Alter Ego ★★★
I love people watching – sitting in airports, at the state fair, at work … I daydream about people’s secret lives, what lies beneath their typically buttoned-up exterior. I really delight in considering the possibilities. Is the portly, ruddy-faced, 50-something man with a dog carrier in the airport gate area a DJ? Is the young shy-looking woman in the wheelchair a cabaret singer? The podcast Alter Ego contends that everyone has an alter ego, some side of them that people wouldn’t expect or that doesn’t seem to fit their “day job.”
Host Athena Rosette conducts interviews with people brave enough to share all of their identities, and a few people who are interested in exploring another side. Episodes are typically 25-40 minutes long, which is a great length for an interview (when they go longer it can be a bit slow). There have been so many alter egos presented: a woman who is a mermaid and a rapper, a woman who goes to Burning Man for the first time, a Michael Jackson impersonator, a breatharian, and a man who sells fake teeth to provide alter egos to others.
I’ve described this show as intoxicating in the past, and I stand by that. One of the messages underlying the concept of an alter ego is that one can be anything. How freeing would that be, to not only believe that but act on it and be what you want? I’m envious of these people who are willing to explore a part of themselves in order to find a deeper spirituality, closer connection to the earth, or relationships with a completely new set of people. Especially in the United States, we are so programmed to get a corporate job and make money. With that comes an expectation of a conservative life with few risks taken. How much richer could our lives be if we opened up a bit and explored our desires, experimented a bit? We won’t know unless we try, and the guests on this show are really inspirational to me for that reason.
The interviews could be enhanced if Rosette warmed up a bit. I actually appreciate her desire to talk about alter egos as matter-of-fact vs. some behavioral anomaly, but sometimes the discussion hovers too much on the surface. Perhaps I haven’t listened to the right episodes, but I’d like to hear more about the guests’ feelings and emotions. Were they nervous about sharing their alter ego? How does their family react? Do they ever wish they didn’t have this alter ego? How has the existence of their alter ego impacted how they interact with their community? This show totally fits into the human interest category, and I lovelovelove the many sex positive and identity acceptance messages, so I want to see it succeed. Adding a softer side would expand the storytelling aspect of the show and could lead to more audience engagement. I want to be more emotionally drawn in.
Alter Ego has a great website (with beautiful photos) to accompany the podcast, which I always appreciate because I typically want to see pictures or learn more about the guest. The show has been on air for about eight months and publishes weekly–a great accomplishment. Listening to this podcast is be a great way to dip your toe into learning about the ways people live out fantasy, desire, and risk without having to take any risk yourself. And if you do enjoy an alter ego already, you’ll definitely love this show.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss! Also subscribe to my twice-monthly newsletter!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (3 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (4 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (2 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (4 / 5)
Humor (4 / 5)
Investigation (3 / 5)
Storytelling (3 / 5)
Makes Me a Better Person (3 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (3 / 5)
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Alter Ego website