Over the past few years, the terms “self-care” and “wellness” have caught the public’s attention. While uncertainty sucked up most of the air in 2020, the world seemed to rebound by reflecting on, well, just about everything — from past relationships to how not to be a hoarder.
Through social media platforms and podcasts, people have freely discussed and shared the most intimate details of their lives, ranging from banal shopping lists to their most personal feelings and secrets. This outpouring has translated into opportunities for self-help businesses to thrive and tech platforms to fuel this explosion. So how could anyone possibly benefit by airing out their dirty laundry in such a public way? Jessica Weckherlin and Lawrie Wallace, founders of The Bad Ass Ladies Club
, a podcast that focuses on such discourse, believe this act is nothing short of empowering.
“It’s all about a healing journey, and the nitty gritty, dirty things that come about through the course of this journey,” Wallace says. "Vulnerability is a real strength when connecting with other people."
On Oct. 5, 2021, the two friends and beauty industry veterans launched the podcast with the simple goal of helping people talk about their feelings. Their idea for a show came about during the lockdown, as both Wallace and Weckherlin were looking for answers to tough questions and decided to open up their personal conversations to the public for discussion, feedback and sometimes even scrutiny.
Jessica Weckherlin (left) and Lawrie Wallace are founders of the podcast The Bad Ass Ladies Club, which they started last year.
Charlet Lee/Sacred Exposure
“During the pandemic we were looking for a leader to help support us, and we weren’t getting that at work, so we had to become our own leaders,” Weckherlin says. "So much of it also was that we were best friends and already supported each other. Not everyone had that, so Badass Ladies Club
was about creating a community of support for people during a really fucked-up time."
After one year, the duo has produced more than 100 episodes, covering topics from self-love to addiction. Neither is a licensed medical professional, something they're adamant that their audience knows. But they believe that through these discussions about their own personal struggles and with guests on the show, they are helping listeners reshape the way they think of themselves and their life goals. At the center of all podcast discussions lies the nucleus of self-care: a well-balanced life and good mental health.
“The truth of the matter is that Lawrie and I were textbook examples of workaholics,” Weckherlin says. "We were not aligned with the way we were working and were starting to understand that the jobs we were in were also out of line with where we wanted to go. We wanted to work together outside of the salon, and were really good at talking about things. We needed this platform together."
As the podcast garnered more attention, the pair realized that their guests and listeners were becoming more involved with the lifestyle associated with Badass Ladies Club
, and they decided to offer a more hands-on approach to their healing journey methods with the help of a few friends. Topics on the podcast morphed from self-love and addiction to the more esoteric — ancient practices of yoga, breathwork and group healing sessions.
“After over 100 episodes, the podcast is still evolving. We’ve covered a lot of ground, and now this has turned into something else besides the podcast,” Weckherlin says. "We are wanting to pursue some of these new things and are looking at a lot of different opportunities to do so."
It was this natural progression that inspired the duo to start hosting a yearly retreat for patrons to reconnect with nature and take part in new private healing rituals, to be discussed only among participants. Although all sexes are welcome to join, so far the sold-out trips have been all-female. Activities at their most recent retreat, in Costa Rica, included surfing, massages, art processing and the "full moon release and receive fire" ceremony. Wallace and Weckherlin believe this ritual helps people identify what they're ready to let go of and to make room for new things in their lives.
“Energetically, we hold onto things that take up a lot of space that we ultimately need to shed,” Wallace says. "This ritual helps make room for something new to take root. Also, we are an all-inclusive group, and although the title is Badass Ladies Club
, the retreats are open to everyone. Men doing this kind of work is good for all of us."
Beyond the podcast and yearly retreats, the duo recently started focusing intently on monthly breathwork classes. Breathwork originated in Buddhism and through Eastern practices such as yoga, but it got a bit of a remix in the 1960s by Stanislav Grof as an alternative to LSD-induced psychedelic therapy. Some who practice breathwork have reported subtle sleepiness, while others have reported altered consciousness similar to taking psychedelics. Both Wallace and Weckherlin believe that through breathwork, practitioners can both heal and get in touch with their unconscious mind — and in some cases even induce contact with deceased loved ones.
“There’s a lot of ancestor reconnections through breathwork, and the best part of it is that no one else is involved and it’s really a personal experience,” Wallace says. "It puts me in touch with my own healing capabilities."
For Weckherlin, breathwork equates to personal clarity, an experience she is not afraid to share with all of their listeners and clients alike.
“For me, breathwork has been an empowering journey of what I am capable of acknowledging on my own healing journey,” Weckerlin says. "However, sometimes breathwork is loud. There’s screaming, crying and I’ve seen some really interesting things. In the end, people always get what they need, though, because it helps process things."
With the podcast, monthly classes and yearly retreats, Wallace and Weckherlin have found what they were looking for, a community of patrons and listeners eager to try their own version of a personal healing journey. With Badass Ladies Club
now a lifestyle brand of sorts, the longtime friends are eager to keep exploring and evolving together. Weckherlin and Wallace have been called charlatans, but they are not fazed by the accusations.
“We are not claiming to be doctors or therapists,” Weckherlin says. "We are messy humans having a messy experience. For the record, we both honor and appreciate people in the mental health field, and we are not trying to be that. At the end of the day, we are not diagnosing and not fixing. We are holding space for people to go on their own healthy journey, whatever that looks like."