Consummate New Yorker Ali Wentworth had a rough spring after contracting COVID-19. Laid up in bed for weeks, she thought a lot about raising young women in today’s world and how the pandemic would effect her children and parenting. Wentworth and husband, Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos, had a lot of time together at the family’s homes in New York City and the Hamptons to reflect on this time and decided to take action. So the comedian, actress and New York Times best-selling author set off to create a podcast, Go Ask Ali, in which she speaks with doctors, experts and friends about raising teenagers and nurturing relationships in a pandemic.
We talked to the triple threat about the launch and how she’s staying sane.
What made you want to debut this podcast now?
I was laying in bed sick as a dog with COVID-19. I could hear my two teenage daughters downstairs and I thought ‘well how the hell am I going to grow these teenagers in a pandemic?’ I had been working with Shondaland to create a podcast and this seems like a natural one. All the questions I’m asking are ones I need to know answers to personally!
Why was this a natural progression for you from being an actress and writer?
I think being an actor and being a writer can go hand in hand. I love the creativity of expressing with words and, consequently, saying them. Particularly comedy!
How did you choose the experts you spoke with?
I chose guests who were experts in the area we were discussing. One episode is about teenage boys and so I had Cara Natterson on because she wrote the best seller Decoding Boys. I had Brooke Shields on because she was someone who was sexualized as a young girl and now she has teenage daughters and I was curious how she deals with social media.
What lessons have you learned from your podcast guests?
There are many take-aways. The guests are people picked for their expertise and information. The guests are on my podcast to educate my listeners.
What has been the hardest part of being locked down with your husband and two teenage daughters?
There has been nothing too hard of being in lockdown with my family. I love them and I am grateful for this unique time together. It’s overshadowed by my fears and concerns about the world, our government and the people who are suffering and dying from COVID-19. I’m trying to hold onto my husband and girls and appreciate this moment.
How are your daughters being educated right now?
My girls are remote learning. It’s difficult and sad to me they aren’t having a full school experience. I have a senior who may not have prom, graduation and many of the milestones students get to experience. But we are healthy and we want to protect people, so if this is what we need to do, we do it!
Have you gotten back into the swing of New York City in the fall?
This is an unusual fall. The swing is stuck up in a limb. Nothing is normal about it. The only things that feel familiar are walking through the park (with a mask) and viewing the changing leaves.
Have you felt any lingering symptoms after recovering from COVID-19?
No lingering symptoms. Unfortunately, any aches and pains, I fear, are age related.
What got you through quarantine?
Cooking family dinners, watching a movie every night and having dogs that needed fresh air. I rewatched all of Mad Men. I don’t think we will ever go back to watching one episode at a time. Binging is the new normal.
What are you excited to do again when this is “over?”
Take off my mask.