Julia Fox & Niki Takesh Are Doing It for the Weirdos
The podcast hosts discuss switching to video for season two, their dream guests, and why TikTok just isn’t what it used to be.
“Niki, what does meth taste like?” Julia Fox asks her Forbidden Fruits cohost, Niki Takesh, eight minutes into the premiere of the podcast’s second season. To be fair, Fox isn’t wondering for herself (she has admittedly done the drug twice). A fan submitted the question when Fox crowdsourced topics for the show’s return on Instagram days before; it’s an apt example of what listeners can expect from Fox and Takesh’s podcast—taboo topics, outspoken commentary, completely unfiltered stories.
“If it naturally comes up in conversation, Niki and I are willing to go there and divulge things about our own life and our own personal experiences,” Fox tells W over the phone. Following the season’s premiere—which dropped Friday on Spotify in a new video format—the hosts will welcome an array of guests from Fyre Festival villain Billy McFarland to Amber Rose, who will face the firing squad of questions from Fox and Takesh. “If our guests are going to come on and open up, it only seems fair that we reciprocate and create that space for everyone to be honest,” Fox adds.
Of course, it’s not hard for this duo to be truthful. We’re talking about a woman who opened up her reportedly mouse-infested one-bedroom Manhattan apartment to the world for a tour and another who revealed Cardi B’s pregnancy on The Wendy Williams Show weeks before the rapper could do so herself. Now, as season two is underway, that aggressive transparency remains—and there’s an assumption that it will be upheld by their guests as well. “Our podcast is a safe place,” Fox says. “We want weirdos. We want people who aren’t afraid to ask questions. We want people that break the mold.” Calling in from Los Angeles, the podcast hosts open up about season two, Fox’s upcoming memoir, and what their TikTok For Your Pages are serving them these days.
What can fans expect from season two?
Niki Takesh: Expect a lot of the unexpected. It’s a lot more visual, and more of a production. It’s now a theatrical show.
Julia Fox: This is just a continuation of what we already started. We’re called Forbidden Fruits, so when it comes to the caliber of the guests, we do always want to keep that element of—not dark, per se—but we definitely want people that have a unique and interesting perspective on something or have a unique experience in life. We like talking to the other.
In the first episode, you mention Courtney Stodden as one of your dream guests. Is there anyone else you’re dying to have on, that fits into this otherness?
NT: There are a couple people on death row I would love to have on. But I think our dream guests are just people that normally have never spoken up.
JF: Or canceled people.
NT: Yeah, we love canceled people.
Why did you decide to move to a video format?
JF: Our listeners kept saying they wished they could see us.
NT: And the outfits are so important to us.
JF: Yeah, the fashion. We highlight a lot of emerging designers.
Have you ever pitched a guest who said no because they were too scared to come on?
NT: Absolutely. We get a lot of nos because people are too scared to be confronted with the hard-hitting questions. I hope that, with season two coming out on video, it’ll lure more potential guests.
Who do you consider to be your target audience?
NT: I would love if men listened to our podcast.
JF: Yeah, they could learn a lot about women and our predicaments, why we feel a certain way. As a culture, a lot of things are shifting and we touch on all of those things because we want to be at the forefront of that. We want to talk about figures that are culturally relevant, even if they’re not being recognized by the mainstream media.
NT: It’s a show for everyone, but I’m sure men will hate it.
JF: But also, we have a large queer following. We really speak to the queer communities, marginalized communities. That’s who we get up for in the morning.
NT: Yeah. The weirdos, the outcasts.
NT: Depressed people.
JF: Mentally ill people.
NT: The mentally ill girlies.
Julia, I know you just finished your book. Is there anything you can tell us about it?
JF: It’s definitely the full tea. I think a lot of women in particular are going to be able to identify with it. I wasn’t afraid to go there and be vulnerable. And I just hope it can resonate with other Millennial women who grew up during the same time as me.
Did you read any other memoirs to help you with the process?
JF: I did purchase some memoirs because I was like, “Let me read these and see how I want to approach mine,” but I didn’t even end up reading them. I just went straight to the computer and it just poured out of me. It happened organically, I didn’t have to force it. It was really cathartic and I highly recommend that everyone, famous or not, write down their life’s story.
What made you feel ready to do this now?
JF: It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. I used to stay up all night writing short stories and then I’d read them to my brother. He was my main audience and he loved them and always encouraged me to keep going. Writing has always been a part of my life, so it was more like, “Oh, finally I get to do it.” I’m sure there will be more books, because I just love writing. I feel like it’s my strongest form of communication.
Okay, let’s get into some Culture Diet questions. Do either of you listen to other podcasts?
NT: I have some guilty pleasure ones.
JF: Don't say Joe Rogan.
NT: No, I was going to say No Jumper, which is honestly more embarrassing. Oh, I actually really love Steve-O’s too. He does it out of an RV and he has a really crazy voice, so it’s hard to listen to. But he’s really funny and has good guests.
You’re both pretty active on TikTok. What are your favorite trends or people to follow at the moment?
JF: I love @theconsciouslee on TikTok. He’s amazing. I also love @spiritualwhistleblower.
NT: I mostly follow dog and exotic pet accounts. And on Instagram, The Dodo.
What do your For You Pages look like?
JF: Trauma. Trauma dumping.
NT: I get a lot of makeup tutorials, fashion designers, and kids making stuff out of soda cans. I have an amazing algorithm.
It seems like Julia, every time you post on TikTok, it becomes a headline. Has that changed the way you post?
JF: Yes, definitely.
NT: She’s misunderstood.
JF: And also, I forget that I’m famous, so sometimes I will just post and it won’t really mean anything and then it spirals and gets taken out of context. It does feel like TikTok's changed a little bit. It was more of a safe space and now it’s super mainstream. There are a lot of really negative people on it.
NT: The dark beings are slowly filtering their way into TikTok.
JF: They’ve found it.
NT: The trolls have arrived, and they’ve come to colonize.
What’s the last movie you watched?
JF: I think we watched the Chris Rock Netflix special.
NT: We both watched it last night. I loved it. I mean, I didn’t agree with all of it, but I think he was an amazing stand-up performance.
JF: I thought his take on the Will Smith Oscars slap situation was funny.
What about TV shows?
NT: I’m not going to lie, ever since TikTok, I don’t watch as much TV as I used to. Why am I going to sit around on Netflix and look for something that’s kind of good when I can just scroll on TikTok and be entertained for the hour? I started watching The Last of Us because everyone was talking about it. It’s whatever. I finished it. I just wanted to feel part of something.
What albums or playlists are you listening to at the moment?
NT: I’m not really a playlist girl—I’m actually an album girl. I love the start to finish. I’ve got Miley [Cyrus’s] new album that just came out. We’re waiting for Lana Del Rey’s new album this week. We love Ice Spice.
JF: I’ve been listening to weird, old music—like The Cardigans, Sublime, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, all the girls.
And finally, what’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
JF: TikTok, for sure.
NT: Vape. I’m actually weird, though. I like to read before I fall asleep, so I’ll be reading articles or Reddit, which I use as a news source.
JF: I like Reddit, too.
NT: Honestly, my news source is the Apple News app—when it just pops up and serves me a breaking TMZ story. As far as Reddit, I’m in a 30-plus skincare subreddit. I am in a Bam Margera one. I’m in 30-plus Hair, ADHD to ADHD Woman. I’m in Crypto, Dogecoin, Entrepreneur, Fuck Travis Scott, Gabby Petito, Idaho Four, Idaho Murders, Idaho Murders NSFW. A bunch of different cases, all the missing girls I'm trying to find. But mostly, I look at pop culture. I’ve always loved every aspect of it: I love celebrities. I love messes. I love scandals. I love voyeurism.