Morgan Absher is one of the most popular female podcast hosts in the industry today and that all stems from the success of her smash-hit podcast “Two Hot Takes.”
Although what began as just a self-described millennial with an overpriced graduate degree bringing her unique experiences to podcasting, Morgan’s sincere empathy and uplifting feminist attitude, combined with her media savvy and certified training in occupational therapy have lent themselves to the success of her wildly popular “Two Hot Takes” podcast, which has garnered a cult following in just over a year since its founding in February 2021.
Accompanied by her team of co-hosts and celebrity guests, each week Morgan delivers hot takes on some of the internet’s craziest questions, relationship dramas and problems, while simultaneously tackling deeper topics including mental health, self-love, and the importance of forming healthy relationships in all areas of listeners’ lives.
“Two Hot Takes” has raked in over 7 million downloads and counting in the past four months alone and boasts a dedicated subscribership of over 3.25 million fans across social media, as Morgan continues to prove her value as one of today’s most coveted digital mavericks. “Two Hot Takes” consistently charts in the Top 50 podcasts on both Apple and Spotify, and notable guests have included Tinx, Tefi Pessoa, Drew Afualo, Sarah Schauer, LaurDIY, and more.
Morgan’s path to podcasting has been unconventional, but the success of her show has been completely organic. Before long, Morgan began receiving an outpouring of support from her devoted listeners about how much her show has helped them with their mental health, relationships, bonding with their partner, re-connecting with families, preventing self-harm, promoting self-love and body positivity, and more, which only served to solidify her career-changing decision, and continues to fuel her love for the podcast today.
Check out my interview with Morgan!
What inspired you to start podcasting and then create “Two Hot Takes?”
Morgan: So, I was going through kind of a dark time, myself. I had just finished grad school and COVID was just starting to really get underway. So I graduated [Occupational Therapy] in April of 2020, which was the worst time to graduate. I went months and months of one, not being able to take my board exam and then the next problem was, I couldn’t even get a job in healthcare. I was also obsessed with Reddit. I think it was like the only thing I had for entertainment. I was like, ‘I love it so much, and my friends are sick of me sending them these stories. What else can I do with this?’ And so I thought, ‘what about a podcast?’ I talked about it for quite some time and my boyfriend got sick of me talking about it, so he ended up giving me podcasting equipment as a Christmas present, and I just started doing it. It’s the most random thing ever.
And you hold a doctorate in occupational therapy, that’s so exciting. Congratulations!
Morgan: Thank you. Yeah, it was a long journey and I’m so thankful I got through it and got done with it. And it’s crazy that I’m not really using it right now. I mean, it’s been a wild ride.
How does your education and your previous work help you with your podcasting career?
Morgan: I don’t know if I would have a podcast if it weren’t for going to grad school and becoming an OT. I mean, it led me out here to my boyfriend, Justin, who was a big influence in starting it but I also think it gave me a different way of interpreting information and trying to be more fluid and adaptable. Like, if there’s a problem and solution A doesn’t work, what else can you do to kind of come up with solutions? And so, I think, that’s kind of what we do on the podcast, we read these stories that are very one sided, you’re just getting one person’s writing from a Reddit forum, but then we’re imagining the ‘what ifs’ and imagining a million solutions and things like that. So, it kind of is the whole reason I’m able to articulate my thoughts and have a well rounded opinion on my podcast.
So yeah, you are using your degree.
Morgan: Yeah, I guess. In a way, yes.
You talk about many topics on your podcast, but what would you say are the top three that your podcast really hones in on?
Morgan: I would say relationship problems, I think, looking at how different partners communicate when they have these problems, I think that’s a big one. I find mother-in-law and in-law problems fascinating, so I like to pick those stories. And weddings, I think weddings and wedding dramas are also really big ones. The wedding season is approaching soon, so that reminds me I need to get my folder going for another episode on that.
How did you come to focus on these three?
Morgan: I feel like it’s kind of what is the most popular on Reddit. One of the first subreddits I found when I started really diving into the app was called “JUSTNOMIL.” And it was a subreddit that’s just meant for people with toxic in-laws to go and share their problems, this was something that really fascinated me, just the dynamics there and what people go through. So, they’re just kind of like my own personal interests and what I find fascinating because I am really interested in psychology as well with my background and my degree. It’s just kind of interesting to analyze these issues and think about all the different things that go into them.
What has been the most rewarding part of podcasting for you?
Morgan: I think the fact that it’s helping so many people. When you asked, ‘what are your three biggest themes,’ I feel like an overarching concept that comes across on the podcast is therapy and mental health and looking after yourself, practicing self care, and things like that. So, kind of from the beginning, you know, we started when COVID was very much, it’s still with us today, I mean, I don’t think it’s ever going away, but a lot of places around the world were in extreme lockdown still, and so the feedback I got was, ‘you’re giving me a safe place that I can turn to and it feels like I’m laughing with friends. You’ve helped my anxiety, you’ve helped my depression…’ I’ve heard some people even say it’s saving their relationships with their partners. So, I think the most rewarding part has been seeing how the podcast impacts all of these listeners and helps them or makes their lives better.
When you first started podcasting and really finding your niche, did you have any idea of how much of an influence you would have on people?
Morgan: None. None. I think one of the biggest challenges when I started this podcast was trying to convince one of my friends to do it with me. I just didn’t think I could do it on my own. And one of her things was like, ‘I don’t even think we’re going to have any listeners because like, is there really a point to do it? Like, it’s just going to be family and friends that listen,’ and I looked at it like it was my baby. So I was like, ‘no, no, it’s going to be good. It’s going to be good. Don’t worry.’ But no, I never imagined it would reach as many people as it has.
When did you first start to notice that you were gaining traction and that this was getting big?
Morgan: I don’t even know. I still am like, is it big? Like okay, yeah, it’s a little big. There’s that imposter syndrome sneaking in… but I think it was with the first couple of viral TikToks, I was like, ‘oh, the first one is just a fluke,’ and then I was like, ‘oh, no, okay. These TikToks are consistently doing really well. So okay, I think it’s landed, it’s found an audience.’ So I think it was a couple months after really starting and just seeing the consistency and how viral things were going.
You mentioned a challenge a little bit earlier, but overall, what has been the most challenging part of podcasting?
Morgan: Trying to balance everything. I think early on I really was pouring everything into this podcast, and I still am, but I have gotten better about maintaining a good work/life balance. And that’s not something I did for the first year. I worked every weekend. I worked every night. I mean, the podcast completely took over my life. And I was working an OT job on top of that, so I didn’t get a lot of me time. And so, one thing I tried to work on now is really practicing good self care and trying to set boundaries and not work as much.
How’s that going for you?
Morgan: It is a daily struggle.
Going forward, what are some hopes or goals that you have for your platform?
Morgan: I would love to partner with other mental health initiatives and other charities to really start giving back. I think mental health is a big, big concern of mine and living in Los Angeles, I mean, I see homelessness on a daily basis. So, I think as the show continues to grow, I’d love to be able to give back in really meaningful ways and start helping others in their communities make that change as well. I’m one person and I can only do so much, but if you can, within your community, each person takes on a little bit, the change could be huge. So, I’d love to start giving back in ways like that. And I think with that, have the show continue to grow and be as big as it can be and have the power to do more and help more people.
That’s awesome! I wish you best of luck with that.
Morgan: Thank you. Yeah, we have a whole nother idea for another show and it’s potentially like going to be called “Human But Homeless” and that’s kind of on our radar. Now is to start really like boots on the ground start working to make some change.
What advice do you have for people who want to start podcasting?
Morgan: Just start. I think mustering up the courage to just start and make the first post is the hardest thing. I know I talked about a podcast for 10 months before I finally even started it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. But starting is the hardest part and also I think it’s the biggest barrier, like what if it fails? What if it doesn’t do well? What if this and that? Just start. It’s obviously easier said than done, but you never know what is going to come out of it and it could reach a lot of people and you could connect with a huge niche that you didn’t even know existed. So just post it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
I agree that that is easier said than done.
Morgan: I talked myself out of a podcast every day for 10 months saying, ‘well, it’s not going to be good. No one’s gonna connect with it.’ And you know, we all have anxiety and fears surrounding making changes or trying new things and so it can be really difficult.
If people want to follow you or see more of your content, where should they go?
Morgan: “Two Hot Takes” on every platform: Instagram, TikTok YouTube; and then my personal page is Morgan Absher.