Inside L.A. Podcaster Jade Iovine's World: 'To Me, the Mess Is the Beautiful Part' (Exclusive)

The 'Live From Bed' host and daughter of Jimmy and Vicki Iovine gets candid about self-acceptance and why the 'Diet Coke of vulnerability' is problematic

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

While chatting with PEOPLE over lunch at the lively Mauro Cafe in West Hollywood in late October, Jade Iovine gets something out of the way early: "I'm notorious for not being able to small talk."

"I'm like, 'Tell me about your childhood trauma and your mental illness, please,'" she says. "I prefer to talk about the hard stuff."

Over a chicken Milanese salad and Diet Coke, Iovine, 29, answers questions about everything from her mental health journey to growing up in the entertainment industry (her dad is Interscope Records and Beats Electronics co-founder Jimmy Iovine, and her mom is Vicki Iovine, author of the Girlfriends' Guide handbooks) with an open ease. It's a quality that's served her well on her weekly podcast, Live From Bed.

"I'm pretty much the same person on and off mic," she says. "I have always been the person that says the thing that people are too afraid to say out loud. That's never scared me. I love to go there."

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

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Independently produced, Live From Bed is a no holds barred version of her previous iHeartRadio podcast Tell Me About It.

"We became independent in May, and it was a hard decision, but I wanted to rebrand, secretly," she says. "That was an ulterior motive that I had, but not necessarily the reason why we went independent. When it was Tell Me About It, I would do solo episodes, and I would call those, Live From Bed, because they often were from bed, which is my favorite place in the world other than Mauro's. I didn't feel like Tell Me About It embodied the existential dread that I wanted it to. I feel freer now to be my insane self."

Issues discussed on Live From Bed can range from big (depression, abortion) to small (getting left out of the friend group chat).

"The small moments can be just as valuable as the big pillar conversations that we have about overarching topics," she says. "For example, I can't for the life of me remember to take my SSRI. That can be a jumping off point where we talk about how you reconcile going on those medications and what that feels like. Are you scared you're going to gain weight? Are you scared that you'll have low libido? Are you scared you're going to be on it forever? Everything has a bigger thing attached to it."

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

In recent weeks, Iovine has had guests on her show including TikToker Lexi Larson, comedian Matt Rogers and poet Cleo Wade. Her dream guest is the one and only Dolly Parton.

"I just adore a woman who remains true to herself, unapologetically and consistently," she says. "She allows her talent to shine through without succumbing to societal expectations that dictate how she should look or behave."

Iovine adds she would "also love to interview some of the names that we grew up with on the news," like Elizabeth Smart and Monica Lewinsky.

Related: Dolly Parton Wears Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Uniform as She Performs Her Hits During Thanksgiving Game Halftime

On her Oct. 31 episode, Iovine was joined on the podcast by her older sister Jessica. The workings of her family dynamic often come up on the show.

"My family, I think they're all desensitized to the podcast," she says. "They know that I'm ridiculous and say the craziest stuff, so they're definitely not shocked by anything I say. Sometimes I want to talk about them, and I'm like, 'Oh s---.' I forget that they listen. My stepdad, bless his heart, he will listen, and I'm like, 'You know? It's not for you entirely.'"

During her childhood in L.A., Iovine says her mom — who split from her dad Jimmy in 2009 — taught her and her siblings to not be afraid of "anything."

"She taught us that we could go to her," she says. "My mom was definitely the person — like me — who would say the uncomfortable thing. She'd never shelter us from what her colorful past looked like. My friends would even come to her when they were too afraid to go to their own parents. She always said, 'The truth is funnier anyway.'"

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

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Despite her dad's hold in entertainment, a music career wasn't in the cards.

"I can't carry a tune to save my life, so I definitely wasn't going to be a singer," she says. "I always thought that was my dad's world, so it didn't necessarily appeal to me. But my parents were incredible in the way that they included us so much in their careers at our dinner table every night. We were involved in picking singles with my dad and all of that, and I am following some of the traits of his career."

"And then my mom, she wrote the Girlfriends' Guide, and those at the time were the most radically honest, self-deprecating handbooks," she continues. "They weren't classic motherhood books about what motherhood should look like. My mom was saying, 'I have sex dreams about Anderson Cooper, because that's who I fall asleep to every night.' My mom was very honest, extremely funny and eloquent in the way that she talked about not the ugly side, but the very real, raw side of motherhood and parenting and pregnancy. You try so hard to separate yourself from your parents and distinguish yourself, and here I've landed having aspects of both of their careers."

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After graduating from the University of Miami — where she met her husband of six months, Dylan Satin — with a degree in political science in 2016, Iovine worked for some time as a freelance red carpet host. It left her feeling creatively unfulfilled.

"I was pushing someone else's narrative," she says. "I was asking people what they're wearing, yet I didn't give two s---s what they were wearing at all. You could feel that I wasn't invested in the conversations that I was having."

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

When she entered the podcasting world three years ago, she realized she could build up her audience without relying on someone giving her a "big break" like in the entertainment industry.

"I wanted to be able to talk about only what I wanted to talk about, and that's the beauty of podcasting," she says. "I didn't want to feel like something that I said would represent a big company that had nothing to do with the makings of the show."

In her early episodes, she focused on topics related to the maze that is navigating your 20s.

"At first we focused a lot on the 20s because I was so lost," she says. "Your 20s are when you are bumping into things and getting all your scrapes and bruises trying to figure out who you are. I wanted the podcast in the beginning to be a place that wasn't just people parading their over-hyped and over-exaggerated success stories."

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Iovine likens growing up in the "girl boss, millennial pink era" to a "hell hole."

"I listened to podcasts because I was going through so much s--- as you do in your 20s, like mental illness and family drama, and I was trying to get an ounce of validation that what I was going through was normal," she says. "Instead, I got these unattainable, aspirational stories that just left me feeling inadequate. I was like, 'OK, I need to create a safe haven, an oasis for people to go."

Over the past three years, the podcast has grown and evolved with Iovine. In the past few weeks alone, she's talked about deeply personal issues, including what she wish she knew before getting an abortion during her senior year of college. An April episode of Live From Bed (while it was still a part of Tell Me About It) about going through a two-week "depression hole" remains one of her "most downloaded solo episodes."

"That was hard, because I was admitting out loud the parts that I still haven't figured out," she says. "Because you do think it's just you. The truth is, after you come back from needing time away from the world and people, there are missed birthdays, mountains of texts you haven't responded to, emails you haven't responded to. I think instead of attacking ourselves, it's just being like, 'OK, this happens. This is a normal thing.' I try to advocate for radical self-acceptance. We see these internet relationships and these people online showing how perfect and in love they are. You think, 'Oh, their partner doesn't have an anxious or depressed partner, and that makes them better.' It's like, that's bulls---. It really is."

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

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A topic inspiring Iovine right now is what she calls "the Diet Coke of vulnerability."

"I remember when people were first starting to be 'honest' on the internet, like, 'OK, I'm going to share something with you guys: I get breakouts,'" she says. "And by the way, that's a vulnerable thing. I'm not trying to minimize that at all. But I see people now trying to show how perfect their relatability is. I'm just not interested in that. I want to hear about how you binge-ate a pack of Oreos and then drunk called your ex. To me, the mess is the most beautiful part. So I never want to skip over that."

Growing up in the entertainment industry also offered Iovine a unique insight into how the world of celebrity isn't always as glamorous as it seems.

"I always knew the behind the scenes lives of these people that everyone idolized," she says. "I knew for a fact that they were not exempt from the human experience at all. I was like, 'I'm going to invite people on that everyone looks up to and idolizes, and the people whose feeds are perfect and online personas are flawless. I'm going to invite them on to only talk about the hard stuff.' Everyone has a story to tell. My parents would always tell me when our family was going through something: 'Jade, everyone has something.'"

A general theme in both her podcast and life is "you have to laugh to keep from crying," Iovine says.

"I think that the worst things in our lives are often the best things in some cases because if nothing else, you get a sense of humor out of it," she says. "If you don't have an awkward phase, what are you doing? The universe humbles me every single day, and it will continue happen forever."

<p>Callum Walker Hutchinson</p> Jade Iovine

Callum Walker Hutchinson

Jade Iovine

As she looks to the future, Iovine aspires to grow her podcast even bigger. She'd also like to do a talk show someday — with her own twist, of course.

"We grew up in Oprah's America," she says. "I always knew I wanted to be a talk show host, but we just need a little R-rated daytime television show. They would have to let me say f--- and talk about abortion. Life isn't PG!"

For now, she's relishing in the community she's created.

"It can be scary to put yourself out there, but there's so much connection on the other side," she says. "That's been proven to me time and time again."

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