Incredible Women

Bestselling Writer Lisa Taddeo Is Our Final Guest On The Incredible Women Podcast Season 6: Champions Of Change

In season six of NET-A-PORTER’s Incredible Women podcast, we bring together a phenomenal lineup of women, all of whom are driving vital change to shape the future of the industries they work in, and beyond

Episode 6: Lisa Taddeo

We round off this podcast series with a writer who, in 2019, went from being a relatively unknown journalist to the name behind the year’s most fearless, talked-about book. That book was Three Women, in which Lisa Taddeo told – often in heartbreaking, excruciating detail – the deeply personal stories of three ordinary women’s love and sex lives, and their complicated relationship with desire.

Taddeo’s total immersion in the project resulted in more than eight years writing and researching the book, traveling across the US six times in the process (even a pregnancy and subsequent baby didn’t thwart her), and sometimes moving into the towns of the titular women in order to become part of their daily lives.

The author’s gutsy debut – which has recently been turned into a television series starring Shailene Woodley (Taddeo is screenwriter and executive producer) – laid bare age-old gender inequalities and society’s struggles with women’s sexuality, resulting in a work of non-fiction that is both a triumph and profoundly tragic in its relatability. She has since published her first novel, Animal, which details a road trip like no other; and Ghost Lover, a collection of nine short stories focused on female desire, grief and obsession.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER’s fashion director Kay Barron about drawing on fear, society’s problem with aging women, and the complexity of writing the female experience.

To listen to Champions of Change, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Read highlights from Lisa Taddeo’s episode below…

“Going into Three Women and talking to these women who had lost love, or just felt completely and utterly unheard and unseen in the world, I wanted to make them feel less alone – and I, in turn, hoped that their stories would make other women feel less alone.”

“I do spend a lot of time making sure that I go sentence by sentence to make sure I’m not wasting space – and wasting people’s time, frankly… There isn’t a lot of time, and there’s a lot of stuff out there to see and look at.”

“I think that strong feelings are so interesting. And when someone tells me they hated something that I’ve written, made or whatever, I’m not hurt by it.”

“Writing is one of the ways I cope with rage – saying it out loud, you know; saying the thing that is pissing me off is a really helpful way for me to cope with it.”

“Sometimes, I think that the best way of championing change is just championing humanity.”

Lisa Taddeo
Kiara Nirghin

Episode 5: Kiara Nirghin

It’s estimated that 55 million people across the world are affected by drought each year, and in 2016, a Johannesburg schoolgirl came up with a potential solution. Step forward Kiara Nirghin, who, as a 16-year-old, devised an inexpensive, super-absorbent material made from discarded orange peel to help soil retain water, thereby offering greater food security for those living in areas experiencing severe water shortages. The project, which she called ‘Fighting drought with fruit’, scooped Google Science Fair’s prized Community Impact Award and a $50,000 scholarship – an impressive feat for a teenager who conducted experiments in the family kitchen at home, much to her mother’s dismay at times.

Now 23 and a recent graduate of Stanford University, Nirghin has been named one of the United Nations’ Young Champions of the Earth, one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology, and is the youngest member on Google’s board. She’s also written a book, Youth Revolution, which looks at issues surrounding stagnant youth innovation and the lack of diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). To call Nirghin a wunderkind would not be an exaggeration.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER’s content director Alice Casely-Hayford about thinking big, the advantages of inexperience, and why trying is more important than succeeding.

To listen to Champions of Change, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Read highlights from Kiara Nirghin’s episode below…

“It [the Google prize] gave me the platform to encourage young people to think about solutions to the problems they’re experiencing and the world around them and how they can change it.”

“I started realizing that if they couldn’t answer the question, and if I couldn’t answer the question, there were tools around me to help me answer that question in different ways – and that was science… and now technology.”

“I think there’s this mindset shift for young women that not only do you belong in the science and technology sector, but you can push it forward – you can pioneer it.”

[On her book] “If there’s at least one young girl on the other side of the world that reads this and decides to open up her computer and research something that she is passionate about, or start an organization to do something that she is interested in, I would at least have made an impact in her life.”

“You might not be 100% sure of the answer, but you can still put your hand up and try. Just try. You could be wrong, you could be right, but being able to contribute is so, so meaningful.”

Episode 4: Liv Little

What does it feel like to start a media empire at the age of 21? It’s a question our fourth podcast guest, Liv Little, has the answer to: she founded gal-dem – a publication that turned the conversation around marginalization and under-representation on its head – while she was still a politics and sociology student at Bristol University.

Frustrated by the lack of diversity at her place of study, she made it her mission to meaningfully represent voices that are so often left out of the mainstream. In doing so, Little not only carved out a platform that sought to address inequality and prejudice in the industry through creative and editorial work, but also became one of the most influential figures of her generation in the world of media, writing and publishing.

In search of a new challenge, Little stepped down from her role as CEO of gal-dem in 2020 to pursue an MA in Black British literature, and was a BBC writer in residence in 2021. Her debut novel, Rosewater, will be published in April, and is a gritty meditation on how friendship can deepen into romantic love.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER’s content director Alice Casely-Hayford about legacy, the deeply transformational power of love, and her hunger for a very personal form of creative expression.

To listen to Champions of Change, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Read highlights from Liv Little’s episode below…

“I do think I’ve made a contribution to storytelling and the media landscape. And I do feel really proud of that. And this next chapter, I feel like I want my contribution to be writing things – for film and TV and with books – that make people feel and think things.”

“I’m a deeply creative person, and I had been running a business for so long, which isn't necessarily a deeply creative exercise… and I think I was literally craving some form of real creative expression. I needed it. I missed it. I wanted it.”

“My friendships and connections with people in real life… actually speaking and looking at each other – that’s way more important than social media. My dream is that I get to the point where I don’t need to use it at all.”

“Write what it is your heart wants to write, not what you think other people want to hear or want to see… and start from that place of integrity and honesty.”

Liv Little
Naomi Shimada

Episode 3: Naomi Shimada

Our third guest is the wonderfully irreverent Naomi Shimada, a dynamic force within the fashion industry who is shifting the dial by candidly speaking out against oppressive and unrealistic body standards and challenging the ways in which beauty is defined.

Having started out as a model, Shimada felt increasingly aware of the one-dimensional beauty ideals of her profession. These conversations around diversity and inclusivity, and Shimada’s relatable take on the world around her, found a passionate online audience, and she now hosts the Beauty Fix with Naomi Shimada podcast on BBC Sounds.

Shimada’s first book, Mixed Feelings – Exploring the Emotional Impact of our Digital Habits, co-authored with journalist Sarah Raphael, was published in 2019. In it, our relationship with digital devices is explored, with the focus firmly on how social media has created a new layer of perfectionist pressure on our lives and how we can better manage our online worlds. In 2021, Shimada took part in a TED discussion on anxiety and social media that has been viewed more than 270,000 times.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER’s fashion director Kay Barron about embracing change despite fear, connecting over the ‘messiness’ that makes us human, and trying to stay soft in a hard world.

To listen to Champions of Change, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Read highlights from Naomi Shimada’s episode below…

“I’m trying to be as malleable and as open to change as possible… I think change is something we so often fear, but everything we want fits in that crux of being able to embrace [it].”

“No matter what we look like, we deserve to be seen and loved and appreciated as we are, for the truth of who we are.”

“I’m creating the world that I want to see and be a part of, tangibly and in a way that I know how.”

“This is the work that I will be doing for my lifetime: really being able to connect over the things that make us most human… and I think that takes vulnerability; that takes courage for all of us to be able to connect over the things that really make us who we are.”

“I don’t believe the technology is inherently evil; the technology is neutral. It’s how we use it, or how it’s been programmed, that creates the ‘mixed feelings’.”

Episode 2: Leila Yavari

From fashion director to strategic advisor and human-rights activist, our second podcast guest, Leila Yavari, demonstrates the power of a professional change. She was born in Tehran, Iran, and moved to California with her family when she was a child. As a student, Yavari dabbled in modeling, but it was a career in fashion that eventually made her a well-known figure among the international street-style set.

Yavari was never short of academic drive (she has a masters in political science and studied for a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley), and she sees her career at the upper echelons of fashion as a distinct ‘real-world’ advantage to her work now in the environmental and human-rights space, consulting with businesses and non-profits as a strategic advisor.

She currently serves as director of development at Saving Innocence, an LA-based non-profit organization that focuses on the recovery and restoration of child victims of sex-trafficking, connecting these children to communities and celebrating their achievements. She is also an outspoken advocate for the women of her native Iran and is developing programs that support them in their battle for dignity and democracy.

To listen to Champions of Change, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Read highlights from Leila Yavari’s episode below…

“I’m really just here as a representative of the hopes and aspirations of the women of Iran, who are sacrificing life and limb as we speak – for the right to bodily autonomy, freedom of expression and democracy. I think they’re the real champions of change.”

“I would prefer for women to have an opportunity to thrive in this world. And it’s not just west or east; it’s not just some amorphous, horrible group of men in the Middle East who are holding women back – it’s everywhere.”

“Ladies, do not protect your abusers. I told no one for many years, and I silently disappeared. And I think it’s a shame, because I think I have a voice that could have been very, very valuable in that space.”

“It gives Iranians inside of Iran tremendous courage to know that they have international support and that we’re standing behind them, and that they’re not sacrificing themselves in vain and they’re not dying in the dark. So, the more we share their stories, the more courage it gives them.”

Leila Yavari
Este Haim

Episode 1: Este Haim

Kicking off our sixth series of the Incredible Women podcast, Champions of Change, is Este Haim, singer, songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. She’s also one-third of the award-winning, record-breaking band Haim, which she formed in 2007 with her sisters, Alana and Danielle.

Music was an integral part of the Haim sisters’ upbringing, and they were taught to play instruments from an early age by their parents; in fact, it was Este’s father who encouraged her to learn bass guitar. From the early days of playing 50-capacity venues to being nominated for the Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards – the first all-female rock band to hold the distinction, for their album Women in Music, Pt III – Este’s commitment to championing female artists and diversifying the male-dominated industry has been a constant.

Her work has also expanded into other areas of music in recent years: in 2021, she composed the score for the Netflix series Maid, starring Margaret Qualley, and she recently served as music consultant for season two of The White Lotus.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER content director Alice Casely-Hayford about taking creative control, moving the music industry forward, and the thrill she gets from inspiring other women to pick up an instrument.

To listen to Champions of Change, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Read highlights from Este Haim’s episode below…

“It’s so important to surround yourself with women who empower other women and support women and only want women to do well. And I think it’s a feather in our cap whenever there’s a win, right? It’s a feather in everyone’s cap.”

“What I love to hear is other women who have seen us play and are like, ‘OK, I’m picking up a guitar’; ‘OK, I’m picking up a bass’; ‘I’m gonna start taking drum lessons.’ That resonates the most with me.”

“I think Taylor [Swift] is super-inspiring – just being around her, I think it’s hard not to be taken and inspired by her and her work ethic… she’s just so prolific.”

“If something doesn’t feel right, but it’s an opportunity, and you’re like, oh, fuck… I’m giving up a lot here… I think it’s more important, especially in the music industry, to really be able to have as much creative control as you possibly can – creative control and control within your career. So, if someone wants to take a little bit of that away, don’t let them; stick to your guns.”

Champions of Change

Returning for its sixth season, NET-A-PORTER’s Incredible Women podcast continues to celebrate women who are leading the charge for change across the realms of fashion, film, music, art and the media – from inspiring activists to creative entrepreneurs, chart-topping musicians to award-winning writers. This season is entitled Champions of Change and features intimate conversations with the likes of singer, songwriter and one-third of the record-breaking band Haim, Este Haim; activist, advisor and former fashion director Leila Yavari; writer and model Naomi Shimada; journalist, author and founder of gal-dem, Liv Little; and Gen-Z technologist, inventor, environmentalist and bestselling author Kiara Nirghin.

Hosted by NET-A-PORTER’s content director, Alice Casely-Hayford, and fashion director Kay Barron, the intimate conversations give an eye-opening insight into the lives and work of these inspirational women.

Season six of NET-A-PORTER’s Incredible Women podcast, Champions of Change, includes interviews with Naomi Shimada (left), Este Haim (center) and Leila Yavari


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Listen to previous series of our Incredible Women podcast: The Rule Breakers, Celebrating Togetherness, Changemakers, The New Guard and The Disruptors

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