CherryPicks started as a review aggregate curated by Miranda Bailey. In a short time it has grown into a network that hosts original blog content, an Instagram Live Show called CherryChat, and a podcast, CherryPop.
CherryChat features live chats and interviews with some of the most in-demand and up-and-coming female-identifying artists in the the industry. McCarthy has had conversations with stars from innovative, female-forward features like The Wilds on Amazon and John Berardo’s Initiation film.
With CherryPop, McCarthy does a deep dive into the depiction of femme/nonbinary sexuality in film and television media. She discusses trends and topics with celebrities whose projects radiate positivity or innovation in the way femme/nonbinary joy, sexuality and pleasure is depicted onscreen.
Both CherryChat and CherryPop are hosted by Meg McCarthy, a collaborator with Bailey who found her niche in the growing network. Season One of CherryPop featured McCarthy along with her co-host Beandrea July. Their impressive lineup of guests ranged from actress Sasheer Zamata (SNL) and intimacy coordinator Amanda Blumenthal, who worked on the first season of the HBO hit, Euphoria to actress Garcelle Beauvais (The Real Housewives of Bevery Hills), who talks about the wonders of sex over a certain age.
This season McCarthy chats with actress Amandla Stenberg (The Hate You Give) who sheds light on the highs and lows of queer femme sexual representation. McCarthy also sits with the creator and cast of HBO’s Run the World and The Girlfriend Experience. The conversations are equal parts inspiring, fun, engaging and thought-provoking.
I was able to hang with McCarthy and talk about the podcast and why the conversations she hosts are so important in today’s entertainment landscape.
The Geekiary: I noticed that Beandrea wasn’t on the roster. Is she still a part of the podcast?
Meg McCarthy: She is not a part of this season due to her killing it in the world! She had some scheduling conflicts.
TG: That’s a good problem to have.
MM: For sure! I love her so much, she’s an amazing woman and we hope to see her again in the future.
July and McCarthy’s rapport was effortless in the way they discussed film.
MM: This season is different from last season. Because my wonderful Beandrea couldn’t join me this time, I wanted it to feel a little different in case we wanted to revisit the format, so this season is a little different in that it’s mostly conversations.
Though July’s presence is missed, McCarthy’s knowledgeable charm shines in every conversation. A former actress and show host herself, McCarthy knows innately how to communicate with her audience, and when it’s something she’s passionate about, her enthusiasm is infectious.
MM: It’s been a wild ride to say the least. I went to Tisch for drama and I’ve been in LA for a little over 10 years. I hate this expression, but it’s true – I’ve worn so many hats! I’ve acted, I’ve produced and hosted. When I was trying to figure out how to transition out of acting and was trying to find a way to stay creative, I wanted to keep true to myself and my love for movies and TV.
McCarthy hosted a popular YouTube show for MovieClips called “Movies With Meg”. The show featured McCarthy giving comedic commentary about the latest releases. She stayed in the digital space for a while before going corporate for a few years.
MM: Finally I found my way back into my love for film and movies thanks to Miranda Bailey, who is badass and has this amazing gift for spotting and nurturing talent which is so rare in our industry.
The pair brainstormed about what project would be best for McCarthy. They took all of her many hats: the hosting, the writing, the producing, the marketing, and that’s how they created the podcast and CherryChats.
MM: I just love talking to people! Connecting is so important, I just eat it up!
TG: It’s such a cool opportunity. The landscape – even ten years ago – is so different from what it is now. Due to the #metoo movement, we see the industry getting rid of these paragons of power and new diverse talent baited and ready to pounce. We’re seeing this pouncing now where we’re seeing more female-led projects, projects from people of color and the queer community and it’s such an evolutionary time, it’s so interesting to watch.
McCarthy goes on to mention a conversation she had with Marin Hinkle and Miriam Shor of Before/During/After. Written by Finnerty Steeves, the movie talks a lot about age.
MM: We don’t want to live with regret. With age comes this power of knowledge and this power of not giving a f*ck anymore, and how we wish our younger selves had that mentality. So I think you have to keep the voices loud and the conversations flowing, don’t overthink it and just keep doing it.
TG: What are some positive representations recently of female sexuality in media?
MM: I just have to give kudos to Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You, the period/tampon sex scene. It was one of those moments where I just sat kind of frozen after. My husband was in the other room in his office working. I walked into my husband’s room and said, ‘I think I may have just seen the best moment in my entire life’ and I almost was crying. I was so emotional over it. I was just like ‘Hell yes!’ it was so beautiful.
In the scene, Arbella (Michaela Coel) and Biagio (Marouane) are having sex and she warns him she’s on her period. Biagio says it’s okay and pulls out her tampon. When he goes to finger her, he notices something else inside, a blood clot. He faces it with the same fascination a child gives to a puppy or kitten. Very gentle, almost reverent, forgetting entirely the reason he was there in the first place.
The realness of the scene was both jarring and revolutionary.
TG: I had a journey – when I watched that scene I was like, ‘Oh no, gross! Don’t show that, they don’t need to see that!’ but then I thought, ‘Of course they need to see this, this is real and this is what happens and it’s important.’ Within the span of five seconds this entire rollercoaster happened.
MM: Exactly! I don’t remember if they actually end up having penetrative intercourse, but I still consider it a sex scene. It was a rollercoaster and recently one of the best scenes.
McCarthy went on to mention that she’s become more aware of when projects get it wrong and it makes her appreciate and support the ones that get it right.
MM: Beandrea and I talked about wanting to create authentic and real content. I wanted to be truthful and I love movies and TV. Beandrea had her own personal journey and the more we talked about it, the more we discovered so much meat about ourselves and these films that we’ve treasured and loved as well as filmmakers that are doing wonderful things.
McCarthy mentions Barry Jenkins’s experience consulting his partner Lulu during If Beale Street Could Talk. She’s wonderful at finding cinematic examples to add context to the conversations and it lets you know she’s done the research and takes the content seriously.
TG: Have you found the discussions to be cathartic or therapeutic in their own way?
MM: 100%! It’s so weird for me because this past year and a half, creating and talking to so many incredible women, I feel almost guilty. I’ve done so much growing! The conversations are priceless and I’m learning more now than I ever did in my childhood. I wanna talk, and I wanna talk honestly about the things I care about, the things that keep me up at night and the things that have shaped me. And what I’ve learned is that a lot of other gals wanna do that too!
The reason a podcast like CherryPop is so important is that media is so pervasive. As a latchkey child, TV was the thing that showed me the world outside of my safe cul-de-sac. If the representations on screen are more positive and uplifting, it’s a good start to creating a safe and inclusive environment for everyone. .
This is why the zoomers and the next generation are so interesting to watch. They are becoming more equipped with the knowledge that girls and women and nonbinary folks are sexual beings and that sexuality is a part of being a fully formed person. We’re going to see more diverse points of view because the next audiences are going to demand it.
TG: What’s coming up in the season?
MM: Oh my gosh, so much fun stuff! We’re going to be diving into the music industry with the lovely country music star Cam. She sort of talks about her personal struggles as a woman and how she wanted to identify and present herself sexually. We talked to Herizon Guardiola (Netflix’s The Get Down) – she’s someone who makes me hopeful for the future, the same with Amandla. All of these younger women are so truthful and authentic to themselves.
McCarthy also had the opportunity to sit down with the cast and creators of the new Starz original series: Run the World. Later in the season there’s an episode dedicated to menstruation, and another about how Muslim women are portrayed in media. Actress Lolo Spencer will also be on to talk about representation on screen of the disabled community. It’s a heavily stacked 10-episode season that is sure to leave you wanting more by the end.
MM: It’s gonna be a fun season full of laughs and full of emotion. We do hope to take you on a rollercoaster! That’s how I feel recording; I could be laughing hysterically one minute and being fun and silly, to crying the next and talking about some really serious issues. It’s 10 episodes covering a lot. We used to be called a film review podcast, but I changed it to society and culture because it really is for everyone. Come for the conversation and then have those conversations with others.
CherryPop can be found every Tuesday wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to check them out on Instagram and other socials under: TheCherryPicks.
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