went to Colgate University, which is in upstate New York.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: Kind of a curveball. I’m the second of the four of us. My older sister went to NYU, I went to Colgate, and then my younger sisters wound up going to NYU also. So it’s weird that I didn’t. But you know, as it was happening, Olivia chose her school, I chose my school, and then Claudia and Margo just chose the same as Olivia. But it seems like I couldn’t get in or something. But we debate about what’s a better school, and you know, they’re not on the same list, because one’s liberal arts and one’s a university, so we can’t actually get to brass tacks about which is a better school.
But I went to Colgate, which is upstate New York. It’s very small, remote, which is what I wanted, and I loved it. Then I moved back to the city when I graduated, and I started working in corporate social media. So when I was in college, the word “influencer” was not a thing yet, but I was always, like, interested in social media. Like, I just, you know, I like to talk, and people think I’m funny, and I just have, like…you know, I’m myself, and so social media was always, like, a really good outlet for me. Like first it was Twitter, and then it was Instagram, then Snapchat, and I just always, like, brought myself to every platform, as I am. And I wanted that to translate into a corporate job. Like, I wanted to do social media for corporate accounts, not necessarily, like, making myself a social media star, because that really wasn’t a thing.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: So I held a few jobs when I lived in New York after college that were, like, social media management for big companies, and after a few years of doing that, my sister, Claudia, and I, and Claudia is also…at that point, Claudia was also into social media. She was a really big influencer on Instagram.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Jackie: So she had a really big audience. I had, like, a mini, what are…now they’re called micro-influencers, which is a nice word for people with a small following.
Dr. Fox: All right, that would make me a micro, micro, micro…
Jackie: You’re totally a micro influencer.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: But in a good way, like, because your community is so niche…
Dr. Fox: Okay. Fair.
Jackie: …to the medical world. Also, like, you don’t make your living around being an influencer, so it’s like, it doesn’t…
Dr. Fox: Got it. Well, I’d be broke, so yeah.
Jackie: Right, so it like, doesn’t matter.
Dr. Fox: Okay. Well, I like… That’s such a great term. Okay, fine.
Jackie: Right. Isn’t that funny…?
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: So after a few years of, like, working in the corporate world, Claudia and I decided, it’s like, a long backstory, but we started a… We wanted to start, like, a millennial morning show that would be like live streamed, that would be like a social media show. We’re obsessed with the idea of morning shows, so, you know…
Dr. Fox: Why?
Jackie: Because of this movie that we love called “Morning Glory” with Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford.
Dr. Fox: Okay. I’ve never seen it.
Dr. Fox: And I’ve seen a lot of movies. I’m a movie guy.
Jackie: It’s really good.
Dr. Fox: All right.
Jackie: I think you would like it.
Dr. Fox: Okay. What’s your favorite morning show, beforehand?
Jackie: Oh, I don’t even watch morning shows, by the way. I just love this movie.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Jackie: But I just…like, we love the energy, the idea of morning shows, like, the energy, and there’s no millennial version of that, you know? They’re all pretty much the same. So we’re like, let’s do…
Dr. Fox: Right, they’re usually geared towards, like, middle-aged…whatever, people who are at home in the mornings, I guess. I have no idea.
Jackie: Yeah. And they’re at like 6 a.m.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: We’re not up watching them. So our thing was, like, to start at 10:30, and we streamed it live on Facebook…wherever you could go live, Instagram you can go live. So it was just meant to be, like, digital and fun. And we did, like, a few shows, and people were really, our audience, existing audience, like from being influencers, were really…
Dr. Fox: Right. And Claudia was…it’s called “Girl With No Job?”
Jackie: Yes, her…
Dr. Fox: What was that…do you know what the sort of etymology of that is?
Jackie: Yes. If you want to know, it’s a long story, you’ve got to get her on. But basically, she was interning in the city, and she was like, having, you know, her experience and she wanted to share, so she started an account called “Girl With A Job,” where she would, like, have musings about what it was like to be an intern in the fashion world. And then she either was fired or quit the job, so then she became “Girl With No Job.
Dr. Fox: Ah, okay.
Jackie: And then, once she was “Girl With No Job,” and was posting different stuff, not about, like, the working world, and she was posting a lot of memes, and like, humorous content, she took off, and she took off as a “Girl With No Job.”
Dr. Fox: I see. And that’s when you two came together to start this… I mean, she already had the “Girl With No Job” following…
Jackie: She already had the “Girl With No Job” following, and she probably had a million followers by then…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Wow.
Jackie: …and so we were, like… And podcasting was, like, a very…it was happening. It was small. It wasn’t like everyone you know has a podcast yet, there were like, the big podcasting shows. We didn’t listen to any podcasts. When we started our show, it was not a podcast. It was live streamed on video, Facebook, Instagram. And after a few episodes, people were enjoying it, they were like, this would make a good podcast. And we already were recording audio into microphones, so we were like, okay, well, we could just upload it, like, to SoundCloud. It’s easy and free, and if that’s how you guys want to listen to it, it’s no skin off our backs.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: We wanted to be everywhere people are.
Dr. Fox: Sure.
Jackie: So sure, we’ll upload it everywhere. And it really took off as a podcast, and over the years, we still do our video, and it’s important to us, and our YouTube community is really strong, but over the years, we have perfected our art of podcasting.
Dr. Fox: Mm, okay. So you’re… When did you realize that this is a thing, like, we’re doing this, like, this is going to be my career, this is going to be my daily thing? As opposed to just, like, let’s do this because it’s cool.
Jackie: So the way that it happened for us is interesting. There’s a lot of backstory. But when we first started that show, like the morning show for millennials, we were working at a big media company, and we started it within that media company. So there wasn’t pressure for it to be successful… Well, yes, to be successful, but in the terms of, like, advertisers, or the show making money. Because we were getting paid salaries from the media company, and they just wanted, like, us to grow our audience, but there weren’t, like, revenue deliverables really yet. So we had sort of the freedom to figure it out, without, you know, worrying about getting advertisers and all of that stuff.
So we did the show for about 10 months at this media company, which everyone knows this story…except for Dr. Fox. This isn’t like, tea.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: So we did it within the media company. I remember we only recorded one ad one time, because like, a brand had reached out. It wasn’t like we were adverse to ads, it just wasn’t necessary. That wasn’t the goal of our show within the company. They wanted just, like, us to build an audience. So then about, like, 10 months into doing that show, we were utterly and thoroughly canceled by all of the whole world, fired, you know, out on our ears.
Dr. Fox: Cancelled, like cancel culture cancelled?
Jackie: Cancel culture cancelled.
Dr. Fox: Oh, you were hashtagged?
Jackie: Yeah. You don’t know that, like, I’m a cancelled person?
Dr. Fox: No. You… I think it’s astounding how little I know.
Dr. Fox: You could fill a semi with everything I don’t know, especially about this world. So assume I am, like, a grandparent, right?
Jackie: Okay, yeah. No, like, so that’s what I’m doing. So we were cancelled, we were fired, our show was cancelled, we’re out on our ears’, we’re obviously devastated for a million reasons, but we also needed to, like, get a job.
Dr. Fox: Right. But you had all these followers.
Jackie: We had…
Dr. Fox: Like, you weren’t cancelled by your listeners.
Jackie: Some. Some left.
Dr. Fox: Some, okay.
Jackie: But there were a lot of people who, like, knew, you know, who we are, and that we’re good people, and that, like, we were sorry, and were sticking by us. So Claudia and I, I think we took, like, two weeks off to just, like, grieve, basically, and then we were like, okay, well, what are we going to do? We’re going to do our show on our own. We’re going to bring it back, you know, we’ll do a new name, we’ll find a new studio, we will pay for everything until we can start making money And I think we gave ourselves maybe six months to do it, and if we weren’t making a living, then we would go get jobs. That was kind of the thinking.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Right.
Jackie: Within… Like, our first show back was really, you know, popular, like more listeners or viewers than even our last show of the old show. But also because people were interested, like, what are the girls going to do? Like, haters were interested, too. It was…
Dr. Fox: Right. You know, in a certain sense, getting cancelled almost is…it’s free press, you know?
Jackie: Yeah, it was. And it’s not like we were getting a lot of press before we were canceled, and all of a sudden wall-to-wall coverage for us.
Dr. Fox: Right, right.
Jackie: These girls, who no one’s ever heard about, and we were just, like, doing our little rinky-dink show.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: So we started…
Dr. Fox: The hashtag? The hashtag.
Jackie: The hashtag, yeah, #OshrysAreOver party. We started our show…
Dr. Fox: Maybe I should say something really insane, and get cancelled.
Jackie: Yeah, you’ll get so much press. I feel like getting cancelled, though, these days doesn’t hold the power that it once did, but then I’m also surprised when it does. And I’ll see someone, like, that did something or said something so long ago, it’s like, yeah, it’s not nice, but it’s like, not the worst thing ever, and it’s like, sponsors gone, brands…and I’m like, we’re still doing this? Like, really?
Dr. Fox: Yeah, whatever.
Jackie: Whatever. Like, so we started our show again, new name, we were renting studios from a media company…
Dr. Fox: And this is when you’re now “The Toast?”
Jackie: Now we’re “The Morning Toast.”
Dr. Fox: “The Morning Toast,” okay.
Jackie: Yes. And within a few weeks, we found a way to make it profitable through subscribers, and then maybe a few months later, we started to get some advertisers. Because, like, if you have an audience, advertisers want to work with you.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Sure.
Jackie: So it wasn’t always like smooth sailing, and it started really slow, but there was, I remember a time, probably when we started our subscription service, where we had enough subscribers, because we do have an audience, so we had enough subscribers to earn a living, and pretty quickly, it was pretty comparable with what we were earning at our former jobs. And then we just kept building from there.
Dr. Fox: Right. That’s amazing. Do you have a sense of how many people listen every day?
Jackie: Yes. That’s a confidential number, and I’ll tell you offline.
Dr. Fox: All right. But it’s high?
Jackie: Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: I mean, listen, as I said, everybody that I know who’s under the age of whatever is like, yeah, I heard you on “The Toast.” Like, and it’s just like, I was like, oh, my God… And I knew you were popular, but I didn’t really…I didn’t grasp it.
And I’m curious, I mean, we met, and we’ll talk about this in, I guess, your birth story episode, I mean, we met sort of just whatever, and someone said, yeah, you know…and I’ve heard of you, or someone said I heard of you, and okay, but you’re a celebrity. You and your sister are celebrities. Whatever the hell that means, you’re them. And the question is, but you’re… Obviously you’re just a regular, normal person, as you said. You grew up here, you’ve got family, you’ve got this, you’ve got that, how do you grasp that? Like, how do you deal with the fact that you’re still yourself, you’ve known yourself your whole life, and now you’re not just Jackie the person, you’re Jackie the celeb?
Jackie: Yeah, well, because our growth was pretty slow, I would say, compared to how other people kind of blow up overnight, we never had a moment like that, like a viral moment where our audience doubled. Like, every single day, like, it grew very slowly, but I think also healthfully. Because I think people who blow up overnight on TikTok, like, they really struggle with like, one day being one person, and then the next week, like, you can’t go anywhere without people knowing who you are. Like, that’s a shock to the system.
For us, it’s been so gradual that we’ve had time to get used to it over the years. And also, the way that our “fame,” or like, the way that people know us, it’s like Claudia and I sit in our studio and we talk to each other for an hour a day, and we upload it, but it’s really just us talking. And it’s like all these people hear it, but it’s not like our studio audience got bigger, and we moved to a bigger studio, and… It’s all so virtual that it’s easy to forget that people are listening. Which I think also helps, like, our content, because we don’t get too hung up on what people are going to think. But the nature of our work is just so digital that you don’t see hordes of people, you know?
Dr. Fox: Mm. Yeah, I think that’s fair. What part of this life is fun, the cool part?
Jackie: Ooh, that’s a great question. A lot of, like, good, you know, PR packages is what they’re called, like brands will send you, like, their new product, when someone that you really like or admire listens to the show and loves it, and like, that’s so cool, like, some… And then you have, like, some influential friends, you get some good tea, that’s always fun.
But for me, in this era of my life, my favorite…the coolest part about what we do is how it allows me to be so flexible in my schedule, and like, be able to be a working, like, full-time working full-time mom.
Dr. Fox: That’s pretty cool. Yeah.
Jackie: Yeah. And that’s something, like, I don’t take for granted. So maybe a few years ago it was like, you know, dinners, or a free meal here, like, cool stuff like that, meeting celebrities and whatnot, going to events. But now it’s like, wow, this is a dream, that I get to work, and do something that I love and that I’m passionate about, and it gets me up every day, putting on a face of makeup, like, feeling like a human being even though, you know, also a cow, breastfeeding my son.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: So like, really, it gives me a lot of structure in my day, and a lot of balance between, like, family life and working life.
Dr. Fox: Right. It must be so amazing, that you get to basically do this with your sister.
Jackie: Yeah. I couldn’t do it with anyone else. I think that also is what grounds us, is doing it together.
Dr. Fox: You know each other’s secrets.
Jackie: We know each other’s secrets, we know the other’s not going anywhere, and we also… Like, it just feels like how it’s always…like growing up. Like, it’s not like things, like, change, you know? It’s just me and Claudia sitting on the couch, talking, which is what we would have done when we were eight years old.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. I was sort of thinking about it, and I think what’s kind of neat about the format, and the way you do it is since, again, you’re not there, you’re not in news media, you’re not entertainers, like, you’re not, like, singing for people, and putting on…you know, and I know you’re an author now, so that’s separate.
Dr. Fox: But you’re just, you’re talking to each other about each other’s lives, and I think what’s pretty cool is you have this massive audience, but it’s almost like you’re getting all these new friends.
Dr. Fox: Like, the people who want to know what’s going on in your life, it’s… I mean, it’s a little bit, you know, what was the movie with Jim Carrey, you know…
Jackie: “The Truman Show.”
Dr. Fox: Yeah. So I mean, it’s a little like that.
Dr. Fox: But you know about it, and you get to share with people, and I assume you get a ton of feedback from them, right?
Jackie: Yeah, we do. And I always say, like, the Toasters, the way I feel about the Toasters, it’s like wherever I would have lived in the country, like, the people who are there who are Toasters are the people that would have been my friends had I grown up in Kansas, or Georgia… Like, it’s just people who, you know, don’t know each other because of, like, geographical reasons. But like, we all have the same, like, neshama, almost.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: And that’s really cool. So whenever we’ve done events, or Claudia went on tour, we did our Camp Toast, which was, like, how the book got started. But then the crowd, like, realizes that about each other, and people have become lifelong friends through the show, and like, through events that we’ve put on, and through, like, communities. We like, have Facebook groups for our listeners, which has…you know, there’s been a roller coaster with that. But a lot of Toasters, like, have kind of, like, they’ll do a Facebook group for, like, Toasters who live in Nashville, and then people will find roommates that way. And like, you just know that that person you’re talking to, like, you’re probably getting it along, because, like, if you like “The Toast,” like, we’re the same kind of person. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: Share an interest. Yeah. That’s so interesting. Are there any parts of your celeb that’s annoying? I mean, like, you know, do you have, like, paparazzi following you around, and like, trying to get pictures of your kids, and you know what I mean, just things like that?
Jackie: No. No. Like, it really lets us be so normal.
Dr. Fox: That’s pretty cool.
Dr. Fox: That’s really nice. Now, when did you decide to write a book?
Jackie: So I… The story of “The Camper and the Counselor” is a story that’s been, like, living in my head for five years, because in 2018 we did an event for our listeners called Camp Toast. Because Claudia and I are always talking about camp, how we love it, and we’ve had a lot of listeners who have never been to camp. They’re like, what are you guys always talking about at this camp?
Dr. Fox: Jews go to camp.
Dr. Fox: Our parents send us away. They don’t want us in the summers.
Jackie: No. Now that I talk about camp so much, like, on different podcasts, like, I’m starting to realize, like, it’s pros and cons. Like, as a child, a former child, I’m like, wait, they sent us away for a long time… As a current parent, I’m like, oh, wow, two weeks…two months off, where we going? Like, how we living?
Dr. Fox: Where did you go to camp?
Jackie: I went to Camp Vega in Maine for six summers, and then we went to Camp Pocono Trails, in the Poconos, and I was a camper there for two summers, and a counselor for maybe five. And that was a fat camp, which is a whole other episode. Which is…we could do a third episode about that.
But anyways, back to the story. So Claudia and I are always talking about camp, and then we were like, what if we put on a camp event for our listeners? We know our old camp, Pocono Trails, the grounds were rented from a place called Pocono Valley Resort, so it’s like, why can’t we rent the grounds for a weekend? So we did, and we put on two Camp Toast events. But while we were at Camp Toast, my little sister, Margo, she came in one morning, like, dressed full counselor style. And I…
Dr. Fox: You don’t call her Margo. What do you call her?
Dr. Fox: Snitch. All right, I thought it was schnitzel, but I got…
Jackie: That’s good, too. That’s cute.
Dr. Fox: I was like, why do they call her schnitzel? Snitch, okay.
Jackie: We call her snitch.
Dr. Fox: Why? Did she tell on you once?
Dr. Fox: Oh. Okay.
Jackie: It’s not about snitchery, which is so confusing. It’s just, like, a nickname that kept, yeah, evolving until it landed on snitch.
Dr. Fox: Beautiful. Okay.
Jackie: And then, that…
Dr. Fox: I don’t want to know where it started, because I’ve got some rhyming words.
Jackie: Yeah, it’s… Oh, no, not even that. No, you wouldn’t even… I can’t even, like…
Dr. Fox: I understand.
Jackie: …talk about the origins of nicknames without sounding like…
Dr. Fox: I get it. No, that’s how nicknames go. They have nothing to do with one another, yeah.
Jackie: No rhyme or reason.
Dr. Fox: Okay, fine.
Jackie: So she came into the bunk one morning at Camp Toast, and she looked like such a counselor.
Dr. Fox: Right. Now explain to me, at Camp Toast, what were you doing that you had…you had Toasters who came, and like, slept in the bunks and everything, and played tug-o-war and whatnot?
Jackie: Came, Toasters came…yeah. It was a three-day weekend, color war, buy a ticket for the three-day weekend, sleep in the bunk, meet fellow Toasters, you could come with a friend, you could come by yourself. We had camp activities all weekend, we also had, like, a lot of drinking…
Dr. Fox: That’s unbelievable.
Dr. Fox: I would have loved that.
Jackie: It was so much fun.
Dr. Fox: I love camp.
Jackie: You don’t understand, we’re obsessed with camp. Like, our dream is to just, everything we do, we try to find a way to make it so that we’re back at camp.
Dr. Fox: I really am a Toaster.
Jackie: Yeah, you have Toaster energy.
Dr. Fox: I’m an old Toaster. I’m like a pumpernickel.
Jackie: Well, we have… A Toaster is like, there is no age… Someone who came to Camp Toast was in her 50s, and she was the queen of camp.
Dr. Fox: Oh, my God, I love [crosstalk 00:24:01.211]
Jackie: If we ever do it again, you have to come.
Dr. Fox: Oh, my God, you don’t understand how much I love camp. My family makes fun of me, they’re like, you would just go to camp now. I’m like, yeah, I’d go for, like, a month. I’d love it.
Jackie: Yeah. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: Oh, my God, mac-and-cheese, and capture the flag, and not showering for a week, whatever it is, that’s me. I’m in.
Jackie: There’s seriously nothing better.
Dr. Fox: I shower every day, all right…
Jackie: Yeah, no, but not at camp.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: So she came in looking like a counselor, so I started calling her Counselor Snitch all day, and I never stopped, ever. For the last six years, five years, she’s Counselor Snitch, and I’m her camper, and that’s like, kind of, like, how I’m always like… You know, I’ll call her up and be like, Counselor, I need counseling…like, I mean, just like the camper.
So for a few years, I just used to bother her with it all the time, and I also used to, like, make these little videos, or animated videos just, like, cosplaying, you know? It’s called live action role play, but that makes it sound like I’m mentally ill.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Jackie: And I would just make her these cute videos, like, where I’m the camper, and she’s the counselor. I always knew it would be such a great children’s book, and that, like, that would be how I wanted to, like, put it down on paper. It’s not like I’m trying to make, like, an animated series right now, like, this is a story for a children’s book about the camper and the counselor.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: But I didn’t feel, like, driven to write a children’s book until I had children.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: And when I was pregnant with my first son, Harry, towards the end of my pregnancy, I was in, like, hyper quarantine because it was, like, Omnicron running rampant, and I was like, nine months pregnant, and so I just stayed home for, like, weeks on end, and I needed, like, creative outlets, so that was when I was like, you know what? Let me take a stab at writing “The Camper and The Counselor.” So that was when I wrote my first draft, like, right before I had my son. I was in my ninth month of pregnancy. Then I gave birth, I didn’t, like, really come back to it for maybe two months. But maybe after three months postpartum, I like, went out and started to see how I could get it published, and that was…
Dr. Fox: Did you have an illustrator at the time?
Jackie: No, I just had the story down on paper.
Dr. Fox: Okay.
Jackie: So I could tell you about the publishing journey, which is kind of boring. But anyway, so I wrote the first draft in February 2022, and it is now October 2023, and the book is here.
Dr. Fox: That’s amazing. Now, did you always think you would want to write children’s books? Or just because you had this story about Counselor Snitch, that you’re like, this would be a good book?
Jackie: I didn’t always think that I wanted to…I didn’t ever really think about it. And maybe it’s something I would have done regardless, because I just sort of…there’s something about me that it’s like, that’s how…I could write another children’s book [inaudible 00:26:21] about Camper and Counselor, and like, you know, pull another story… Like, I just, I guess I’m a storyteller? I don’t know. But I also really like to write, so the idea of writing a book is not, like, the craziest. If you had told me that when I was younger, like, I would have believed you.
Dr. Fox: Right. Did you always know it was going to rhyme?
Jackie: Yes. Oh, my God, great question. That was so important to me.
Dr. Fox: Because when I read it, the first thing I noted was like, this rhymes.
Jackie: When I started, like, trying to sell the book, I got a lot of feedback that rhyming’s no longer in, “in fashion.” They said it’s not in fashion anymore. And I was like, I respectfully disagree. I read children’s…
Dr. Fox: Was this when they were cancelling Dr. Seuss?
Jackie: Oh, they’re always cancelling Dr Seuss. But that man cannot be cancelled.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: His books are too fire.
Dr. Fox: They’re…it’s un-…
Jackie: Like, the books are good. Roald Dahl also. He’s like, a big anti-semite. Like, I’m sorry, “Matilda” slaps, what are we going to do about it?
So they were telling me, like, it’s not really very cool to rhyme, and I just felt like, okay, that’s…I disagree. I already had Harry at that point, so I was like, I only read him rhyming books. I’m not interested in books that don’t rhyme. It’s not fun to read… Like, you want the parents to have fun, too.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: And the more the parent is into the book, the more they animate it for their kids. So in that sense, I’m really glad that I was already a mom when I wrote the book, because maybe I wouldn’t have stood firm on that if I didn’t have the personal experience of being like, if it doesn’t rhyme, I don’t want it.
Dr. Fox: Did you feel more confident doing it because you already knew that you had an audience?
Jackie: For sure.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.
Dr. Fox: Because I mean, otherwise… Listen, it’s an investment of time, an investment of money, whatever it might be, but it’s not as scary, I guess.
Jackie: Right, it’s a nice creative outlet to do something like that. But I felt really excited about sharing it with the world. And also, everyone else has known the story of the camper and the counselor since 2018, because it’s something we would do on the show.
Dr. Fox: Ah, okay.
Jackie: I always am calling her Counselor Snitch on Instagram.
Dr. Fox: Got it.
Jackie: So for the audience, like, it wasn’t a leap that, like, they had to know now, oh, who’s Counselor Snitch? Like, it was just the logical next step.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. That’s so cool. And did you have any…or I should say, you obviously did, but what level of participation did you have with the illustration, with the animation, or whatever you call it?
Jackie: 100% participation. So I found the animator on Instagram. I was looking, like, for animators on Instagram, because that’s actually a really good place to find people, but then you also have to find someone who doesn’t have a current project that’s going to take up their time.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: So the girl that I wound up working with, I pretty much, like, told her everything that was in my head. I sent her pictures of me at camp, because I wanted…
Dr. Fox: Right, because you’re the camper.
Jackie: I’m the camper.
Dr. Fox: Right. Clearly.
Jackie: So like, the camper, like, was old pictures of me from summer camp. Like, I sent her pictures of my summer camp, and we really worked hand-in-hand that, like, everything would look, like, how I had it in my head.
Dr. Fox: That’s amazing. How has the response been?
Jackie: So good. So people just started getting their books, like, one, two days ago, and they’re sending me pictures and videos of them with their kids, reading the books, and it literally brings me to tears. Like, I’m also just emotional right now for a million reasons… But people are loving it. And what’s so funny is that I’ve been reading it to my son since I got my first copy in May, and he loves it. Like, every time we finish it, “More.” It’s the book that we’ve read most out of any other book. And it’s not Mommy, you know, being like, hey, come read my book.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Yeah.
Jackie: Like, he sees it on the counter, he’s like, “Counselor…” because he knows it’s the counselor book. So he’s been addicted to it for a while, so I was like, I’m really excited and curious to see, like, other kids loving the book, and if they love it the way that he does. And I’ve gotten so many messages from people being like, you know, “I had to read it three times,” “I had to read it until they fell asleep,” like, “My daughter, who’s never brought anything to school before in her life, like, is asking to bring this book to school because she doesn’t want to put it down,” you know? Another girl sent me a picture of her daughter who’s a redhead, she’s probably, like, eight years old, she looks exactly like the camper, and she was like, “She thinks the book is about her.” I’m like, it is about her.
Dr. Fox: It is.
Jackie: Like, it literally made me cry. So the reception has been amazing.
Dr. Fox: It’s a children’s book, and so it’s not, you know, it’s not meant to be, like, the deepest thing on earth, but it’s…
Dr. Fox: First of all, it’s very sweet.
Dr. Fox: It’s very real, and there are some real themes in there.
Jackie: There are some real themes.
Dr. Fox: I mean, it’s real. Like, you know, it’s about separation, it’s about, you know, leadership, it’s about mentoring, it’s about love, it’s about… I mean, it’s really, it’s very, very impressive, you know? I read it, and I liked that it rhymed… I’m pro-Rhyme, just so you know.
Jackie: Thank you.
Dr. Fox: I’m definitely on the rhyme…Team Rhyme. But it was really, like, yeah, this is something, like, when you go to camp, it’s the idea of sort of like, leaving your home, growing up, attaching to somebody else, like, someone who’s not a parent, and learning from someone else, and making good choices, and all these things.
Dr. Fox: And it’s really, really good. I mean honestly, and I’m not blowing smoke up your butt, I liked it.
Jackie: Thank you.
Dr. Fox: I wouldn’t have talked about it if I didn’t like it. I would have just ignored it.
Jackie: That’s so funny. Yeah, I think it’s really heartwarming, and I also think it’s just, like, good and sweet and pure.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: And I feel like there’s a lot of stuff with kids that has all these, like, weird agendas, and I’m just not interested. Like, let kids be kids.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Yeah.
Jackie: We don’t have to put a subliminal message in here.
Dr. Fox: Right, other than you’re going to camp for two months.
Jackie: And other than, I don’t know if you noticed, it’s like, a little, like, anti-technology.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I like that.
Dr. Fox: Camp is like, put away your phones.
Jackie: Put away your phone, like, take a look at nature…
Dr. Fox: Yeah, roll in the mud.
Jackie: Yeah, roll…exactly. So if there’s an agenda there, that’s it. But I think, I mean…harmless.
Dr. Fox: Well, it’s great. Listen, congratulations. I think it’s amazing. I hope you write more, because it’s really good.
Jackie: Thank you.
Dr. Fox: And I’m sure they’ll be very successful in every way you can think about it.
The last thing I want to talk about for this podcast, and we were talking about this a little bit offline before, you have this big platform now, right? You have your podcast, you have social media, you now have a book, you have people who know you and listen to you. There’s responsibility that comes with that, whether you like it or not.
Dr. Fox: And how do you think about that? Like, again, you talk about light topics, right?
Dr. Fox: And you try to keep it light and funny, and entertain people. But at the same time, there’s real things that happen in the world, and there’s real issues. You know, we’re talking right now about Israel, and what’s going on and all the horrors, and you have all these people who come and tune in to listen to you. Do you feel like on the one hand, I’m just here to entertain, like, I’m going to stay in my lane, and do my thing? Versus I’ve got to say something, I’ve got to do something? And how do you balance those two? Because it’s a little both, obviously, but how do you balance that?
Man: It’s a little of both, and it’s definitely taken us years to find our sweet spot, and we have to be able to, you know, sleep at night.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: And we do have a platform, and we want to use it, and I feel like sometimes… And I feel like it’s important for us to realize that, like, first of all, every situation is different. Not everything needs to be treated the same. But Claudia and I have… The utmost important issue to us is Israel.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: And since the beginning, like, you’re not going to catch us not talking about or supporting Israel. Because it is so unpopular, and we’ve caught so much hate for it over the years, but like, we don’t care, because again, like, we need to sleep at night, and that’s what’s important to us.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: But then with other issues, there’s a range of things. Because then there are, like, you know, political issues that, like, people want us to wade into, and like, we feel so certain that there should be spaces in entertainment that do not have politics in them.
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: For me as an entertainment consumer, I hate it when my show or whatever I’m watching is, like, muddied, and becomes, like, divisive or polarizing because they bring politics into it. So as pop culture enthusiasts, like, we hate to see it happen for other people, so we keep our show politics-free all of the time, really, no if, ands, or buts. People would say, like, maybe Israel is a political issue, then that’s our one if, and, and but, because that’s how important it is to us.
Dr. Fox: Right. Right. And listen, it’s ultimately, it’s also…it’s your show.
Dr. Fox: So you can do whatever you want, and…yeah.
Jackie: We can make up any rules, and they can contradict each other sometimes…
Dr. Fox: Yeah, and people could choose not to listen. And I think that, again, it’s a decision. Some people want to weigh in on everything, and there’s pluses to that, and there’s minuses to that, and you can choose what topics you weigh in on, and not. That’s totally cool. I was just curious how you, you know, how you sort of figure that out, because it’s tough.
Jackie: Yeah. So for us, politics, off limits, never going to happen.
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Jackie: Sometimes, something will be so big and so noisy, and it’s like, how can you ignore it? And it’s like, so important to us that we do, and we’ve definitely gotten, like…not that we ever didn’t ignore it, but it’s easier to stand firm in that now because we know it’s the right choice for our show and our listeners, and that, like, we are one of the few spaces in pop culture where you’re not going to be preached to about that stuff, you know?
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Yeah, no, I hear you. I think it’s cool.
Jackie: But then also, there are things that happen that are not, like, political issues, that might be, like, humanitarian issues, or just, like, things like that, and we always try to acknowledge it, but then we also know that our job is to bring light to people.
Dr. Fox: Yeah,
Jackie: So like, we want to be like a ray of light, and it’s like, we know that this is happening, we feel devastated today, too. Like, you know, it feels so silly sometimes to, like, you know, there’ll be something horrible that happens, like a mass shooting, and like, we have to come on the show and talk about the Kardashians today? Like…
Dr. Fox: Right.
Jackie: But that…and we’ve been saying this word a lot on the show, like, that buoys people, you know? And it’s important to have just, like, pockets of joy, or things that lift you up when you feel so down. And it’s not to ignore it, or pretend like it doesn’t exist, but like, you need to be able to see the light sometimes. So we take that job really seriously as well, and even when we feel, like, depressed, we just start the show… And it’s the power of “The Toast. Like, even sometimes we’re having a bad day personally, like nothing to do with what’s going on in the world, and we sit down for “The Toast,” and within a few minutes, like, you really are able to…not forget, but just compartmentalize for a second, and like, have a little bit of a laugh, have some fun. And like, laughter is the best medicine, and we’re doctors, like you, prescribing laughter.
Dr. Fox: I love it. Yeah, listen, I…I don’t have the same kind of struggle, because A, I don’t have as big a platform, which again, I’m a micro…what’d you say, a micro-influencer?
Dr. Fox: Microaggression. No, micro-influence, yeah.
Dr. Fox: But also, this is a very narrow lane, women’s health and whatnot, you know…
Jackie: But I feel like, actually, do you ever feel that pressure? Because I feel like there are some issues in women’s health that, like, get a little thorny.
Dr. Fox: I’ve always maintained that I want everyone to feel welcome as a listener on the podcast. And probably the thorniest issue that comes up is abortion, right? And people have very, very strong feelings, as you probably know, about abortion in both directions, and regionally, in this region many people feel one way, usually, in others, another way, and I try not to weigh in at all on this. And people want me to, and I get it, and I understand their perspective, but I would hate if someone listened and felt like they weren’t welcome, or that they weren’t wanted.
Dr. Fox: Because I’m really… The goal of this is not to preach, the goal of what I do is to give information in a way that’s useful for people. So we will talk about abortion in a sense from, like, the medical side, or someone might tell a story about it to give a personal perspective to it. In either direction, we’ve had people come on and talk about why they underwent an abortion, others why they wouldn’t, and we talk about it sort of medically. But I’m not here to bring on people pro-life, pro-choice, to argue about it. It’s just, it’s not the space for that, because I don’t want to turn people off. And I get some flack for that, and I get some flack both directions.
Dr. Fox: But that’s what I decided, and that’s how it is. But..yeah.
Jackie: But that’s nice. There are so many spaces for that, sort of, and…
Dr. Fox: Yeah. And that’s great, and I think people should be passionate… Listen, I live in Inglewood, and there’s basically an abortion center in Inglewood, and every Sunday or Saturday morning when I jog by it, and there’s people in front protesting, and there’s other people in front volunteering to, like, sort of escort women in so that they don’t feel threatened, let’s say, by the protest. And it’s never been a violent protest, but you know, people… And when I run by it, and whenever I’m with someone, I’m like, I think this is awesome, I think that it’s great that we live in a country where people can openly protest, and openly support literally right next to each other, it does not break out in violence, it’s not anything like that, and I think that’s fine. I think people should be able to express their minds. It’s a complicated topic.
Dr. Fox: It’s very, very difficult to know what the right thing is. The reason people argue is because it’s difficult.
Dr. Fox: And I just think that I don’t want to be the one to push people away. I really want people to feel welcome. And that’s really the only topic that comes up, I would say, that’s quite controversial. I mean, whatever, you know, the home birth, and this, but that’s a medical controversy. It’s not like people are, like, fighting in the streets over home births, you know?
Jackie: Yeah. What about, I saw you did a few episodes about the COVID vaccine for pregnancy?
Dr. Fox: You know, it wasn’t really…it wasn’t controversial because I was just giving the medical side of it. I don’t…you know? And I always, you k now, I said this is what I think about it medically, and this, and people make their own choices, you know? If people took it, didn’t take it, like, whatever, you know?
Dr. Fox: I think I’m probably a libertarian by nature, I think people should make their own choices, and be informed, and my job was to talk about the vaccine, what it does, what it doesn’t do, what do we know about it, what do we not know about it, you know? I felt that there was evidence on safety, and I would talk about that, and that’s it, you know? Otherwise, people do what they want. But it’s one of our most downloaded podcasts ever, because I think people were interested.
Dr. Fox: And you hear all this stuff, and no one knows what’s truth, and I try to be very, again, evidence-based, middle-of-the-road, truthful, honest, this is what it is, make your own judgments about it, and I think people appreciate that.
Jackie: Almost the way that you would be like on an office visit.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, with patients, it’s the same way. It’s not my job to twist people’s arms, you know? Again, I think there are some situations where as a doctor, it’s my job to be more forceful that, like, this is the right thing, but you know, for a lot of things, it’s not like that. There was a lot of uncertainty with the vaccine. And so here’s what I think of the benefits, here’s the possible risks, and people make their own decisions. And I’m fine with that. Like, I think that’s great.
Amazing, Jackie. Awesome. Thank you for coming. I’m having you on again, obviously, in like, one minute, and we’re going to get to hear your birth story.
But first, like, I feel like I just met you in your career, but I’m so proud of you. I just think it’s awesome, what you’re doing, and I love it. As I’ve told you before, like, my whole family listens to you guys.
Jackie: Thank you.
Dr. Fox: Thank you for listening to the “Healthful Woman” podcast. To learn more about our podcast, please visit our website at www.healthfulwoman.com. That’s healthfulwoman.com. If you have any questions about this podcast, or any other topic you would like us to address, please feel free to email us at HW@healthfulwoman.com. Have a great day.
The information discussed in “Healthful Woman” is intended for educational uses only, and does not replace medical care from your physician. “Healthful Woman” is meant to expand your knowledge of women’s health, and does not replace ongoing care from your regular physician or gynecologist. We encourage you to speak with your doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan.
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