Last week, on Friday, I interviewed Madonna Badger on my radio show and I don’t think I would have been any less nervous to have had the President of the United States as my guest. Madonna’s story of tragedy and triumph are what books and movies are made of. Hearing her story, one is encouraged and strengthened. It is an inspiring tale and one that I wanted to share with my listeners.
My trepidation came from over thinking how to interview her in a way that accomplishes my goal of empowering people through story-telling, without exploiting her pain. I studied about her and saw that not only is Madonna a survivor she is a trend-setter.
The show began with a recount of the night, in 2011, when her family home caught fire and she lost everything: her children, her parents, her house, her belongings and, finally, her sanity. It has been almost seven years and she has come a long way.
Madonna detailed the night of the fire and the year to follow without crying; which, she says, is a big accomplishment. I then turned the interview towards her more recent accomplishments.
Madonna owns Badger and Winters Ad Agency in New York City. She has received many advertising awards and gained respect among her advertising peers. In 2016, she presented her #WomenNotObjects campaign at the Cannes Film Festival and was given a standing ovation. Her company embraced this commitment to changing the way the advertising industry objectifies women. Because of Badger and Winters Agency’s commitment to that cause, they lost several of their big name accounts, including Avon. She now manages Proctor and Gamble and the JC Penny accounts.
After the show, I was still in awe of this woman. I continued to think of her all weekend and worried that my interview had not done her justice. ‘Did my listeners really get the whole picture of her depth and complexity? Were they inspired by her story?’ I fretted. Then I was mad at myself for stewing over something so trivial. This woman had been through so much. I felt weak and powerless over my silly feeling of inadequacy.
When Monday came and the podcast was posted, I listened fearfully. The interview was everything I wanted it to be. My interview was fine and she was wonderful.
Humans…. what a weird lot we are.