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Morgan Absher of “Two Hot Takes” Podcast on Mental Health, Career Pivots & More

Many of us may have joked about starting a podcast after a particularly long conversation analyzing the hottest news with our friends, but few actually take the leap to make it happen. Morgan Absher, host of the popular podcast Two Hot Takes, was one of those that did. Her Campus at UCLA was lucky enough to be able to speak with Absher about all things Reddit, mental health, careers, and more.

In Two Hot Takes, Absher and her co-hosts — which have included Tefi Pessoa, LaurDIY and Drew Afualo among others — react to Reddit stories, share their opinions and offer advice. Before the podcast, Absher worked as an occupational therapist full-time. But, during quarantine, she found herself spending even more time scrolling on Reddit looking for the best and craziest stories, and began dreaming about starting a podcast based on these stories. She finally took the leap of faith and launched Two Hot Takes in February 2021, amassing over 7 million downloads and 3 million fans across different social media platforms since. Since then, she has begun focusing on the podcast full-time, setting aside her occupational therapy career for now. 

Morgan Absher, Two Hot Takes podcast host
Photo by MaryaJuliann

Reddit is a crucial part of the Two Hot Takes structure. Absher recognizes that Reddit can sometimes be very toxic, but loves that the platform offers people a “safe outlet to dump their problems.” In certain situations, she says, it can be easier to “get takes from strangers” rather than confide in one’s friends or family. She also shares that r/DeadBedrooms is one of her favorite subreddits that she has yet to really talk about on the podcast; take a look there if you want a peek into what Absher reads off-the-record. 

While some stories deal with familiar topics that we’ve almost all dealt with — like a boring relationship, a toxic mother, or an overbearing boss — others are so specific and bizarre that perhaps only the original poster can truly relate to them. Absher recalls one post where a woman discovered that her boyfriend was secretly feeding her slugs, stating that situations like that are ones she “[hopes] to never encounter” (same!). But, her approach to these stories is simply to put herself in their shoes and be empathetic. She often acts as a “big sister” to her listeners, offering the advice she wishes she could’ve heard when she was younger. 

One of the main pieces of advice that comes up time and time again on Two Hot Takes is: go to therapy. When asked about her personal journey with mental health, Absher explains that she was bullied by girls that she thought were her best friends in high school. This led to a “tough battle with depression,” including suicidal ideation, as she “didn’t know where to turn to.” She also states, “Mental health is the root cause for a lot of other issues that people deal with, like homelessness.” 

Mental health is “an ongoing journey,” something that requires “ongoing maintenance.” However, not everyone is able to access therapy on a regular basis. For those who can’t get professional help, Absher highly recommends practicing mindfulness. Even things like “going on a walk and being more observant of your environment” can help ground you, she says. A lot of us spend our mealtimes eating as quickly as possible to get back to work or watching TV in the background, but Absher believes that really “[chewing] each bite” and thinking about each flavor and texture is one of the best ways to be mindful. These are just small habits that we can all easily incorporate into our daily routines, but can have a huge impact on our overall mental health. 

Absher credits a lot of the podcast’s success and her overall outlook on life to her experience as an occupational therapist. “I wouldn’t have the podcast if I didn’t go to grad school,” she states. Occupational therapy is unique because it is healthcare but also required her to be “creative and very adaptable,” teaching her how to “see a problem from a bunch of different angles” and come up with various possible solutions. This has a huge impact on the way she approaches the stories she encounters on Two Hot Takes: she’s able to see the issues holistically and offer multiple different pieces of advice. 

To others who may be interested in but scared of exploring something new, whether it’s a career pivot or just a passion project, Absher urges, “Do it.” She initially struggled with feeling like she wasted time and money obtaining a doctorate degree she isn’t using anymore, but she is “so happy with the podcast and how it’s turned out.” Even if change doesn’t work out the way you’d dreamed, she says, “no experience is a bad experience; it’s just going to help you grow.” 

Her Campus at UCLA is so grateful for this opportunity to chat with Morgan about our favorite podcast! If you aren’t already a listener, definitely check it out to hear the internet’s hottest stories and Absher’s big sister advice.

Rachel is the Co-Campus Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus at UCLA. In her free time, she loves hanging around flea markets and exploring different neighborhoods in LA!
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