Actor Raven-Symoné has seamlessly transitioned from a child star to a staple in Hollywood after spending her career thus far acting, producing and directing. The That’s So Raven star is part of a new venture with her wife, Miranda Pearman-Maday. Pearman-Maday has a background in entertainment, previously working as a writer’s assistant and personal assistant.
With some convincing from Pearman-Maday, Raven-Symone agreed to participate in their new project together, The Best Podcast Ever, which launched on iHeartRadio last month. Each week, the couple is joined by celebrity friends, and instead of having a script, they begin each conversation by spinning a wheel with random words to determine the topic of discussion. The couple sat down with Blavity in a recent interview to discuss working together. They also shared who their favorite guest was and dished on their feelings about cancel culture.
This was an unexpected project to learn about. I just know someone who has followed Raven for your career. Now, obviously, you’ve done the talk show host thing already, so this isn’t necessarily new for you. But why did you decide to do a podcast specifically alongside your wife?
RS: Actually, I’m going to let my wife answer that because she’s the one who decided we’re going to be doing a podcast alongside me.
MPM: It’s true. I’ve wanted a podcast for a very, very long time. And this idea kind of started with our YouTube channel, and that was a lot more work than we intended. And basically, I was like, ‘Hey, let’s let’s do this. Let’s just make this podcast happen.’ And Raven was like, ‘No love. Podcasts? Don’t really want to do that.’ And I was, ‘Okay, what would it take to get you to want to do a podcast? Or what is it about podcasts that you don’t like that we can then put into ours? So ours is different.’ And she was like, ‘All right, cool. It needs to have a game that needs to be unique.’ And we came up with this concept and she said yes, and here we are. She just agreed to do it alongside me.
Miranda, you just mentioned the whole idea of Raven coming up with a game inclusion in the podcast, which I think it’s fun and it’s a different way of doing things. I think it’s probably like a bit more natural versus it being so scripted. Raven, why did you think that starting the podcast off with this whole idea of a wheel to dictate the conversation was important?
RS: I’ve been a part of a lot of interviews and I’m on my 37th year of doing so. But after the 10th interview of the day, you’re like, ‘Can I get a new kind of interview?’ And knowing that we were going to be interviewing people in the entertainment industry, and outside of it as well, but friends of ours, I was like, ‘Why should they want to come on and talk about the same thing they always do? Why do they feel necessary to talk to us? What’s going to make it different?’ And so I suggested things to add to the podcast that I would say yes to. I went into it with the idea of, ‘If somebody asked me on this podcast, I’d be like, No one’s ever done this for me, and I would like to do that. I would like to do that.’ And I totally just took the married me out and put Raven-Symone front and said, ‘If you could do an interview, what would that look like?’
Miranda, with this platform, are you nervous about opening yourself up to the opinions of other people? And are you relying on Raven’s expertise to help you through this?
MPM: No and no. I am. I’ve already been open to people’s criticisms. Honestly, here’s the deal: We all judge and criticize each other every single day. No matter what. You go to the supermarket and somebody is thinking something about you. Or maybe they’re not. Maybe you think they are. The point being is that if you concern yourself with that stuff, you’ll get stuck in such a loop. Being on a platform now where the world has more access to me or I have more visibility, I get more comments. But I’m not worried about it. It just comes with the territory of kind of just being a human. It’s just about being a human on a bigger or inflated stage.
So what type of topics are you guys the most excited to delve into? What do you feel sets us apart from everyone else’s?
RS: Well, that’s hard to answer your question because we don’t always know the topics. And I’m going to say we don’t always — we never know what the main word is going to be. However, we do have a little bit of conversation at the beginning of the podcast where either it has something to do with what we’ve been dealing with or a random question for each other. The only thing that’s certain in this podcast is we’re going to be talking about things that we don’t know ahead of time. We spin a wheel, it lands on a word, and whatever that word is we talk about it with our guests. So it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s interesting and it’s hard to explain what we are going to be talking about because we don’t always know.
Which guests were you the most excited to speak to? I know that they’re all friends of yours and they’re celebrity guests. Obviously, they’re in your world, Raven, but who are you excited to learn about on a different level?
MPM: Honestly, I was equally excited to talk to everyone. I’m not just saying that — it’s really true. Jojo, I mean, there’s history with all of those people, to be honest. So Jojo is definitely our friend, our little sister, our buddy. So I was excited to see what she looked like in a more professional setting, if you will. Adrienne Bailon-Houghton was so great. I love that episode.
RS: I worked with her for so long in a professional setting. We never really got to chill because we were always working. But having that conversation and really being able to give her her flowers. That’s another thing that we and I enjoy. … What we enjoy doing is the people that we have on are so amazing legends in their own right — they’re icons in their own right. And we are able to bestow love upon their career outside of when I just bestow love on them anyway — because I love them and I think they’re awesome people. But we don’t really talk about the industry when we’re talking with each other. We talk about real shit. So it’s, I think it’s everyone that came on I’m really excited about.
One of the things I do love about podcasts is that they are more unrestricted. Now, Raven, you have come under fire for certain views or statements you made before. How are you guys going about sharing your worldview and balancing this whole idea of cancel culture that we live in?
RS: This is not a live television show. If I say some crazy shit, they edited it out, plain and simple. Period.
Working together as spouses, what are you guys willing to share about your relationship on this podcast, or is this more so about you interviewing your celebrity friends and then maybe dispersing some of your own personal experience into that? And what would people be the most surprised to learn about you both individually and as a couple through this podcast?
MPM: I think that this podcast is mostly about Raven and I — and our guests are these wonderful little cherries on top. This is really letting people in on our lives, our perspectives, our views, our thoughts, our conversations. And again, part of why I thought Raven and I would be great having a podcast is because I love the conversations that we have. We typically have very different ideas of how something should go. We see different sides of the coin. So we’ll have these healthy debates. And I always took something away from them that left me going, ‘Oh, this is really interesting.’ Which then on a bigger scale made me think, wow, it would be really cool to have other people listen and give their opinions or have their own thoughts shift a little bit, which kind of circles back to your cancel culture question when it comes to conversations and topics.
I don’t really think that cancel culture is the best thing. I think that when people say things that are not deemed as okay or appropriate or correct, that is the best time to offer education. It’s a learning opportunity if it’s handled appropriately. If somebody can go, ‘Wow, okay, I spoke out of this place of ignorance, but I now am learning why what I said isn’t okay or why I have this belief and why I’m judging this person. And now I’m understanding that that’s actually fear in myself. That’s making me have this view and I can heal that or open myself up to something.’ That is the most amazing thing. So I want our conversations, whether they’re about what we ate yesterday or arguments that we have within our marriage, to be open and authentic and real. And I think that our listeners will, over time, get to know us better and better. It’s not like we have this set path, so I can’t really say to you whether this is what you’re going to learn about us or not, I think you’ll learn different things just by listening as we open up and share more and more or think more and more.
Now, this is obviously a major thing for you guys to be working together in this capacity. What other projects are you looking to add in the future as a couple?
RS: We have a lot of things actually in the oven right now that are behind the scenes as well. We are creatives. We have a whiteboard in our living room that has ideas spewing everywhere. We are really passionate about storytelling, about creativity, and we are diving into multiple conversations, which we can’t talk about right now. But just expect, expect some cool things.
And Raven, you’re always doing a bunch of other things. I love that you’re doing so many things behind the scenes at this point in your career. How are you going about picking and choosing what to attach yourself to?
RS: There are criteria, of course.
MPM: The check.
RS: The check. Thank you, wife. Checks also matter. But honestly, right now, I am enjoying freedom. If I don’t have to wear a wig for a role or project, that’s great. My way of thinking is, ‘Who will accept me for as I am right now? What brings me joy? What furthers the narrative of inclusion and empathy? And what allows me to transition into being more of a director in a creative behind-the-scenes?’ I’ve definitely had my time in front of the camera, and I’m not saying it’s over. I’m just saying that there are so many more talented people out there that I would love to steer and help and direct to create new content. I’m 37 years old, so I’m an old ass. But I think with my wife by my side and us doing what we’re doing behind the scenes, anything is possible. I can explain it more when things are solidified.
The Best Podcast Ever is streaming wherever you download podcasts.