Amplifying Queer Voices

What started as simple conversations between a couple has grown into a platform with over 30,000 monthly listeners in 118 countries, a successful blog and a published self-reflective journal furthering the voices of women, the queer community and anyone represented through feminism.

This is SHE, a podcast for the non-traditional.

An acronym for Shifting Her Experience, SHE was founded by engaged couple Sophie Dunne, 27, and Tiana DeNicola, 26, from their Los Angeles home in early 2020.

The pair saw an opportunity to create a brand that was geared towards having unconventional conversations mainly surrounding female and LGBTQ+ experiences amongst other topics they felt society wasn’t necessarily talking about.

Dunne and DeNicola have traveled the globe, are in a healthy, committed relationship and approach all of their topics with a critical eye and tons of research, allowing them to feel qualified to speak on a number of women’s issues as well as the LGBTQ+ community from an intellectual and personal perspective.

“Both of us have experienced the things that we've talked about in each episode and if we have not experienced them and we want to educate ourselves more, we bring on a guest who can best speak to that experience,” Dunne said.

Pride parade Defend and Protect Queer Kids sign Photo by Denin Lawley from Unsplash Having featured guest speakers gave Dunne and DeNicola the confidence to continue pushing conversations even if they couldn’t speak to them personally.

Episodes have featured women in the adult entertainment industry, a friend of theirs who is non-binary, and they are currently working towards hosting a transgender man to speak to their experience.

“We don’t just have anybody on,” DeNicola said. “We want somebody that is perfect for the topic, is open and willing and educated on speaking about them.”

“And who will do their peers justice,” Dunne continued.

This same level of inclusivity is represented on their blog and social media as well, using Instagram as their main platform for promotion and their website to publish more formal articles on topics they’ve discussed.

Despite producing weekly podcast episodes, writing articles and building up their brand, SHE is neither women’s full-time job. Dunne is a copy editor at both WebMD and Mighty Scribes, a writing agency in New York, while DeNicola works as a Video Supervisor at Variety. But it was through their work experience they were able to further SHE with the publication of reflect, a self-reflective journal to help with self-awareness.

“You’re following along with the podcast and then you also have this journal to reflect on yourself and how you feel about things,” DeNicola said.

Dunne, already having her own book of poetry published, wrote separate poems for the journal to go along with its reflective exercises while DeNicola used her skills to design and format the final product.

“Yes, it was created by two queer women,” Dunne said, “but it’s for anyone. And it’s a very, just, self-reflective tool. It’s a guide that humans, I feel like, need. And we had a lot of fun creating it.”

Before releasing the book, Dunne and DeNicola had a mental health professional comb through the book to ensure they were not promoting any negativity or harmful messages. SHE, as a brand and platform, is a prime example of queer creators finally having the representation they deserve in media and Dunne and DeNicola continue to reach out to other queer creators to boost their platforms as well.

One of their first episodes, “un-bi-lievable: explaining bisexuality,” was one of their most tuned-into podcast episodes, by myself included, as it helped me begin the process of coming out to my family.

“We're happy to say we're two gay women because that's how society perceives us,” DeNicola said. “But at the end of the day, we're just Tiana and Sophie and we're just in a loving relationship, you know? So, I think we really want to humanize that experience, too.”