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Seated in one of the plush sofa chairs inside her recording studio (which she calls the “Dad Pad”), Alex Cooper, the host of the relationship advice and comedy podcast Call Her Daddy, recalls feeling “so much fucking pressure” to prove she was worth her $60 million, three-year deal with Spotify.
That’s because, four years ago, Cooper was sharing raunchy details about her sex life and doling out advice on blowjobs to early listeners of her show, embracing her label as the “sex girl” when Call Her Daddy launched in 2018 and joined Barstool Sports. Today, the Los Angeles–based creator is now the highest-paid female podcaster on Spotify and has become a sought-after interviewer for celebrities (like Hailey Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato) who want to be vulnerable on her show. Though Spotify hasn’t shared numbers, Call Her Daddy is marketed as the “most listened to podcast by women on Spotify” and, as a top-tier exclusive show on the platform, commands more than $100,000 as a minimum ad spend — a threshold that is expected to rise as her listenership numbers do.
Though Cooper hit the ground running, the transition to her Spotify perch wasn’t seamless. She spent the first season getting familiar with doing sit-down interviews (her father, Bryan, a former college hockey player and now an executive producer for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, gifted her an Interviews for Dummies-type book) and experimenting with new formats like video. She brought on experts for candid conversations about mental health and therapy. One of her most talked-about gets, in January, was a two-part interview with Jamie Lynn Spears about her relationship with older sister Britney Spears when the latter was still fighting to leave her conservatorship. The interview, which also happened to be Call Her Daddy’s first video podcast, was both praised and criticized for how accommodating it may have been to its subject.
Now, in the second season of Call Her Daddy with Spotify, Cooper, 28, is ready to step into the next phase of her life and career. “If season one [on Spotify] was about me getting comfortable being uncomfortable, season two is that plus me getting my audience to be a little uncomfortable,” she says. “I know they trust me, and I wouldn’t give them something I don’t think they are ready for.”
For Cooper, that means embarking on her most ambitious Call Her Daddy episode yet. Releasing on Oct. 5, the episode — which Cooper describes as a “documentary” — examines the reversal of Roe v. Wade and its impact on one women’s center in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s a 180-degree turn for the podcaster who, just a year ago, told Time magazine that she didn’t want to discuss her political beliefs and was hesitant to embrace a label like “feminist.”
Over two weekends, Cooper flew to Charlotte to document the experiences of women traveling to the city from other states where abortion has been outlawed. She connected with Calla Hales, the executive director of A Preferred Women’s Health Center, and interviewed many women who were seeking abortions at the center. “I would watch as the anti-abortion people would stand outside of the clinic as these women, a lot of them minorities, [were] coming to get an abortion and these people are screaming at them, calling them murderers, shaming them,” Cooper says.
The goal of the documentary, she says, is to make abundantly clear the real-world impact of anti-abortion legislation and how its ripple effects are poised to affect every person in the U.S., regardless of whether their state allows abortions. “I am a white woman of privilege living in Los Angeles, California, and I think I do know a lot of my listeners relate more to me than maybe what I’m showing in this documentary. And that’s why it’s so important for me to show this, because this should affect every single woman in America and it is eventually going to,” she says.
Cooper doesn’t go so far as to tell listeners what to do, aside from a call-to-action for her fans to vote and understand the urgency behind exercising their right to do so. But it’s the beginning of a new era for the Call Her Daddy host who, while still embracing conversations about relationships and sex, feels the weight of her massive platform.
“I would feel like an absolute poser if I did not put the show on the line and speak up about something that I wholeheartedly believe needs to be highlighted,” she says.
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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