The Beacon podcaster revisits her teenage years for a revealing new podcast

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It’s hard being a teenager. These years are often filled with angst, anger, hormones, emotions, friends, crushes, memories, and years of self-discovery. To cope, many teens turn to journaling, sharing details of their lives and feelings that are – at the time – only for their eyes.

That is, unless you’re Beacon-based writer Laura Leigh Abby, who kept her journals and now, nearly 20 years later, has used her innermost experiences and thoughts to create a new podcast. which reflects these moments of his life.

Beacon-based podcaster Laura Leigh Abby, left, and influencer Leia Immanuel.  Immanuel voices Abby's diary entries in a new podcast.

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“SEVENTEEN: Conversations with My Teenage Self,” debuts February 7 on all podcast platforms. In it, Abby reads her 17-year-old diary (voiced by teenage influencer Leia Emmanuel) and thinks about it, revealing much more than anyone could have expected.

“Sharing the things that we don’t always feel comfortable sharing is part of who I am and who I am as a writer,” Abby said.

Abby is used to sharing her personal life with others. In 2016, she released “The Rush,” a memoir about falling in love with her sorority sister in college; an essay about the birth of her son recently appeared in the “Modern Love” section of the New York Times.

In 2017, she published a practical wedding guide, “2Brides2Be: A Same Sex Guide for the Modern Bride,” which features a mix of memoir and practical advice for couples planning two-person weddings. She and her wife Samantha also appeared on the second season of Bravo TV’s “Newlyweds: The First Year.”

Although she admits that some of what is discussed in the podcast is cringe-worthy, even for her, sharing those experiences helps others.

“And often I speak for myself, but I also know that there are so many people who don’t want to share their true feelings, or their most embarrassing moments, or the secrets they really keep to themselves. “, said Abbie.

She said having Immanuel, a 17-year-old from New York, voice his lyrics was exciting. “She’s 17, so she was able to pick up and capture the emotions of every entry,” Abby said. “I loved having her young Laura voice; she did an amazing job.”

"SEVENTEEN: Conversations with my teenage self," is a new podcast from Laura Leigh Abby, Beacon resident, business owner and parent.  This image was taken when Abby was in high school.

What’s on the podcast?

Adult Abby tackles those teenage diary entries (some consisting of printed AOL Instant Messenger chats) that contain problematic sexual encounters and explores how a generation of would-be feminists were influenced by pop culture mixed signals.

“It took all those decades to realize that it was a tough time to be a young woman, especially a teenager,” she explained. “Pop culture was giving us all these horrible mixed signals. I hope so many people can relate to this.

She hopes to get feedback from listeners who do, especially those who grew up in the early 2000s, and get the culture and references she mentions on the podcast.

The podcast also includes interviews Abby conducted with a boy she had a crush on in high school, as well as a candid discussion about sex, coming out, and other conversations with her mother that she didn’t. never really had years ago.

“I confessed these feelings I had to this boy (now the man) and even the sex talk with my mom was great,” said Abby, who said it was weird looking through her mad diaries of straight boy and girl since she was 17. “Now, to be a married person, I have to clarify some things in the podcast.”

Beacon-based podcaster and writer Laura Leigh Abby with wife Sam Abby and their two children, Quinn and Simon.

She credits her wife Samantha’s TV viewing habits with starting this podcast. The couple live in Beacon and co-own a fitness studio where Abby teaches indoor cycling and group boxing.

“During the pandemic, my wife loved watching teen dramas and CW (network), but I was never there,” she said. “I wanted to watch really easy fun stuff, because life is too hard right now. But I noticed that all of these characters are queer and bisexual, and the lines are blurred between men and women, as they always should have been. When I was a teenager you were either straight or gay and if you were gay you were going to be ostracized.

Looking back at his own teenage years meant putting them out there for the world to hear.

Laura Leigh Abby in her high school portrait.  The Beacon-based parent and business owner used his teenage diaries as inspiration for a new podcast.

“There’s so much cringe,” she said. “You’re going to question yourself a lot sharing this awkward teenage coming-of-age stuff and you can’t go back. I’m just a human who makes mistakes and tries my best. I’ll I always have regrets in life, but I’m ok with sharing them.

For “SEVENTEEN,” Abby worked with French-American podcast network Paradiso Media and produced the podcast at Beacon AV Lab, located in the former Beacon High School which has been converted into a media recording studio.

“Everyone has a podcast and thinks they have something to share, but this was created with an amazing media company with producers that just rolled out of the park,” she said. “I just think people are going to really enjoy the experience and you’ll find ways to connect with what you’re hearing.

Beacon-based podcaster Laura Leigh Abby, left, and influencer Leia Immanuel.  Immanuel voices Abby's diary entries in a new podcast.

“SEVENTEEN” is a short series of eight episodes, but with the 15 journals of Abby she’s kept from her youth, there’s hope – and plenty more fodder – for more seasons.

“It wasn’t that hard to go back to my senior year of high school and pick out the most interesting and relevant highlights,” she said.

When not creating podcasts around memories of her teenage years, Abby and Samantha run The Studio @ Beacon and are parents to two young sons.

“I spend most of my time there, so I feel really lucky to have a physical outlet and then this huge creative outlet,” Abby said. “I am a lucky woman.”

Lisa Iannucci is a freelance writer from the Hudson Valley. Contact her at [email protected]

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