It Girl Theory Is the Podcast Making Paris Hilton Cry

it girl theory

What makes an it girl? Kaitlin Gleason and Martha Fearnley are dying to tell you. As the hosts of the podcast It Girl Theory, the two writer-comedians have established themselves as preeminent authorities on the subject. Over the show’s two seasons, Gleason and Fearnley have carved out a niche for themselves at the crossroads of pop worship and cultural theory, adding some surprising names to the it girl canon (they see your Chloë Sevigny and raise you a Dennis Rodman) in the process. Though modest in its social media returns, It Girl Theory has secured the endorsement of a number of notables—welcoming the likes of Caroline Calloway, Ruby McCollister, and Miles McMillan as guests—and has even brought a tear to the eye of the original it girl, Paris Hilton (they sent us the DM to prove it). Mixing the unflagging enthusiasm of a morning show host with the dry, highbrow wit of a cool professor, their takes on celebrity hero worship and cultural anthropology are as entertaining as they are edifying. Today, It Girl Theory rings in its third season, which features appearances from internet starlets including Annie Hamilton and Lauren Servideo. Below, get to know the hosts of your new favorite podcast.


KAITLIN GLEASON: You’re lying on my daybed like this is psychoanalysis, so I’ll ask you the first question.

MARTHA FEARNLEY: Maybe I’ll give better answers because of this divine womanly thing that’s happening to me. I’m usually very in my head, but this experience has forced me into my body.

GLEASON: You are, of course, speaking about your period.


GLEASON: Love that. Qaddafi believed women shouldn’t have to work when they’re menstruating. How did we start this podcast?

FEARNLEY: Well, we met in college. I think you were one of Bard’s great minds.

GLEASON: My senior project panel would agree with you. I thought you were a very chic waif.

FEARNLEY: Thank you.

GLEASON: It evolved out of our conversations about Caroline Calloway. I don’t want to give her too much credit, because she’s since unfollowed us on Instagram, but she was the catalyst. Not to be annoying, but I was reading Tiqqun’s Theory of the Young Girl at the time, which also fed into it. We became obsessed with figuring out why some people just have “it.” Why are some people culturally significant in that way?

FEARNLEY: Do you think the world is ready for us?

GLEASON: I don’t know, it seems like what people want is just a million pics of Lily Rose Depp in wired headphones, so maybe they’re not ready for us. Cultural commentary is so piecemeal on the internet, and I don’t see anyone expanding their views outside the realm of personal opinion.

GLEASON: It’s either “that’s bad,” or “that’s good,” or “this is back and we stan!” I would go so far as to say that the girls are starving for taste and discernment. Like, how do we make sense of it all in a way that’s not just reactionary or contrarian or edge-lordy, but connected to a meaningful framework, rooted in theory or history? 

FEARNLEY: How about we just admit that there’s a higher power, and we’re all pawns.

GLEASON: How do you feel about our ideas making their way into the public domain?

FEARNLEY: An obvious example of that was when Paris Hilton DMed us. That’s when we knew we were on the right track. God themselves spoke to us.

GLEASON: True. She sent us the most beautiful voice note telling us that she loved the episode and it made her cry. I’m forever grateful.



FEARNLEY: It’s so intimate to hear a voice that you’ve heard so often on TV speaking to you directly. Like, she’s coming up with nice things to say about us. In real time.

GLEASON: Wasn’t she on her honeymoon when she sent it?

FEARNLEY: I didn’t know that. Insane. Are you sure she said that?

GLEASON: Now I’m not sure if she said that…

FEARNLEY: I love the idea of you making that up.

GLEASON: Maybe it’s because I’m watching Paris In Love, the best show on television, right now.

FEARNLEY: On Peacock television?

GLEASON: Yes, on Peacock TV. The show, as you know, features the greatest comedian of our time: Kathy Hilton. But still, it felt great to be included in the honeymoon experience.

FEARNLEY: Even if, technically, we weren’t.

GLEASON: I choose to imagine Paris on a lounge chair on the beach, listening to us talk.

FEARNLEY: Honestly, big props to Paris for enduring the audio quality on that episode.

GLEASON: Yeah, It was really bad. Proud of her for sticking with it. That’s textbook it girl.

FEARNLEY: We’ve since greatly improved. We have new mics.

GLEASON: It’s further proof that celebrities just want to be heard. And appreciated.

FEARNLEY: And fiercely defended. That’s what we’re here to do.

GLEASON: I mean, at the end of the day, who’s been on the right side of history this whole time?

FEARNLEY: Paris Hilton, that’s for sure.

it girl theory