Break the Rules Like ... Abigail Keel
Not all Wonder Women wear capes, and not all Unladylike role models need to sit in the C-suite to spark change. Each week, we're introducing y'all to rad women and nonbinary folks we admire. They'll offer up pointers on how we all can #breaktheruleslike they do and help them make the world a better place. If you have a role model to shout out, send hot tips to email@example.com.
1. Introduce yourself: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?
Heyyyyyyyy. I'm Abigail Keel. I'm from St. Louis, Missouri (mid-BEST) and currently live in Brooklyn. I'm the senior producer of Unladylike, which means I work for the podcast production company Stitcher and help Cristen & Caroline bring their work to everyone's earbuds.
2. When did you first realize this was the right path for you?
In high school, my weekend job was to pick up trash in a sculpture park. I worked by myself, so I listened to podcasts for hours on end (this was right when podcasts were becoming a thing). I can still remember exactly where in the park I was (and what piece of trash I was grabbing) when I heard my favorite stories on shows like Radiolab, This American Life and The Moth. I set out for journalism school knowing I wanted to make stuff, ask interesting questions all day and be on the "radio." Haven't looked back since!
3. What’s unladylike about you and what you do?
Obvious answer: uhhh I work for Unladylike. Real answer: I don't like to be told what to do. And I like to demand attention.
4. Which of your heroes or role models would you immortalize in bronze?
Tina Fey. 30 Rock showed me that I wasn't just a freak ... that my sense of humor was something I could share with other people!
5. What was your feminist aha moment?
I definitely can't point to a single moment when I started identifying as a feminist. It's just something that's always felt true to me. But when I was 18 or 19 I interned with Third Coast International Audio Festival, and the entire staff (of four people) were women. It was the first time I had worked with only women and I realized that so many of the people I looked up to and worked with before that were men. After working with Third Coast (and loving it SO much), I started to seek out more experiences where women were in charge or that elevated women. It also made me think about the women in my life that have been truly instrumental to my own development but I hadn't recognized ... people like my mom, her amazing grown-lady friends and my high school biology teacher.
6. What’s bringing you joy right now — or at least keeping you sane?
I've been watching Barefoot Contessa on youtube and it's a phenomenal way to decompress (Ina. is. a. goddess.). I'm also trying to get my friends to put on a play together for more of our friends. Yes, it is an excuse to demand a starring role and no, I don't care what that says about me. ;)
7. Aside from keys/wallet/phone, what do you never leave home without?
Wish I could say my headphones to stay on brand. But the truth is ... Burt's Bees chapstick.
8. How can unladies help you and/or your mission?
Ummmm subscribe to our show and tell a friend!!!! But really, my actual mission is for people to engage with the media they consume. So send unladylike an email (hello at unladylike dot co) or ping us on social (@unladylikemedia) with your thoughts about our work! Seriously — I want to know your complaints. And your compliments. And your ideas for things we should cover.
More from Abigail
Hashtags: Ha! My boyfriend doesn't have social media so I have created a hashtag to catalog his presence. #steve
More about women in audio
The 22 Most Influential Women in Podcasting (Ladycast, 2016)
Why Women Excel in Podcasting (Politico, 2017)
Broads Save America (Cosmo, 2018)