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The lascivious therapy of ‘Call Her Daddy’

Alex Cooper is everything I hate in a person. She’s funny, blonde, confident, loud, successful, a podcast host, and she doesn’t shower right after getting off a plane. She is everything I am not and wish I were—my reverse psychological classification—and I am obsessed with her.

“There are two kinds of people in the world: dumb smart people and smart dumb people,” he tells me as we drive through LAX airport. “About us?” I ask.

“Smart dummy, obviously,” she replies. A dumb and intelligent person, she continues to explain, she is someone without intuition about people but who “knows about books and things”. Smart fools, she concluded, are anything but. We’ll be flying to New York City for the weekend, a plan we made in the hope that if we were to fly across the country, we’d have no choice but to leave our respective homes. It was meant to be a refreshingly cold change of scenery from Los Angeles, where we both live. Autumn, people who live with the seasons tell me. It ended up being a terrifying 75 degrees and it was also, unfortunately, the last weekend of October, known to some as the dreaded “Hallo weekend.” Not realizing this until we were already 3,000 miles away from our residences, we resigned ourselves to another weekend of sweatpants and staying at home; there was simply no other option.

alex cooper and cazzie david

Alex Cooper and Cazzie David.

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Emilio Madrid

I knew Alex was famous, but it turns out that Alex is obviously Really famous. Perhaps the only person to ever achieve this level of fame from a podcast, instead of becoming a celebrity who later decides the world would just be wrong if they didn’t start a podcast. Walking through the West Village with Alex was like following Elvis: beautiful, adoring women throwing themselves to his left and right, yelling “daddy!” at the top of your lungs. But what I also observed was an unusual type of fan relationship. Alex and her listeners interact as if they were sleepover camp friends. Girls who haven’t seen each other in years and have much to catch. It took no fewer than a dozen of these interactions for me to finally stop asking, “How do you know each other?”

Unlike some celebrities who covertly fight for a cult fandom that blindly follows everything they do, Alex has managed to create a real community, one where she and her listeners exchange stories, advice and ideas. She is not selling anything. She will never ask you to spend her hard-earned salary on her new line of hair extensions. Her devoted listeners, also known as the “Daddy Gang” (a nickname Alex coined in the early days of the show, predicting it would make people feel like they were a part of something) aren’t afraid to give her constructive criticism, because she takes it as a champion. In fact, she has been publicly criticized on more than one occasion, and while this could cause others (me) to flee the country and assume a new identity, Alex has proven capable of reflection and possesses near-superhuman ability. to laugh at herself. She’s real with hearing her even in conversations about times when she wasn’t being real (wow… BeReal really messed up the word “real”).

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In September 2021, a TikTok account attempted to expose her for touching up the side of her waist in an Instagram post. After a few days that she describes as “slightly embarrassing,” she responded by releasing an episode aptly titled, “I Got Caught Photoshopping.” She doesn’t pretend to be above the things that we, as young women living in the nightmare of modern internet culture, get sucked into, but she also understands how important it is to talk about them.

alex cooper and cazzie david

Another weekend of sweatpants and being at home, plus taking these photos.

Emilio Madrid

According to a report by Demand Sage, as of June 2022, there are more than 2.4 million podcasts in the media landscape. Of those, there are probably a million podcasts titled something similar to Two girls, one glass of wine, each throwing in the same given comment about dating, like: “Girl, listen, if a guy is toxic, you need to get him out of your life.” Although call his daddyAlex’s raw existence has been ahead of the podcast curve for nearly a decade, Alex’s views have never been obvious or superficial. “As much as people say [Call Her Daddy] it’s polarizing, it was me trying to find a way for women in the world we live in, where we’re not just whining and complaining about the patriarchy,” she tells me. “Oh, you want the power? Here are a couple of tips to gain power from the inside out.

This mission statement still serves as a north star for Alex, and it’s partly the reason she’s not bothered by the legion of people trying to emulate her ascension. “I am my own competition,” she says. “I don’t pay attention to what other people are doing and I don’t consume other people’s content in order to maintain an original voice. When I started, I had never listened to a podcast in my life. I focus on who I am instead of trends and quick shots that won’t last.” A quality to admire in this day and age where fast-moving trends and endless comparisons live on a screen that’s permanently attached to us.

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cazzie david and alex cooper

Getting ready to go… nowhere.

Emilio Madrid

When I started, I had never listened to a podcast in my life.”

what difference call his daddy in such an oversaturated market is how deftly Alex traverses a wide range of topics. He kicked off season 2 with a revealing interview with Hailey Bieber, where she dove into the salacious tabloid drama of years gone by. This episode was followed by a human interest article in North Carolina, interviewing workers and women who visited the abortion clinic at the Preferred Women’s Health Center in Charlotte to examine the impact of Roe vs. Wade being overturned

call his daddy it has become a safe space for people to explore everything from sex to mental health. Potential guests practically run to the pod as their first friend to call after a major public uproar, while Alex patiently listens to their side of the story without judgment, a skill he attributes to growing up with a professional psychologist for a mother. “When I was younger, and still to this day, I would walk into my house and one of my friends would be sitting on my couch talking to my mom. Growing up, it frustrated me that she was so intuitive, because I would always know if she was lying. But now I feel so grateful, because she made her be there for me and my friends in a way that other parents couldn’t be.” Alex herself often approaches the interviews from a psychoanalytic perspective, making the listening experience feel like what one would hope to get out of their own therapy session—that is, if their therapist called them a “slut” and gave them explicit advice about how to masturbate

However, the constant line that draws listeners in week after week is Alex’s unabashed authenticity. She comes to the microphone prepared to offer her unfiltered opinion and lead an unrestrained, dynamic conversation, and with that, she offers a piece of herself. Her massive audience isn’t here for her celebrity guests or gossip, they’re here for its. “One week I’ll have a comedian and the next I’ll have someone talk about his childhood trauma,” she says, popping a Cheeto into her mouth and hastily wiping her fingers on her hotel bathrobe. “I have a loyal audience that stays with me even when I change my content. I don’t stick with what I know.”

What Alex seems to know is how to make people laugh. Many of his stories remind me of the Nora Ephron mantra that his mother used to tell him when he was young: “When you slip on a banana peel, people laugh at you. But when you tell people you slipped on a banana peel, it’s your laugh, so you become a hero instead of the victim of the joke.” For Alex, it’s sharing horrors like the time he threw up his dinner on her boyfriend’s dick, or when he went to the hospital in Las Vegas on his birthday because of a kidney infection he contracted from having sex with her. back forward. You know, classic Nora…

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alex cooper and cazzie david

Emilio Madrid

Cohabiting in a single hotel room for three nights is the sort of thing that can make or break a relatively new friendship. Troubling habits are revealed and questionable moral principles emerge. Before I left LA, I had asked Alex to put on his hood on the plane if he didn’t plan on washing his hair before we shared a bed that night. Fortunately, I don’t snore, as she said that if she did, she would “suffocate me with a pillow without any remorse.” Hoping to discover what embarrassing quality of mine or hers would lead to the premature demise of our relationship, I instead gained a full understanding of how unique the culture of call his daddy he really is, and that if Alex is a smart dumb person, he might just be the smartest dumb person in the world.

Photographer: Emilio Madrid; hair: Frankie Calire; makeup: Carolina Dali

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