Courageous Communicator, Actor Katherine Kendall
Today’s guest Katherine Kendall, is an actress most known for her roles of Dorothy in Jon Favreau’s “Swingers” and The Counselor in the cult classic “Firefly”. She is also a photographer and an artist. She was one of the first women to come forward about being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in Jodi Kantor’s article in the New York Times on October 10, 2017. Since then she’s been interviewed on CNN and several other news outlets, as well as documentaries. She’s been a keynote speaker, and participated on panels about emotional and sexual abuse around the country. She is currently hosting her own podcast called “Roar with Katherine Kendall”. It focuses on stories of courage and resilience. Today we talk about the lessons she’s learned that enable her to run a busy & healthy life as an actress, and as an advocate. Enjoy!
***CORONA VIRUS EDITION***
In this episode Peter & Katherine Kendall discuss:
1:03- Intro and welcome Katherine!
2:20- When were you diagnosed?
6:00- On learning how to prepare for work and the benefits of hiring out for help
9:40- On setting reasonable expectations and standards for your ADD or ADHD self!
11:30- What advice would you give to someone who is trying to come forward about something, but is afraid of what other people are going to say?
13:50- On “what other people think”
14:20- On the importance of good friends
14:40- Tell us about your podcast “Roar with Katherine Kendall”!!
17:00- On keeping it real on Social Media
17:20- Thank you Katherine! And thank YOU for subscribing, reviewing and listening. Your reviews are working! Even if you’ve reviewed us before, would you please write even a short one for this episode? Each review that you post helps to ensure that word will continue to spread, and that we will all be able to reach & help more people! You can always reach me via [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterThanNormal on all of the socials.
STAY HEALTHY – STAY SAFE – PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.. until next time!
17:45- Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits
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Hey guys, Peter, Shankman welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal, thrilled that you are here as always, good to have you! It is a hot and muggy day in New York city. It is early August. We’re actually recording this the day before my birthday. Uh, I will be turning 48 years old tomorrow and could not care less. So with that said, we have a fun, fun guest on the podcast. I met Katherine Kendall. Probably two years ago, maybe even two and a half years ago, we were both speaking on a panel about, I believe it was right at the beginning of the, when the me too movement first started gaining traction. She’s an actress most known for her, at least I knew her from her role as Dorothy in John Primroses’ “Swingers”
And she was also the counselor in the cult classic “Firefly”, which let me tell you, we got some Firefly people on the spot who love this podcast and they’re going to freak right now. She’s a great photographer and an artist. She was also one of the first women to come forward, being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein and Jody Kanter’s article in the New York times back in October of 2017, since then she’s been on CNN, several other news outlets, documentaries. She’s a keynote speaker, she’s participated on tons of panels about emotional and sexual abuse around the country. Um, I, I follow everything she does. She’s currently hosting her own podcast called “Roar with Katherine Kendall” and focuses on stories of courage, courage, and resilience. So live from LA.
Hello, Katherine. How are you?
Hi, how are you? It’s great to be here.
I am so glad you’re here today. It is great to see you again. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, being a podcast with ADHD and ADD; I know that you have ADD as well, and you’ve had it all your life as well. And I’m curious let’s let’s just sort of kick this off- were you as a kid, you weren’t diagnosed until you were older, right?
Yeah. Not until I was a lot older. And I think that what helped me as a kid was I was a ballet dancer. So I had this place to put myself like physically is where I excelled. And, um, you know, I was always the kid that didn’t want to sit down in a desk for very long. I never could sit at a desk and do my home and my homework, like I had to walk around the house, go, you know, just, I mean, you know, like even memorizing lines as an actor, I have to walk to memorize them. It’s just, it’s really hard for me to, uh, just, you know, sit, sit still and, you know, just be like a good student. Um, and it was, but I didn’t know that it [ADD] was a thing until I was older, um and some of the ways that also gets it happens for me is I’ll get like confused on, on dates or organizing things. I have to work extra hard, you know, my calendar. I have like reminders everywhere and I’m the kind of person they’ll be like, no, it’s Wednesday, it’s Wednesday.
And we’re like, no, it’s Thursday. I’m with it. I’m just not, you know, always the organized part is not always, I think, I think online for me.
That definitely affects a lot of people. I mean, we see that all the time. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve interviewed or even myself, you know, when I absolutely positively 100% intend to do something it’s in the calendar and 14 reminders. And the next day I’m like, crap. I think I was supposed to do something yesterday.
Do you have that too? I know that it affected my confidence later in life. I was like, this is not me that, you know, because people think it’s, it’s something you’re doing unconsciously cause you don’t really want to do it or it means something. And when you’re sort of thinking now it doesn’t mean anything; I really genuinely forgot. And then you feel like you’re not smart or something and that’s the worst- cause then your confidence starts to spiral.
There is and huge connection between ADHD or add ADHD and imposter syndrome, where you pretty much assume that the majority of the things you’ve done where you’ve been successful have, obviously you’ve just gotten really lucky. It’s all been a fluke, right. And there’s no way you’ll ever be able to do that again, because look at me, look at who I am.
Totally, that’s so true.
So I assume that as an actress, that must be difficult as well. When, you know, you’re constantly going up for roles and, and, and, you know, there’s always that, that potential that you’re going to get turned down or, you know, and, and that, that must ha how do you, when you’re ADHD, when your ADD a lot of times, you, you are constantly way too hard on yourself, how do you deal with it um, in that role where you con you know, you might get turned down into 10 times.
Yeah. I mean, that’s been a, I feel like being an actor has been some kind of life lesson to help me deal with, with exactly that so that I’ve had to teach just myself not to take things personally or what to take personally and what to work on and what to absolutely not take personally. I mean, with parts, you know, they’re not always hiring the most talented person or, you know, There’s sometimes they’re hiring the person with red hair or blonde hair, or who’s tall enough or who’s the right age to be the mother of that girl, or, um, and you have to kind of know that there’s so many other things that go into what gets you the job um, that have nothing to do with how well you did, you can only like- your part is that you can, you can control the work you do before the audition, but the rest of it, you have to learn to say it isn’t personal and it’s difficult, but it’s a good lesson to learn. Cause it’s a, it’s a life lesson, like not taking things personally.
And is it something that you’re constantly struggling with? I mean, have you mastered that or is it still..?
Yeah, I’m so much better. I mean, it is, it’s really remarkable. Um, I don’t think I had any concept of that when I first started acting and everything was personal, it always hurt and things still hurt don’t get me wrong, but I’m much better at sort of having a Teflon sort of skin about things. And, um, I also, I think. Yeah. The, the, the way I talk to myself about things is better. One thing I do the ADHD part also for me is the memorizing of lines. I’m like, yeah, they’re getting all that ready for the audition.
I, I, I really need to get myself more time than the average person, even if I’m in an acting class, I’ll ask for my, my, my scene ahead of time so that I can really, I need more time to memorize, um, so that I can do my best job. So preparation-learning to prepare is so been the hardest part. Cause, um, if I think I can do it at the same rate that other people can, um, I’m kidding myself and I’m setting myself up to fail.
That’s an interesting point because a lot of times. People in the workforce are afraid to step up and say, Hey, I need some extra accommodation here, but in the end, the extra accommodation allows you to do your best work, which allows the employer to thrive.
It really does. I mean, I’m, I’m still learning it, but when I see other people do it and they do it effectively, I’m like, Oh, that makes so much sense.
I remember I did a job and this guy had, he had an assistant, which I had not even heard of at that time, who literally just ran lines with him. And I was like, you know, that’s crazy! I didn’t know that you could do that! And I thought, well, that’s worth it; I would pay to do that. Like if that’s my issue and I need that once I’m on the, on the job that that has to be there, or you can’t waste people’s money and time by not knowing your lines. Yeah. Why not get an assistant, why not hire that out? And I was, so I kind of admired him for just calling it what it was and taking care of himself that way. So he could be awesome.
One of the things that I’ve seen, um, that I’ve found to be just 100% true. Um, everything I’ve done lately, since, since I was diagnosed, is that if I can hire it out, if I can farm it out, if it’s something I’m terrible at and I can pay someone to do it, who’s better at it than me.
That is always good money spent.
I think so too. I think there too. And I think it’s fair to not hold ourselves to this standard of this person who can do everything themselves. Um, I don’t know who that person is. Well in my life is my mom. She can do that, like a perfect person who can do everything. Like she’s never, she doesn’t have ADHD, she can read a book, you know, without having to put it down ten times, you know, she’s just, um, Can focus. She can all those things that I’ve had a hard time with, but if you don’t compare yourself to her and I joke with her about it, you don’t compare yourself to someone or some, some person who has sort of abnormal standards. Like, the rest of the world is, is flawed in the rest of the world is doing what they have to do so they can do their best. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we make it so difficult? Why are we trying to be like these wonder people that can do it all? I don’t know what that is. Do you think that’s like an old idea from, from our parents’ generation or something that you have to do everything yourself?
I think it’s partly that. And I think that it’s also the fact that we look around us and we tend to only see everyone else’s highlight reel. We never see their day to day struggles. Right? You know, you don’t post the crappy really bad at you post the you know, the best parts and you have to learn that that’s not reality. You know, it’s what I heard a quote. Once don’t don’t compare your chapter two to someone else’s chapter 10. Oh, that’s good, right? Yeah.
I’m sorry. Go ahead.
I was just going to say everybody has something that they can’t do, you know, like even doing all these Zoom meetings now and stuff, my mom is like, wait, I don’t know how to do my hair and makeup. I don’t know how to, I have to lead a meeting and we’re, I don’t even know how to set this up and how, Oh, you know, she can’t do everything, you know, it’s like, you gotta remember, like, there’s always an area where somebody is not their thing and you might have a thing where you shine and you can help them. I
I’m I’m I, what am I really good at? I’m really good at like riding my Peloton bike a lot, but anyway, let me, yeah, throughout the past five months, this of his nightmare that we’re all in. Let me switch topics for a second. When you came out in, um, uh, October of ’17 Jodi Kantor article about Harvey Weinstein, which was before his fall from grace, right. He was still king back then, um, perceived to be. And that was, uh, a really risky moment for you and, you know, personally and professionally, and, and, and I’ve read, I think I’ve read it somewhere where you talked about being scared to do it, but you did it, and, what advice would you have for people who are trying to come forward about something or just trying to tell their story and are afraid aren’t doing it because they’re afraid of what other people are going to say?
Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, I would say that for me at that time, part of it honestly, Peter, is being the age that I am, that I was, you know, I’m.
I was 48, I think at the time or 47. And I had lived with this truth about what he did to me for so long. I really didn’t care anymore. What Hollywood thought or what my friends thought. I knew that people that I knew in my close circle loved me and cared about me. And that’s all I really needed to know. The rest was just the truth, which is that he did it. And if it was going to help other people that helped me, like, I don’t know if I would have done it in a vacuum all by myself with the New York times, just me, Katherine Kendall, talking about it. But knowing that I was backing up other women that think my story was so similar to theirs and they needed it that did help me, but also knowing that, knowing in my heart that it was wrong, and then not caring, living too long to care anymore about where those pieces fall, because you know, if it’s like, if you don’t like me because of it, I just don’t care. I know it’s wrong and I can’t make it right. I can’t make what he did. Right. Um, I’ve tried to do that for 20 years and it’s still wrong, so I can, I can have that courage to know that like, um, that kind of emptiness, that the quote comes to mind, like the truth will set you free. In that moment I knew there could be a lot of backlash and I knew that, but there was that feeling, that small voice within me was like, yeah, this is right, this is the right thing to do.
It’s interesting. It’s kind of, yeah, no, go ahead. Just listening to that little voice inside the quiet voice. The one that actually says, yeah, this is right, you know, drowning out all the noise and all the things, because I don’t always think that, you know, going to the press about everything is the right thing to do- in this moment with this situation, this was right.
It’s interesting that you bring that up because one of the things that I discovered about my own ADHD when I was going through it and realizing that I did things differently than other people is the second I stopped caring about what other people thought was the moment I was free. And it’s exactly what you said. There’s that trusted circle. I have my parents, I have my daughter. I have, you know, my daughter’s mom, girlfriend, whatever, people like that, who are, whose opinions are important to me and everyone else, you know, I had someone, someone once told me: “Do they help you pay your mortgage? No? Then fuck’em”.
Yeah. And with me, like, you know how people say like believer or whatever, I don’t really care if people believe me, the people I know in love, believe me, you know? And, and I know, you know what I mean? So you have to be willing to let it go, I think. And, and like, yeah, completely just not care about what other people think when you’re really standing in your truth, what other people think does not matter.
Incredibly brave, incredibly brave. We have a couple of minutes left, please tell us about your podcast “Roar with Katherine Kendall”
Yeah. So, uh, I, I kind of fell into it. Actually. One of the other women, her name is Louise Godbold. She runs a trauma center here in Los Angeles. She’s also a Harvey Weinstein survivor. She was putting on a huge conference with a bunch of different experts and trauma survivors and she asked me if I would do a podcast interviewing like 12 of them. And so I started that and then I kept doing it and then I really found it to be so.. I love it. So I get so engaged and I, and I, I really find it fascinating. Maybe my ADHD thing is probably like my ADD, can I get for a half an hour? I was like super me, um, and I love bringing out and highlighting other people’s moments of courage and other people’s moments of resilience and think that, and there’s so much still to learn on this subject. And so I want to, you know, I’m going to be interviewing someone who wrote a book on consent for addicts, teach it to children and teenagers, you know, I think these are important, these are important times because there are different times. It’s not what we had when we were growing up. So we have a new framework and we all have to sort of learn some new rules of the road here. And it’s just an interesting how if I can help bring that along then, it’s, it’s fun.
It’s surprising. But it’s also fun to do during the pandemic;
I would say that’s a given, right? I think if I have, you know, let’s talk on zoom and no, please, let’s not, um, how do we find it? Anywhere we get podcasts?
Anywhere you get podcasts! “Roar with Katherine Kendall” and yes, I want you to be a guest too!
That’d be awesome.
And ask you your, your, your stories of resilience and courage and which I know you have a lot. I mean, it’s, it’s courageous of you that you put yourself out there on social media and the way that you do, like you’re, you’ve done such an amazing job with all of that. I think that’s admirable.
I don’t think it’s easy to put yourself out there.
It’s not, and it’s also not easy to censor, you know, I don’t want to share the things that bring people down, I just wanna, you know, again, hit the highlights, the good stuff, right? But you gotta be honest about that either, either honest or it’s fake, you know? You gotta be, if it’s not real, what’s the point. Right?
Katherine Kendall, thanks sooo much, [this has been amazing]! I really appreciate your taking the time! Guys, as always, if you like what you heard.. you’ve been listening to Faster Than Normal. Every week, another amazing story from amazing people like Katherine today! We will be back next week, stay safe and healthy. Just wearing the mask. Stop complaining, wear the goddamned mask, and we will see you guys soon. Thank you so much for listening, we’ll talk later.