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Not to say it’s all work and no play, the business of taking over the world. When you’re Alex Cooper, play might even be the point. There are movie premiere parties in NYC where you invite literally everyone on Instagram to join you at the bar (and they do, clicking like giddy magnets into a line around the block; jumping to take shots with you and Alix Earle; crowding in around you as the velvet rope to the VIP section falls to the floor1). Glitzy trips to the South of France to attend fancy dinners with fellow boldface names.2 Hilarious sexual hijinks with your hot fiancé slash business partner that you happily tell millions of people about.3 In short, this woman is fun, and that’s part of her power.

alex cooper
alex cooper
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But it’s hard to build a legitimate brand around your personality, despite how much of a blast the 29-year-old Call Her Daddy host makes it seem. Hard because the fun you’re so visible for suggests that you’re not also running around behind the scenes leading marathon meetings with lawyers about intellectual property or plotting out strategic pivots to your distribution strategy or pulling all-nighters to finesse your wildly successful core product, which is successful because of how carefully you tend to every last detail. Hard because those who look too quickly could miss the fact that you’re not only the loud voice but also the savvy brain, coming up with all the genius ideas that make the whole thing move.

And move it does: In the two years since Alex broke records with a $60 million Spotify deal for her podcast—a young woman’s take on feminism in all its real and raunchy glory—she’s bagged some of the most enviable celebrity interviews imaginable4; hit number one on the Spotify podcast charts in 46 different markets including the U.S., the UK, Canada, and Australia; cofounded a whole new media company called Trending that will operate her own podcast network, Unwell; announced an international tour; and carried a colossal fleet of die-hard fans along with her for the ride.

1. The magazine metaphors write themselves: This is what it is to be in Alex Cooper’s orbit. Everyone is a VIP.

2. Though she steals the show no matter who’s there—see page 7 of our magazine for proof.

3. The man is movie producer Matt Kaplan; the hijinks involve a missing tampon and a phone flashlight.

4. Like, you know, getting Gwyneth Paltrow to admit which of her exes was better in bed. *kicks self for not getting this for Cosmo*

alex cooper

Honestly, I’m tired just watching her. As Cosmo’s editor-in-chief, I know what it takes to jump from business meetings to story brainstorms to TV appearances to red carpets and back again. The difference between me and Alex (aside from the minor detail of me not being a gajillionaire) is that I am a normal human person who, yes, is good at turning it on when I need to but who still has an off mode.

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Not her. And now that I’ve studied her up close—moderated panels with her, sat next to her at dinners, whispered with her backstage at events, spent hours going deep about her life and her future for this interview—I’m convinced of two things: one, that Alex Cooper may very well be Earth’s most impressive source of renewable energy. And two, that she’s not driven by her own gain but by her own growth. Hence her disarming candor, her endlessly marketable authenticity. Hence it seeming like this is just the beginning of a very long ride to an unfathomably huge height.

How are you feeling right now, in this wild moment of your life?

My parents are visiting, and they’re like, “Oh my god, this is what your life is like all the time?” I have meetings until the sun is down and I’m on Zooms 24/7, but I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, so for me, this is what happiness looks like. I think also, with my personal life, it’s been nice that I’m trying to plan a wedding in the midst of launching a company. Interesting timing that Matt and I chose to do both, but it’s allowing me to go with the flow and not sit and ruminate about things there’s no point in sitting and stressing about.

Ah yes, the coping mechanism of a true work addict.

I am a bit of a workaholic. I can never emphasize enough how obsessed I am with creating experiences for people to consume. This was never about fame. This was never about money. If I stop getting paid for this tomorrow, I’m going to still do it.

alex cooper

Maybe don’t tell Spotify that when you negotiate your next contract. Speaking of, what will happen when the one that made headlines5 is up next year?

My relationship with them so far has been amazing. I’m very hands on with my product, as you know, and I need a partnership of people that are going to just be like, “Do your thing.” They’ve been great. So yeah, I’m going to do a renegotiation and see what happens. It’s a little bit different now because I’m not just the show—I have a network of people and it’s a
bigger situation now, so probably the number will be bigger. That’s something I’ve been thinking about: “Is it good or bad for the number to come out again?”

5. Alex’s Spotify deal made her the highest-paid female podcaster on the platform…

Our world is so weird about women and money. And your financial status has been so widely reported on6 that you’re in an interesting place of transparency.

I had a lot of therapy sessions when the first deal came out. Because I was like, “Whoa, it’s just not normal to have the amount of money you’re making public and that amount at such a young age.” I did see the backlash of “She doesn’t deserve that” or “She’s so greedy.” I’m like, “Oh my god, no one said this about Joe Rogan. No one said this about the SmartLess podcast guys.” But I’m the type of person that loves it, because it means there’s opportunity to help the conversation progress. It’s less about me….It’s a new benchmark for women in the industry.

6….launching her from she’s-doing-well into holy-shit-she’s-rich territory.

I love something you said to me recently in response to the perception that a woman who’s assertive about getting what she wants is a bitch—you were like, “I’d so much rather be called a bitch and get what I want.”

Yeah, I’m going to be louder and more aggressive so other women look great when they come out and say certain things. I think it’s okay to be called a bitch for that. I don’t want to be known as the woman that really took it, played it safe, and was silent—that’s just giving them what they want. I know so many men are uncomfortable with what I’m doing, and I love it. I’m going to keep doing it.

And now you have these big new ventures, Trending and the Unwell Network. What’s your vision?

When Matt and I met,7 every single night we would talk about what was going on in our businesses. He would come home with a movie script and I’d be like, “Wait, I know I can make this better.” We’ve just been so enamored with each other’s industries. And being a film and television major, I always really wanted to be a producer or director. I was like, “You are literally in the industry that I want to break into, and I’m also in the industry that you can help grow.” So we decided, why don’t we put our ventures together and make everything even bigger?

7. The pair famously connected on a work Zoom, hence her public nickname for him—Mr. hot Zoom Man—before she revealed his true identity on her show.

You signed influencers Alix Earle and Madeline Argy to launch podcasts with Unwell. What’s it like being their boss?

It’s been fun to put on the producing hat and to give them an outline of like, “This is what your podcast should look like.” But on the other end, being like, “But let me be so clear: I’m here to help. You’re the star. You got here because you are so talented.”

The other day, Madeline was preparing to do her first big interview, so I sat on the phone with her to practice. Everyone always asks why celebrities open up to me like that on Call Her Daddy, and I think it takes you actually meeting me to understand. So it’s like a passing of the baton to the next generation I believe in.

With Alix, I remember seeing her make a TikTok like, “Oh my gosh, Alex Cooper. My idol just followed me.” I didn’t realize that she even knew me. We went to brunch8 and just hit it off and didn’t stop talking.

8. “We’re both so not bougie like this, but we went to a private club where phones aren’t allowed because we didn’t want it to leak, so we got to just sit drinking Bloody Marys having the time of our lives.”

alex cooper

There’s an annoying alternate universe we choose not to live in where you and Alix would be seen as each other’s competition.

Before this announcement, people would comment, “We know that Alex Cooper doesn’t want to have Alix Earle on because she doesn’t want to help Alix Earle, and Alix Earle doesn’t want to cross over with Alex Cooper.” It was this whole conspiracy. It was interesting to see how people think about women in media, that two huge forces on their own have to stay separate because their brands are slightly similar. But actually, the two of us were like, “If we align, we could take over the world.”

Call Her Daddy has evolved a lot since you first launched. How have you thought about its progression?

In the beginning, it had a very comedic angle of talking about sex. But now when I talk about sex, it’s in a more mature and honest way. Instead of me in the past maybe saying, “Oh, if he doesn’t go down on you, just break up with him” as a joke, now I’m saying that that could actually be deeply rooted in a misogynistic problem in society. Why will he not please you but you have to please him?

alex cooper

I mean, Cosmo’s been agitating for women’s sexual agency since Helen Gurley Brown took the helm in 1965, and nearly 60 years later, we’re still having to wage so many of the same wars.

We could write a whole dissertation on this. I think it’s so important for us to keep talking about sex. Because it’s not actually about sex—it’s about the equality of the sexes. It’s going to take a lot of people being uncomfortable and upset and mad and calling us whores and sluts. The only reason that Gen Z is able to stand up and say, “We demand this type of respect and openness and inclusiveness” is because of the work that every generation before them did. When I interviewed Jane Fonda, I thanked her over and over again. Had people like Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem not done what they did, I couldn’t be sitting here today with Call Her Daddy. And that’s the goal, is to keep talking so every generation has more of an opportunity to feel less like the last one did.

I still get the comments. I just put out an episode reminiscing on my experiences in Boston.9 There were a lot of people messaging me being like, “How dare you? This is so fucking slutty and disgusting. You whore. You have a fiancé now, you can’t speak that way.” It’s all projection. Matt was like, “The episode’s great. Love you.”

9. From the episode description: “A failed date with a Patriots player? An NHL player with the largest curved penis known to man? Prepare for an absolute ride that takes you on a journey down Big Al’s Boston athlete memory lane.”

alex cooper

From spending time with you and Matt, it’s so apparent that you have this really respectful partnership.

Matt is so confident and not cocky. He knows who he is. He knows what he
stands for. He’s the most giving person. He’s also the most romantic man I’ve ever met in my life. I’ll be leaving for work and there will be three notes: One as I go down the stairs being like, “I love you. Have the best day,” and then I get into the kitchen and it’s another note. Then he leaves one on my windshield. I’m like, what did I do to deserve this man?

That’s not to say that we don’t fight. But Matt and I have put so much work into this relationship that when we’re having a disagreement, we’re coming from such a place of love. No one’s winning. We don’t need to prove points. It’s about, how do we get back to making sure we both feel good and seen in the relationship?

What are you like as a partner?

I am the most emotionally present person. Sometimes when Matt’s going through it, he has a hard time allowing himself to acknowledge it. Matt is learning to open up. I think I’ve allowed our relationship to grow because of the work I’ve put into, like, “No, let’s sit down at the table tonight, let’s put our phones down. What was your day like?”

We have been so busy recently. We ate cereal twice in a row for dinner and we were both still on calls with lawyers and then we got into bed and we were just like, “Whoa.” So the other night, I made a huge cheese board for us and I poured us whiskey, because that’s the drink that we fell in love over, and we went out to the pool and we got in naked with our whiskeys. We were just floating around, making out, catching up on our days. We threw our phones in the house. I really do a good job, I think, at slowing things down and emotionally reconnecting to make sure that we’re good, we’re solid.

How’s the wedding planning going?

It’s been truly insane. I think our wedding planners are very entertained by me, but in the beginning, they were concerned. I have literally gone from wanting it to be in Utah to Aspen to Hawaii to California to Tennessee to this ranch in Colorado to this place in Wyoming to London to Paris to somewhere in North Carolina. And now we’ve decided to do it in a tropical location. The next time we talk, I could be like “Oh, we’re going to…” and then some random place that has nothing to do with that, so stay tuned.

But if this keeps spiraling to the point where we can’t find a way to relax, courthouse, baby. I don’t want it to be about anything but Matt and me, especially with how busy our lives are. I’m like, “We need this.” We need this small intimate moment, so let’s make sure the people that are there just get to celebrate and not make it about anything else.

How do you feel about bridesmaids?

My bridesmaids know who they are, but they won’t be wearing the same color dresses or standing up there with me and Matt. They’re my bridesmaids because they’re my best friends. Friendship means everything to me.

I’ve had the same four best friends since I was in second and third grade, and they’ve been my rocks. I don’t have a best friend in the industry; I’ve kept it very Newtown, Pennsylvania. It takes work because they don’t live near me, but I put in that work. I am constantly checking in. If I can’t see them, I’ll send them things if they’re moving or it’s a birthday or whatever. We overcommunicate….I just require that in relationships. Matt always jokes, “When one of your friends is going through something, we’re all going through it until it’s resolved.”

They treat me the exact same way they did when we were in our little soccer uniforms at school. I remember going through my Spotify deal and I was having a mental breakdown because I was just like, “The world is staring at me,” and they came and hung out and drank tequila and played board games. They were like, “We’ll remind you who you are.” They’ve always been there for me when I’ve gone through things.

alex cooper

A year ago, you mentioned in an interview that you had a traumatic experience with a coach when you were playing soccer at Boston University. You weren’t ready to talk about it then because you hadn’t healed from it yet…are you comfortable telling me about that journey?

I’m in the process, which I’m proud of myself for. Now that I’ve created this platform, I feel new wisdom in certain aspects of my life, from experience and therapy and people I surround myself with…but with this specific thing, it’s so personal to me and it took such a toll on my mental health.

Recently, I reconnected with a lot of the people that I played soccer with who were around when things were happening and it’s been pretty cathartic. I met up with one of my teammates in Santa Monica who I hadn’t seen since we graduated—we didn’t even say hi, we just both started crying. There’s another woman that went through it with me, and we finally saw each other recently and it’s just wild to talk about it together. Connecting with these other women with these scars, that’s the first step to me actually being like, “Oh my god, I’m feeling better.”

alex cooper

And once you’re fully there, you have a supportive audience ready to listen.

The Daddy Gang sends me messages like, “Whenever you’re ready for the story, we will be here. And there’s no pressure.” I will definitely discuss it on the podcast. I just don’t know when. This one topic just sits in a drawer in my brain, and it’s slightly opened now and I know it’s there, but I’m not going to force myself to go there until I’m like, “All right, I’m really ready.” I think it’s going to be a much larger conversation. I’m not the only person something like this has happened to. It’s not just going to be about what happened to me—it’s going to be about rallying other women together.

The kind of thing Cosmo cares deeply about.

Cosmo has a special place in my heart, and it gives me chills when I think about begging my older sister to let me read it with her or trying to find out if my friends’ moms had it at their houses. I remember feeling so inspired as a young, insecure woman that there was a place where you could read about things that were taboo in our culture. It feels so cool and full-circle to sit here now with the editor of a magazine that literally changed how generations of women think about things.

What would you say to that younger self now?

Fuck everyone who makes you feel like you’re not good enough, because you are. I wish I could go back and tell that awkward girl writing sad thoughts in her diary: “We made it, Alex. You’re going to be fine.”

Lead image: Loewe dress, Bergdorf Goodman. Gianvito Rossi heels. Material Good earrings. Sydney Evan necklace. Yvonne Léon ring (left). Grace Lee ring (right).

Stylist: Cassie Anderson. Hair: Joseph Maine for Trademark Beauty and Color Wow. Makeup: Jenna Kristina at Forward Artists using Maybelline. Manicure: Kimmie Kyees using Mia Secret. Production: Photobomb Production.

Executive producer: Abbey Adkison. Director of photography: Jennifer Cox. Camera assistant: Darren Kho. Sound: Michael Rich. Editing: Sarah Ng.

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