Vulnerability hasn’t always been in fashion. If I think back to what life was like in 2010, or even five years ago, people were not talking about their feelings, mental health, or personal struggles in the way that many of us do today. Everything was a little more tightly coiled. But over time, we’ve realized that sharing helps. Pulling uncomfortable emotions, or toxic inner voices, out of us is freeing. 

Actor and comedy writer Alana Johnston’s podcast Self Esteem Party is structured as a lighthearted conversation full of sarcasm, hilarious one-liners, and lots of laughter, but at its core it is designed to get to the guts of how we feel about ourselves, and how that dictates the way we move around in the world. It’s funny, relatable, and feels like you’re eavesdropping on a couple of rowdy friends sitting across from you at a dinner party. 

Alana interviews comedians and other entertainers to explore everything related to self esteem: body image, self worth, self care routines, and the pressures that come with the arts and entertainment industry. She shies away from nothing. Her latest guests include Nick Wiger of the Doughboys Podcast, comedian Beth Stelling and Kris Siddiqi (Bit Players, Pretty Hard Cases).

Curious to get to know Alana, we reached out to her with some questions.

What made you want to start this podcast?My friends! It was their idea for me to start it and one of them, Scott Rodgers, even produced it for me when we first started. His encouragement and guidance made it easy to get things going and I’m very grateful for it. I’ve always loved the concept of self esteem and even wrote a comedic pop album of songs all about my journey in finding my own self esteem. So when it came to picking a topic for the podcast, it was a no brainer. 

What have been your three biggest discoveries since launching Self Esteem Party?

1. I’ve learned that my friends and I are more similar than I thought.

2. I love to gossip (after we finish recording I usually stay on the line with my guest to chat).

3. I have the ability to get people to talk about personal topics.

Having spoken to so many guests during the pandemic, what general observations would you make on how COVID-19 has affected the self esteem of artists/performers?

I would say the most common theme during the pandemic is that comics associate their self esteem and self worth with their careers. The lack of work during this time has made people feel negative about themselves. I also learned how important self care is and have learned that so many of my friends are growing and changing during this time as we all try to find new ways/reasons to love ourselves that are not comedy related.

Self Esteem Party Podcast is available on the Sonar Network. Check it out and follow Alana on IG at @theonlyalanajohnston.