Anita Rao

Managing Editor, "The State of Things"/ Host, "Embodied"

Anita Rao is the Managing Editor and regular host for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina. She hosts the recurring series and podcast Embodied.

She fell in love with interviewing and storytelling as a Women's Studies and International Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and began her radio career at WUNC as an intern for the nationally distributed public radio program The Story. From 2011 - 2014, she worked for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps Production department, where she pitched, edited and produced conversations from across the nation--from Chicago, IL to Pineville, North Carolina.  

Anita was born in a small coal-mining town in Northeast England but spent most of her life growing up in Iowa and has a fond affection for the Midwest. In her spare time she also co-hosts and produces a podcast and radio show about millennial feminism called "She and Her."

Ways to Connect

wileydoc / Flickr

North Carolina State University announced a return to in-person classes and on-campus living for the spring semester yesterday. The school closed in late August after a rise in COVID-19 cases. School reopenings led to spikes in cases across the country, according to a new study co-authored by two North Carolina-based professors — as many as 3,000 cases per day. 

Parental advisory labels date back to the 1980s. They exist, in part, to alert consumers to the presence of profanity, explicit discussion of sex and sexuality and graphic violence. But there has never been a unilateral ranking system to determine what content must be labeled as explicit. 

Durham-based musician A.yoni Jeffries understands discouragement. Her latest album, “Potential Gon’ Pay,” was delayed three times this year. But the 25-year-old never stays discouraged for long. In the interim, while she awaited a new release date, she focused her attention on a new endeavor, Handèwa Farms, which she launched in December 2019 with eight partners. 

Anita knows how frustrating it can be to find the right doctor and get good healthcare. Transgender people have to navigate all those challenges and take extra measures to advocate for their wellbeing with medical providers who are too often untrained to treat them.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.


Anita Rao  00:03

Anita is thinking more and more about entering the club of motherhood. But first, she'd appreciate a reality check on things we don't often talk about — like child care and health concerns around pregnancy and labor. Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.


Anita Rao  00:05

A Black woman squatting in front of a totally pink Cadillac with "TRAP" painted on the equallly pink garage door behind
Courtesy of Kyesha Jennings

The linguistic rules of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) are widespread and catalogued — yet most classrooms still frown upon writing and speaking it. Hip-hop scholar Kyesha Jennings grew up in Queens, New York, and remembers teachers correcting her use of the possessive they and double negatives. Now, she’s on a mission to disrupt the common belief that all English follows one set of rules. 

Abundant psilocybin mushrooms growing in a tupperware inside a tidy home
Dana Saxon

The world of psychedelics is painted with neon colors and smiling, white hippies with long hair who use hallucinogenic substances for wild, recreational trips. But psychedelics like LSD, MDMA (also known as molly or ecstasy) and psilocybin (also known as magic mushrooms) have a much richer history in their use as therapeutic medicines, which existed in Indigenous communities long before Western culture and medicine discovered them. 

Anita loves podcasts, especially ones that make space for intimate, unexpected conversations. "The Only One In The Room," hosted by Laura Cathcart Robbins, is one of those shows. This episode explores the excitement and emotions of being in an open marriage.


Union County Public Schools

More than 60% of North Carolina’s student population attends school in a district that started the fall quarter with remote-only instruction. But some county school districts, including Buncombe, Onslow, Gaston, Union and Harnett decided to start the new school year under Plan B, which provides partial in-person instruction.

A laundry basket sits on a coffee table.
Sean Freese/Creative Commons

For months, families have been quarantining together during the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has forced parents and partners to rethink everything, from division of household chores and childcare duties to work-from-home needs and whether or not a job that cannot be performed remotely is even worth keeping, if childcare is unavailable or unaffordable. 

The book jacket for "Adverse Effects"
NYU Press

 

Before a pharmaceutical treatment can hit the pharmacy shelves, manufacturers must prove the product’s safety through a series of trials. Phase I trials are on healthy participants to find the best dosage with the fewest side effects and to prove the treatment is not unsafe.

Anita has a gut feeling none of us know as much as we should about the connection between our intestinal health and how our minds work.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.


Anita Rao  00:04

Frank Stasio
Ben McKeown / For WUNC

Frank Stasio, host of The State of Things, is retiring on January 1, 2021. Frank has hosted the live, daily talk show since June 2006, and over the last 14 years, has covered a variety of important stories about North Carolina.

"I’m proud of what we built on The State Of Things," Stasio wrote in a letter to WUNC staff. "We made some powerfully good radio and, by most accounts, had a profound effect on our community. I’m grateful to all of you and our amazing listeners for helping to make this happen."

Furniture sitting on a sidewalk curb
CC/Flickr

As of this Monday, Aug. 24, tenants in federally-subsidized housing are facing eviction, homelessness and increased vulnerability to COVID-19. More than just Section 8 public housing, the CARES Act moratorium on evictions that expired July 24 applied to many private rental companies and private landlords with federally-backed mortgage loans. 

Woman sitting at a kitchen table
Creative Commons

For many who suffer from eating disorders, COVID-19 has thrown a curveball into their usual management and coping methods. Social isolation has meant less accountability and a heightened ability to hide disordered eating. 

Anita is a workaholic. Being overworked stresses Anita out. Too much stress leads to poor health. Don't be like Anita.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.


Anita Rao  00:06

StarsApart/Flickr/CC

The North Carolina Supreme Court banned the state from reinstating the death sentence on a Black man named Marcus Robinson last Friday. Robinson was removed from death row in 2012  and sentenced to life without parole after a North Carolina judge found that his trial was influenced by racial discrimination in the jury. At Robinson’s original trial, the prosecution removed half of qualified Black jurors from serving — but only 15% of white jurors. 

A Black man looks directly at the camera with tired eyes. He's wearing violet lipstick and is wearing his bleached hair in dreadlocks. Atop his head is a glittering fabric crown.
Courtesy of D'Arcee Charington

How to disclose on Tinder … maybe a full-body profile picture? Is a wheelchair emoji in the bio too cliche? Maybe just mention it after matching? For people with physical disabilities, dating can be a barrage of stigma and questions about what their bodies can and cannot do. And no, an arranged date with another physically disabled person — usually with no regard for compatibility —  is not ideal either. 

SeXXXed: Porn For All

Aug 20, 2020

Anita questions whether her inner feminist will ever let her come around to enjoying porn without shame.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.


Anita Rao  00:07

Andrea Lingle with four children
Andrea Lingle

How do you heal from losing a child before getting the chance to meet them? The answer to this question is told in the painful experiences of 1 in 100 pregnancies affected by stillbirth each year in the United States. The loss can feel isolating. The grief can lie underneath the surface even on good days. For some people, the best medicine is in sharing their story.

a girl standing outside a straw-roofed bakery with two gryphons
Geneva Bowers

Geneva Bowers grew up watching animé television shows like “Sailor Moon” into the wee hours of the morning. The interest bled into another of her hobbies, drawing, and she began creating her own cartoon characters. As she honed her drawing skills, she noticed several patterns: Her characters were always thin, and they were always white.

Anita Rao  00:06

Anita realizes she never got 'the sex talk' growing up. And even if she had, it probably wouldn't have gone like this.

Want to support this podcast? Subscribe on your favorite audio app, leave a review on Apple Podcasts, join the conversation at #EmbodiedWUNC or give to WUNC.

Man sits on the left, sharing food with woman sitting on the right as part of the Netflix show 'Indian Matchmaking'
Netflix

In the new Netflix docuseries, “Indian Matchmaking,” affluent Indian singles look for love and marriage with the help of a professional matchmaker. Based on criteria they provide, clients are matched with ostensibly compatible dates, but they soon find that the goal of marriage is more difficult to attain that they had hoped — even with a matchmaker who consults biological data profiles, astrologers and face readers. 

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