If you've ever wanted to watch an episode of Shut Up and Listen, the fictional show Lilly Moscovitz hosts in the Princess Diaries, then we have great news for you – actress Heather Matarazzo has turned Lilly's show into a weekly podcast. In the same way that Lilly unapologetically spoke her mind onscreen, Matarazzo uses the podcast (which is named, of course, Shut Up and Listen with Heather Matarazzo) as a platform to do the same 16 years later.
The podcast premiered on March 28th, and the episodes feel less like structured interviews and more like genuine conversations, with each episode featuring only one guest. As Matarazzo explains it, each episode is an opportunity where she can engage in honest and authentic conversations with her guests. Matarazzo herself is sassy and outspoken, sharing her opinions with ease in each episode, making no topic off limits. She’s more than comfortable with talking about “every single thing that you’re not supposed to talk about at a dinner party,” she tells BUST.
There are currently 12 episodes of Shut Up and Listen available for streaming on iTunes and Soundcloud; the episodes, which run anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours, have featured guests like director Lexi Alexander, actress Stephanie Beatriz, and astrologer Chani Nicholas.
“I love every single conversation that I get to have,” Matarazzo says, adding that she enjoys collaborating with “people who [she] feels are incredibly talented, have a strong voice and have a story to tell.”
When it comes to choosing these guests, Matarazzo remains selective. “I don’t want to have someone on just because they have a name because that’s not what this podcast is about.” For Matarazzo, engaging with her listeners and being authentic is more important than being successful. “I think that’s where the success comes from,” she says. “Whether they’re conscious of it or not, people know when you’re full of shit.”
The actress is looking to have candid conversations with people who are passionate and strong in their beliefs. For instance, she says she’d love to speak with Brie Larson, who most recently made a splash at the Oscars when she refused to clap for Casey Affleck. “Actions speak louder than words, and that was huge,” Matarazzo says, adding that she’d be interested in discussing the ways in which people in the spotlight utilize the power and responsibility they’ve been given. “How much does one need to 'play the game' to get where they are to create change? And then does the fear of losing that power keep someone from speaking out?”
Matarazzo doesn’t tiptoe around difficult topics or shy away from calling out other celebrities who don’t use their platforms to address important issues. For instance, she challenged Charlize Theron last month when the actress claimed that pretty women don't get "meaty" roles. She also made waves on Twitter after calling out Lady Gaga for her lackluster Super Bowl performance, which she mentions briefly in the first episode of Shut Up and Listen. “Beyoncé knew how to use her platform and Lady Gaga sang a few lines from a song and that was it,” Matarazzo said, adding that the tweet lost her nearly 100 followers. “The one thing I truly can’t stand is hypocrisy.”
Shut Up and Listen is a one-woman production – other than the podcast artwork (which was created by artist By A Person), Matarazzo does everything herself. This includes recording, mixing and editing the audio, booking guests and publicizing the podcast. Rather than constraining herself to seasons with a set number of episodes, Matarazzo plans to continuously create and upload content.
“I don’t get paid to do this,” she adds. “It’s coming from a real, true desire to communicate and do what I can in my own little corner of the patchwork quilt of the world to make a change and make a difference.”
Top photo via Heather Matarazzo's Twitter
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Elissa Sanci is a twenty-something writer who's now a grad student studying journalism in New York because she was reluctant to start the real world. Besides drinking too much coffee and daydreaming about traveling the world, she spends most her time writing, reading and complaining about the weather. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @elissasanci.