"All I ask is people just be vulnerable and honest," the 28-year-old told E! News' Francesca Amiker ahead of the second season premiere of her wildly popular Spotify show, which in addition to the raunchy relationship talk listeners expect features candid sit-downs with the likes of Rachel Bilson, Miley Cyrus and—in what was cheered as her most revealing interview to date—Hailey Bieber.
"Sometimes people aren't ready to do that," Cooper added, "and I've had people circle back around months later and be ready. It really is just a give or take of where they're at, but I do think that Call Her Daddy now has this expectation of, 'Let's keep it real.'"
Besides, said the host who was one of Spotify's most streamed podcasters of 2022 (second only to Joe Rogan), she owes it to her loyal fanbase—the "Daddy Gang," who've been with her "since day one," she explained. "I've got to provide them with entertainment while also respecting my guests."
Cooper launched Call Her Daddy with then-roommate Sofia Franklyn in 2018 and after barely a month their show was acquired by bro-centric Barstool Sports—which, as Cooper described it in an introductory post for the site, was actually a natural fit for their "uncensored, real, female locker room talk."
In just two months Call Her Daddy was downloaded more than 12 million times and the enthusiasm never waned. Spotify took notice of the show's huge following and, looking to add to its stable of exclusive content, bought it for $60 million in the summer of 2021. (Franklyn left the show in 2020 following a salary dispute.)
Moving from having a more targeted, albeit still massive, audience to being one of Spotify's marquee names did result in some changes to Call Her Daddy—Cooper told E! her big splurge was to actually hire a staff after years of going it alone—but not her approach to hosting. She sees the show's evolution as a natural extension of her own personal growth and changing interests rather than a concerted effort to be more broadly appealing.
And though not every episode of her podcast is the lots-of-sex, most-of-the-time extravaganza it started out as, Cooper still goes there. As her Nov. 29 treatise on showing up to a cocktail soiree alone, getting hammered to soothe her nerves and leaving with a whole new friend squad showed, she's still radiantly honest—and hilarious—about the times she feels less-than and the relatable ways she works it out.
E!: What do you think is the biggest misconception about you?
Alex Cooper: I would say a lot of people don't know if I'm going to be, like, a bitchy mean-girl. I don't know if it's the blonde hair, but I definitely understand that on social media we just pre-judge people. We only get snippets. But I think I am a nice person, I think I get along with people—or most everyone. And I think it shows through as to why people are so comfortable to open up to me, because the minute I meet people, my guests feel very safe and they feel that warmth. It's just like we're hanging in my house, let's have a girl talk chat.
E!: You're so candid and open about your life and what others may perceive as taboo topics, but is there anything you won't discuss?
AC: No. I used to say, "Maybe not politics," and then this year I started getting into politics. I always joke, "I don't know what's wrong with me and I need to talk to my therapist about it," but I have no issue. If me being vulnerable and open on the internet helps other people feel connected and seen, I'm OK with that. I have nothing that I wouldn't talk about, so I think that's maybe rare, but it truly is to my core what I believe. Ask me anything and I will answer the question—and I'm honest, I don't need a PR person sitting next to me. I'm an open book.
E!: Call Her Daddy started as this sexually provocative podcast, and now you're interviewing the biggest stars, you're covering politics. Was this transition always a goal?
AC: Talking about sex and relationships, I really felt like it was needed in the moment. There wasn't an energy of a woman coming on and talking like we've heard Howard Stern, etcetera, so I think there was a place in the market for it. But inevitably I was growing as a human being, and I wasn't wanting to talk about sex every single week. Don't get me wrong, still want to talk dating, relationships and sex. But I was eager to talk about other topics, and it started to feel like I was pigeonholing myself to only be able to talk about a specific topic, which is just not natural as a human being.
I think the natural evolution came from me as a creator feeling like it was getting stale—and then just being nervous while hoping that my audience would be OK with the transition. It was remarkable to see that, ever since I've transitioned the show to talking about a multitude of different topics in different styles, the audience has only grown bigger, so that's every creator's dream.
E!: How do you feel about this incredible success?
AC: It's truly a dream come true. Sometimes it doesn't feel real, just because, as a podcaster, I don't leave my house. People will come and sit down with me and I don't see the millions of people that are listening. But it is incredible, when I see the show charting and getting the recognition that it deserves. My goal is to make Call Her Daddy the best show it can be, and I really believe it deserves that success because the brand has had such an incredible evolution that I don't know many other shows have been able to sustain. I'm really grateful.
E!: How did you and your team make that Hailey Baldwin interview happen?
AC: Call Her Daddy is so unconventional and untraditional: One week I can be DMing someone and they come on, or one week my booking team helps me. I met Hailey once, I think it was over a year ago when I did her YouTube series [Who's in My Bathroom?], and I think we immediately felt this respect of each other, just two women in the industry trying to navigate our own personal careers. I had reached out, asked if she wanted to come on, and it was like, "Yeah, let's do it." Hailey obviously had in mind what she wanted to talk about and I hoped that I facilitated the conversation in a way that people felt like we got to see a human part of Hailey that can get misconstrued on the internet. I have so much respect for her, she's an incredible human being. It just makes me really happy that it was positive for her.
E!: Why do you feel like she chose Call Her Daddy to finally speak on the speculation and the rumors about her life and marriage?
AC: We did not know each other. I'm not, like, texting Hailey. It was a moment where I think she said to me, "I know I met you once, but I trust you and I really respect your platform and how you handle interviews respectfully." When anyone is opening up, I think they want to be in a space where they know it's going to be held with respect and care, and not feel pushed to go in certain places that they may not want to go. So I will always be grateful to Hailey for trusting me with that.
E!: Is there a rule to coming on your podcast with regards to what you're allowed to ask or how far you're allowed to take things?
AC: Call Her Daddy has this reputation now where I don't really need to say much. I think when people know they're coming on, there's an expectation that you'll open up and you're going to go there. What I always articulate to people is that, my goal is never to trick someone or trip them up or have them feel like I'm out to get a headline. There's always going to be a headline, but it is just a genuine conversation I'm trying to have to humanize someone. I think that's why podcasting is incredible, because we get to see more of the 360 POV of someone's life, rather than a picture on Instagram—or just a headline.
E!: Do you feel like it's easier to book guests now that you've become so popular or has being known for your honesty hindered who might come on?
AC: No, it's definitely helped. I think that people see the caliber of the interviews and just overall have a lot more respect for Call Her Daddy. It is a lot easier now, which I am very grateful for.
E!: Out of all the guests you've hosted over the years, who would you say surprised you the most?
AC: I genuinely hate that I have to say this, but I can't answer that—only because of the amount of times that I have sat in that studio and been so shocked at the level of openness that people have shared with me. I have so much respect for anyone that's come on Call Her Daddy. I can't choose, just because I think the level of vulnerability continues to elevate so that I'm always surprised.
E! Who is your dream interview and what's the one topic you'd love to ask them about?
AC: I have two answers. Number one is Oprah. I would just be happy to sit down with her and I'd have to wing it, just like whatever came from the heart as I'm sitting in front of an absolute genius and a legend. I think the other person is Taylor Swift. I mean, it just makes sense. Taylor Swift, Call Her Daddy—I've been saying it for so long. She's an icon.
E!: How did it feel to switch places and appear as a guest on Emily Ratajkowsi's podcast recently?
AC: It wasn't easy. I was asking Emily questions and I'm like, 'Alex shut up, stop doing this.' It was fun to not have to have all the control for a minute but I couldn't help but interview during her own damn podcast. I definitely need to get more used to being interviewed myself.
E!: How would you describe season two of Call Her Daddy in three words?
AC: Thought-provoking, fiery, bold—and confident. Sorry to throw that in there. I think I've gotten more confident with the shift to you never know what you're going to get [each week], it's a goddamn roller coaster. We're going to be laughing one week, crying one week, we're going to have solo, we're going to have a vlog style—I'm truly doing whatever I think is interesting. I know it's probably breaking all the podcast rules, but I'm entertained by it and I can tell the Daddy Gang is, so I'm just going to keep going with it.
(This interview was edited for length and clarity.)