These Gals Talk Everything From Doulas to Holiday Stress to Owning Your Life
Written By: Jane Adler
Photographed By: Peter Koval Directionally Challenged Podcast
Candice King and Kayla Ewell are just your average 30-somethings––and by average, we mean starred on a hit CW series called “The Vampire Diaries” and have amassed over 7 million combined followers on Instagram. But you would never know that when listening to their hugely popular podcast, Directionally Challenged. The vibe they have created with their two-season series is akin to a chat with a best friend over a glass of wine. It’s coffee talk meets spilling the tea, tackling everything from surface level to below the skin topics, sparking a sliding scale of dialogue that ranges from lighthearted to intellectual.
“Sometimes you just bond with someone, and you go through parallel experiences in life, and we found ourselves going through life changes together,” says King. The two describe how our society of contrived social media posts and snapshots of glimpses into a person’s curated life have created a false narrative, especially for two career-driven women going through the throes of love, marriage and the baby in the baby carriage in the world of entertainment. So they wanted to add a dose of reality to an industry that tends to lack authenticity.
Enter: the podcast. Podcasts are the ultimate vehicle to relay information to an audience these days. They don’t play by any rules––you can listen whenever; you can pause, play, rewind. It’s a no strings attached relationship. This is perhaps why there has been such a surge in their popularity.
“Podcasts can fit your schedule; you don’t have to change your schedule for it. When you need to escape or need a little bit of wisdom or uplifting, just to have that resource and be able to put your earbuds in––it’s a little bit like a friend,” explains Ewell.
Crossing over into their 30s provided perspective and an understanding of different walks of life, but this mature mindset came at the price of the blind confidence that infiltrates the 20-something stage. Directionally Challenged is the answer to the ever-present question, “What now?” This podcast aims to address everything you think you should know by now but without the ego of pretending to already know it. King’s thought of “If we feel this way, there has to be others that feel this way too” is the cornerstone of every conversation they have.
“What’s been really beautiful is we’ve been able to engage with our audience,” says Ewell. King coattails with this description: “It’s incredible what you can do when you’re not listening to the reasons why you shouldn’t do something. It’s just noise, and we do live in a really noisy time. Sometimes, you just have to jump in. The worst that can happen is you learn a big lesson and maybe you fail, but failures are often the most important thing to lead you to something great in life.”
When it comes to picking the right people to bring on their podcast, Ewell and King have had to adopt a somewhat self-serving mentality to best benefit their listeners. “We found ourselves initially feeling like we had to get certain guests, but then we realized that that’s not what we’re interested in. We wanted to find and figure out things in life that we felt lost in, so we bring guests on that interest us that we find in our local community or are making a difference on a broader spectrum. That’s what makes our hearts sing.”
It does take a village, though, as Ewell and King admit that they rely on an amazing team of producers, editors and collaborators to get the job done. But what started off as just a “let’s see how this goes” endeavor has bloomed into a catalyst for change with a cult following. Sure, they started this for themselves, but close to 3,000 five-star reviews prove that this passion project is one hell of a pursuit.
As for the future of this podcast, well, that just depends on what new life questions arise for the duo, but you can surely expect more honesty, less filters and the same amount of sass.