Half Way There: A Look at ‘Opening Doors’ So Far

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past month then you may not know that September 9th marked the start of my latest creative adventure: my podcast Opening Doors. Every Friday, I sit down with a few guests as we discuss that episode’s big question, which can be anything ranging from Why Are We So Obsessed With Sex? to What Does Feminism Mean To You?

As well as the main series of episodes, I also launched the Footnotes specials to go alongside each episode. A new Footnote is made available on a Monday morning in which a guest from the series and I have a unedited 20 minute long discussion about any random topic we can think of, from dating mishaps to the contents of my old diaries. It was a fun way to make the series a lot more personal to me and much more light-hearted and I think it’s proving to be a success thus far.

So far, both myself and the changing cycle of guests on the show have had a fantastic time and I am thoroughly enjoying both making the episodes and getting feedback on them from everyone that listens because I really am fascinated by what other people have to say on different topics. It’s been wonderful to spend a lot of time with friends discussing topics that are interesting to us and getting to understand each others’ opinions properly and I hope it’s been equally as enjoyable to listen to. So, to mark the half way point through the first series of the show, I thought I’d reflect on the questions we’ve had so far and talk about how much fun I’ve had up to this point.

Episode 1 – What Makes A Good Friendship?

I really wanted the first episode of the series to be something that was deep enough to fill an hour of enjoyable conversation, but not so deep that it starts the series on too much of a heavy note. This question managed to do just that and my best bud Kyle helped to make it a lot of good fun. My friend Emma – who is also the podcast’s musical composer, performer and supervisor – also weighed in on her answer to the question, but from the perspective of someone with internet friends. It was light-hearted and fun and we certainly had a lot of laughs making it. The first episode also introduced a segment that plays into every episode called Grandma Time, where I ask the question of the week to my Grandma to see how her opinion differs to mine. This week, she discussed how the demand for friends shifts as you age and it was inspiring to hear how her life has evolved over the years. This episode’s Footnotes special was with Kyle and was all about our favourite TV, films and music which was a lot of laughs as well, but we did end up spending a lot of time talking about Miley Cyrus…

Episode 2 – Why Are We All So Obsessed With Sex?

I started running a Twitter poll last night from the Opening Doors Twitter account asking listeners what their favourite episode so far was and this episode seems to be coming up trumps. It seems as though a lot of people love listening to conversation about sex, which is fab because I had a lot of fun talking about it. This might also be one of my favourite episodes from the series so far because I sat down with my friend Sharina, my Dad and – of course – my Grandma to discuss the big issue. While Sharina and I looked at the media and the pressure on young people to have sex, my Dad and I discussed what sex education has been like over time as well as touching on my sexuality and his opinions on it: it was a bit of a tearjerker, I won’t lie. This episode’s Footnotes special was with Sharina where we discussed some of our biggest dating mishaps and it is still the funniest thing I have recorded for the series so far. I’ve found myself going back to listen to it again whenever I’m having a bad day and it never ceases to make me lol.

Episode 3 – What Does Feminism Mean To You?

This is my personal favourite episode because there was still so much more conversation that could’ve gone in to it if we had more time. I love that this topic provoked such detailed and well put-together responses from my sister-from-another-mister Abbie and my friend Verity on totally different yet very important opinions, and there is still so much more that I can explore with this topic. Both of the girls were fantastic to talk to because they are both so well educated on the topic and have so many fantastic pointers and ideas, plus both of them want to go into different future career paths which made for great conversation: Abbie aspires to be Britain’s second third female Prime Minister, while Verity is basically going to be bigger and better than Einstein could ever have even dreamed of being. The Footnotes special of the week was with Verity and we discussed our Social Awareness Council which we are starting at our school this week. It’s the first of its kind in Buckinghamsire (maybe even England, but we cannot confirm that) and we’re already looking at an Asian Pride Celebration as well as marches and events to celebrate Black History Month, International Women’s Day and LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Could we be the first school that I know of to hold an LGBT Pride march? You bet ya!

Episode 4 – Are We Our Bodies?

Due to a bit of a scheduling conflict when it came to recording, the guests for this week got shaken up at the very last minute which meant for some very interesting spontaneous discussion. I sat down with my friends Chaya and Meghan to discuss body shaming and acceptance in the Entertainment industry – Chaya focusing more on film and Hollywood, while Meghan focused on her personal experience in the dance and ballet world – while my friend Tiana and I looked at the impact that body shaming media has on teenagers and the pressures of things like eating disorders and makeup. It was a heavy conversation and certainly not an episode you’d listen to to put you in a good mood, but it was fascinating to hear all of the ideas that my friends had to offer. To lighten the mood, the week’s Footnotes episode was a look inside some of my cringiest and most hilarious diary entries from many moons ago and Abbie from Episode 3 helped me to shed some light on those darker days.

Episode 5 – What Are We Scared Of?

And that brings us up to the present day! This week on Opening Doors, I celebrated the half way mark through the series by having a roundtable discussion with my girl friends Amy, Maria, Savannah and Lucy where we had a light hearted chat about what scares us. Ranging from Maria being terrified of a movie where she saw a scary man to Lucy having anxiety dreams before her exams, I was fascinated to hear what terrified the people I spend every day of my life with and how stress can take its toll on us when it all becomes a little bit too much. This week’s episode of Footnotes isn’t available until tomorrow, but I can obviously share what it’s about: my friends Em and Meg sit down with me to talk about the kind of things that inspire us – from an artistic perspective and from a lifestyle perspective – ahead of their appearance in the main series in a couple of weeks time.

Going on the journey of Opening Doors has been fascinating from every angle I look at it. I really am loving putting this series together and to have it be welcomed with such open arms is such a fantastic feeling, I’m going to be gutted when the series comes to a close in a little over a month, but I’m sure it won’t be gone for all too long…

Listen to Opening Doors on iTunes here; listen on Soundcloud here; visit the website for more information over here; and make sure you follow on Twitter at @opendoorscast.

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