IT GALZ: Best Friends Without A Filter

Jessica Viola has a candid chat with Jenny Claffey and Lindsay Hamilton about their popular Dublin based podcast show, IT GALZ.

In the words of Jenny Claffey and Lindsay Hamilton, IT GALZ is a podcast that is defined as “iconic, racy and electric.” The girls host a Dublin based podcast show which provides commentary on pop culture as well as advice on topics such as living in quarantine, body issues and most of all dating. I had the pleasure of chatting with Jenny and Lindsay, recently to discuss their friendship, IT GALZ live shows and their favorite guests on the podcast.

With their fair share of life experience and their talent for open communication, the girls decided to create IT GALZ. Jenny explains the podcast’s origins by stating, “I was listening to a lot of podcasts while working in town, on my commute. I got super obsessed really quickly but noticed there was a massive gap in the market for Irish podcasting, specifically hosted by women.” Lindsay continues on by adding, “I savour real in the moment conversations that aren't curated into a snappy caption and feel what we’re doing with IT GALZ is rare for our generation. I am obsessed with conversation and feel that language binds us together and that it's slowly getting lost. We don't laugh out loud anymore, we LOL.” Following this was the birth of IT GALZ as Lindsay explains it as, “documenting free flowing, open conversations between two galz who've known each other over a decade.” The girls transition the discussion over to how they first met as Jenny says it was, “at a pre-drinks at a friends bedsit.” Although, Lindsay admits that she had already heard of Jenny before meeting her in real life. “I had seen photos of Jenny on blogs in a niche clubbing scene in Dublin at the time and as a young ma, who needed an escape, I wanted in and arranged to meet up with them via blogspot which is gas. OG bloggers!” With the growth of social media in the last ten years, it seems so common to develop relationships online first, rather than in person. However, Lindsay reflects to say that back in 2010, “we were the guinea pigs of what was still considered to be bizarre behaviour of meeting up with people who you first came across online.” With the success of their online meet cute, Jenny assures us when they first met in person, “we hit it off that night and have been close friends ever since!”

Starting their podcast as a hobby in 2017, Jenny and Lindsay have created a female empowered empire that has developed into a full time career over the course of three years. Following the success of their podcast, the girls have released new projects such as their own merch, a Patreon account titled X-GALZ, and live shows. Their X-GALZ podcast provides hardcore fans with more intimate storytellings as well as the ability for the hosts to answer questions asked by their listeners. Jenny describes this experience as, “a secret club of best friends. It's an open diary group chat where you share your deepest darkest secrets and realise someone else does that too! No judgement just juice.” By having listeners pay to listen to their Patreon podcast, it has allowed the podcast to become more than just a pastime. “Our patreon, X-GALZ, has enabled us to do this full time, and that bond is something where our loyalty lies in most. We honour and delight in what we've created with X-GALZ so much '' Lindsay reveals. Alongside X-GALZ, Lindsay and Jenny have also started performing live shows all around Ireland. Jenny enthusiastically states, “Our live shows are an entity in their own; they are a stand up comedy show with an IT GALZ twist, which we have brought all over the country.” Back in Feburary, the girls finished two nights on Vicar Street for their ‘Cupid is Stupid’ gig, Jenny details why she loves the performing the live shows so much. “They're high energy, full of like minded people. I loved bringing the show on tour, seeing a different group of galz every night was surreal and honestly I felt like a rockstar being able to drop the phrase "we're on tour" mid sentence whenever I could.” Jenny then shares the details of what their live shows consist of. “We fell into doing stand up comedy and have since put our own twist on the genre in general, and I wouldn't change it for the world. They really bring a new element to the podcast. I really can't stress enough that they have to be seen to be believed!” 

Since that the live shows focus on similiar subjects pertaining to relationships and sex in their podcasts, it was interesting to find out that the girls feel comfortable enough to have their parents attend the live performances. Jenny even shares an embarrassing story of when her parents first came to support the girls. “The first show they went to, they actually snuck into because I had banned them from attending. A huge segment of the show involved a bit about anal sex and honestly once they saw that, all boundaries were crossed! I'm lucky they're very sex positive and open minded, so they get it.”On the topic of parents, Lindsay contributes by stating, “my parents are such an amazing support by helping me with paperwork, child minding, emotional and financial support. They don't need to come to the shows to show their relentless support. It really taught me how to recognise people's love language.” She then reflects on a significant experience she has had by having her own mother as guest speaker on IT GALZ. “I have felt so blessed to be able to have my mum on the podcast, a couple of times, and I know that I have them to listen back on forever. Being able to pull in my mum for a long chat and having the platform to showcase her wisdom is so special to me.” Jenny chimes in after to add, “Having guests on brings a different perspective which I love, we have spent hundreds of hours recording together so it's always great to have another perspective.” Over the course of the years, the girls have hosted a variety of guest speakers on their podcast, from the likes of Lindsays’ mother, Evelyn Hamilton to influencer James Kavanagh. Having said this, Jenny and Lindsay reveal who some of their favourite guests have been on the show. Lindsay goes first by saying, “Jenny and I have met amazing people through IT GALZ, such as Joanne McNally who really inspired me. Rebecca Gamble was able to share her story (who struggled from an eating disorder) which made me so proud to do what we do.” Adding to the conversation, Jenny enlightens me by commenting, “I loved Adam O'Reilly and Ruth Walsh because they started off as internet friends and are now real life friends!” Lindsay confirms, “I love that we've been able to bring our friends along the journey with us.”

One of the main elements that IT GALZ brings to the table is their authenticity through their candid chats. The show focuses on the banter between Jenny and Lindsay discussing a variety of topics, from providing advice to examining Jeffree Star’s most recent breakup. The basis behind this is that, “we wanted to bring pub talk and whatsapp groups into real life and publicly talk about topics like sex, dating relationships and other aspects of 21st century life that are usually left to the private chat” says Jenny. One of the most common topics that appears on the podcast are relationships and specifically sex. Lindsay advises how she destigmatizes the socitial taboo of sex explaining, “sex is normal so when we talk about it, the conversation will become normal over time. It's like wearing red lipstick out for the first time. First it feels completely provocative and out there, but the next day you can't leave your house without it.” Speaking to these strong minded women, I was curious to understand how they found their voices and were able to be so confident in themselves. However, Jenny discloses that growing up she used to rely on the opinions of others to make her feel confident. The podcast co-host states, “I feel I spent a lot of my early 20s trying to please people so that they would like me or think of me in a certain way which wasn't always a great use of my time.” After having experienced that this method was not always so successful, she learned that, You'll find confidence in yourself. My advice would be to place your confidence in your personality, rather than your looks! Looks fade no matter what, put time and effort into your personality and happiness. Also, don't be afraid to be selfish and say no.” To this point, Lindsay remarks, “confidence is misconceived as being reliant on how we accept our outer body appearance, but you have to like your daily actions. As a teen, all I thought I consumed was calories. I didn't consider the effects that toxic friendships and bad decisions could have. Self-care means looking after every aspect of yourself so be careful when indulging in bad habits.Treat people and yourself with kindness and you’ll feel confident in yourself as a whole.” 

After discussing the journey that IT GALZ has had, the hosts are enthusiastic about expanding their empire and divulge with me their aspirations for the podcast.  “A huge goal for us this year is to bring IT GALZ international,” says Jenny eagerly. Lindsay keenly adds to Jenny’s point, “At the start of the year we wrote out some long term and short term goals for the podcast and for our business in general. We did this last year too and hit every single one which was incredible!” Over the course of three years, these Dublin natives have reached a huge amount of success with their growing podcast, as seen through countless sold out live shows as well as having over 20,000 followers on Instagram. IT GALZ has become a platform for Jenny and Lindsay to share their experience and wisdom to people, whether it be to impressionable teenagers seeking advice or the white collar workers who desire an escape from the day to day routine, IT GALZ has it all. Lindsay confirms the girls appreciation for their platform and their podcast, as when finishing our conversation she thoughtfully states, “our podcast is deeply personal and grows with us which I'm so grateful for.”