“I’m not natural,” UM alumna Abby blurted at the camera as we filmed her interview in a boutique coffeehouse in NYC. Lloyd graduated from UM and landed a job doing social media and eventually graphic design for “Betches” — the snarky media company that reports on everything from dating to mainstream news, always with their signature ‘tude. But 10 years have turned Betches’ three college-aged founders into married CEOs, who aren’t exactly campus experts anymore.
Enter “Off Campus” — Betches’ newest podcast. Abby began as its resident ‘sexpert,’ advising her undergraduate listeners on all things hookups — until she became one of the hosts herself. Now, Abby and her co-host Taylor Jackson talk sex, dorm horror stories and the sh*t show that is college every Thursday (listen on Spotify or Apple Podcasts). To say the podcast is unfiltered would be an understatement, and Abby’s blunt, snappy humor means you’ll be hearing about some rather graphic sex-scapades or really just anything that pops into her head while on air.
We sat down with Abby to talk Betches, “Off Campus,” life after college and surviving in the big city.
Distraction: What was your experience like at UM?
Abby: UM was amazing because it’s really hot, and I’m really sick of the cold now, but in general, I just feel like I learned a lot about what I hate and what I like, and in the School of Communication specifically, because I hated PR, and that’s what I graduated with. And now I do something completely different. I love Orange Umbrella, and I wish I did Distraction, but I literally don’t have enough time in the day.
D: Tell us about what you did at Orange Umbrella.
A: First, I did social media for Orange Umbrella, and then my last year I did web design and more creative stuff like that. So, I was in charge of all the photoshoots and still social [media], but it was more about what I wanted Orange Umbrella to be like in the future.
D: Have you been keeping tabs on it?
A: I keep tabs! I’m in the Slack group — I message everyone all the time. I’m so annoying, honestly. They’re probably like, ‘Ew, this girl Abby keeps messaging us,’ and I’m just like, ‘Well, because Orange Umbrella is so important to me.’ It really changed who I am.
D: How did you get your job at Betches?
A: Connections are everything and I actually — wait side note — I actually got fired from my old job, and I was really upset about it. Can I say that? Actually, it’s a funny story. So, I had a job before I had Betches ready for when I was going to graduate, and they didn’t end up hiring me because they said my Instagram was risqué and that I post crazy stuff. I was devastated. I felt like I really couldn’t get a job, and social media is everything to me.
But whatever, I kept applying, and Betches is literally social media-based, and everything about it is risky, so I messaged the Director of Content, and I explained the situation and that I was looking for a job, and they were hiring someone for social media. That wasn’t my end goal — like I want to do graphic design, but I was like, ‘Whatever, it’s a small company, so I can kind of do everything.’ So I messaged them. They emailed me back, I had an interview, and they asked when I could start, and I was literally like, ‘Tomorrow.’
So I always tell everyone that everything happens for a reason. People talk to me about it still, and they’re like, ‘Do you remember when you had that old job?’ And I’m like, ‘Ew, I can’t even think of it.’ It was going to be an internship too, and now I have an actual salary.
D: How did you get brought on to “Off Campus?”
A: I was hired in June, and they had just started the Instagram page, and when they started Betches, it was college-focused because all three girls who started it were in college. So, since they’re older now, they lost that college demographic, and we needed to get it back, so we launched “Off Campus” as a vertical of Betches, and we have 80k followers right now. It has only been six months. We launched the podcast to bring more followers so people would listen and everything. At first, it was two girls, Taylor [Jackson] and this other girl, and when I came, we kind of switched things, and it was a lot easier because I actually work at Betches, so I just kind of took the place of the other girl, and it’s been good.
D: Was it a big transition for Taylor?
A: Definitely. I don’t even know how much work goes into a podcast. Creating the content and trying to get people to email us all their dumb questions about college — it’s a lot of work, and it’s two hours out of my day that I have to put aside.
We have podcast producers. I don’t know how any of the equipment works — like how would I know that? So, there’s people who edit it, record it and then we just talk on it, and I can kind of video edit, not really, so I will do the small edits and then send it, but we have to come up with topics and stuff like that and just whatever we feel like we should talk about it.
D: Do you outline the podcast?
A: We do. Taylor outlines it, but I don’t look at it because I feel like I’m becoming less funny if I know what we’re going to talk about. So she just, like, says a topic, and I’m like, ‘Okay let’s go.’
D: Did you become close with Taylor because of the podcast?
A: Yes, we definitely became close because of the podcast. She’s one of my best friends now. We were like close-ish before we started because we are two of the youngest people at Betches, but it definitely made us a lot closer.
D: What would the podcast be like if one of you were in a relationship?
A: It’s so funny, our podcast producer was talking to us at the holiday party the other day and was like, ‘If either one of you gets a boyfriend, the show is stopping.’ I was like, ‘One, nobody will ever date me, and two, that’s probably true.’ It just wouldn’t be as funny, I don’t think, but also the number of one-night stands and stuff like that, there’s no more talking about it. And what am I going to talk about? Like, my boyfriend and I got in a fight last night about who washes the dishes? Like nobody cares.
D: What’s your response to people who say your podcast is similar to “Call Her Daddy?”
A: It is accurate in the way of where it’s two girls who talk about sex, but we don’t have as much sex, we aren’t as pretty and we aren’t as vulgar. Like I would never talk about ball sacks — well, I would. “Call her Daddy” is more sex-focused, whereas we talk about dating and college and more stuff like that, but we do get that a lot, and people will comment on our stuff like, “Walmart Call her Daddy.” And we’re like, ‘We love that. We love “Walmart Call Her Daddy.”’
Betches will get us sponsors, and it’ll be like Dunkin’ Donuts, and we’ll talk about whatever, and then we’ll do the ad. They get us these conservative brands, and they come back, and they’re like ‘We don’t want her saying dick,’ and I’m like, ‘I can’t not say dick.’
D: What’s the craziest story someone’s ever submitted?
A: A lot of people DM us and it’s like a man sleeping with a married man, and he’s married to a woman. Like, ‘Oh, my God, steal him from the wife,’ because I’m pro-cheating and pro-homewrecker, and I just want everyone to be happy in their own relationship.
Some people will DM us and be like, ‘I heard my husband’s cheating,’ and I’m like ‘Oh my God, do you know that we’re like 23- and 24-year-old girls? Like, I cannot help you.’ I literally sent my therapist’s number. Like, you need help.
D: What is your biggest challenge living and working in NYC?
A: Being broke. I’m literally poor — this coffee was six dollars. Why I spent that? I don’t know. Because I’m trying to fit in? I have no money, and I’m trying to save money. Everyone [at Betches] pays for my stuff, and people got me gift cards to Sweetgreen because I’m always like, ‘Can someone pay for my Sweetgreen?’ I’m so broke here, it’s not even fucking funny anymore.
“This is not funny,” she says, pointing to the coffee. “This is not funny anymore.”
Check out these hysterical segments on the podcast:
–Hot Virgin Club
–Please Un-F**k Me
–Zang Zaddy of the Week
This article was published in Distraction’s spring 2020 print issue.
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