Kiran Gandhi On The 'She Does' Podcast Talks Free Bleeding And Handling Criticism & It's So Inspirational
Kiran Gandhi — the woman you probably know best as that lady who ran the London Marathon while menstruating sans any feminine hygiene product (which, by the way, I maintain is a bizarrely retro and unnecessarily euphemistic name for pads, tampons, and menstrual cups) — is no stranger to courting controversy. What's cool about her appearance on the She Does podcast is how she's responded to it. Whether or not you'd ever run a marathon, let alone do it while free bleeding, we can all learn from her response to handling critics.
Created and hosted by Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg, She Does highlights "notable women of all generations, working at the intersection of media, film, journalism, art, and technology," according to the podcast's website; it began airing at the beginning of 2015, with new episodes hitting the Internet every two weeks. Episode 20, which aired on Oct. 7, featured Gandhi — and of course her experience running the London Marathon and the aftermath was one of the major points of conversation. "I just thought about everyone who I had ever admired — [that other] Gandhi, MLK, Catharine MacKinnon who's the anti-porn activist of the '70s and '80s and was my law professor at Harvard Business school last semester — she literally lives in an undisclosed location because her life is constantly being threatened," Gandhi said on the podcast — while, it should be noted, laughing it off like a badass. "So when you're doing real shit, you're only doing real shit if you're pissing people off."
Not letting criticism get to her means she can focus on the stuff that really matters to her — making music as M.I.A.'s drummer, running, talking about feminism in the music business (she's a Harvard MBA grad) — instead of what other people think she should be doing and saying. She put it like this: "Instead of asking someone what's your passion or what's your job or what do you do, instead ask them, 'What are you doing when you're in your flow? What are you doing when you're not checking your phone and your mind is so present, isn't wandering. What are you doing?'" I'm guessing that the "flow" puns probably aren't intended, but, well...
The podcast has other incredible stories too. Gandhi basically became M.I.A.'s drummer by sending the indie rapper a video of her wilin' out on the drums — see below. She also talks about how she developed her idea of "atomic living" — basically, doing what feels good in the moment as a kind of life philosophy toward guiding you to your passions — as well as her philosophy that you should always be adding something to a new venture instead of just going along for the ride.
Going through the She Does archives, I'm impressed by the number of radical, creative women doing cool things, including documentary photographer Stacy Kranitz, comedy writer Pamela Ribon, Winter's Bone director Debra Granik, independent film CEO Emily Best, and High Maintenance creator Katja Blichfeld. Count me in as a new listener.