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Anita Rao

Host, "Embodied" / Managing Editor, On-Demand Content

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a live, weekly radio show and seasonal podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.

She has traveled the country recording interviews for the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps production department, founded and launched a podcast about millennial feminism in the South, and served as the managing editor and regular host of "The State of Things," North Carolina Public Radio's flagship daily, live talk show. 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.

You can send Anita an e-mail at

  • Once kids in the foster care system become legal adults, they’re often out on their own to find housing, jobs, and education. But they are also redefining healthy relationships in the aftermath of complicated relationships with parents and family life.
  • Anita had a terrible 18th birthday (she'll tell you later), but not much changed for her when she legally became an adult. For tens of thousands of young folks in the U.S. each year who turn 18 while in foster care, "legal adulthood" brings a slew of new challenges. Two women who aged out of foster care tell Anita about their experiences and how they informed the relationships they're building today. Plus, she meets someone who's seen the foster care system from both sides — as a kid, and as a foster parent.
  • The loss of a pet is often diminished and deemed less important than other losses. But the grief that comes after is real and difficult for pet owners and veterinarians alike.
  • Anita is a dog mom. Her wire-haired, bearded terrier Oliver has been her companion through heartbreak, job changes and pandemic turmoil. She's never going to feel ready to say goodbye, but she knows from watching others lose family pets, that pet grief can wreck you, and it's better to acknowledge this reality sooner rather than later. She talks with pet owners, a veterinary social worker, a vet and her own parents about making space for pet grief and memorializing the animal companions we have loved.
  • How many romance novels have you read with characters who have autism, anxiety, depression or ADHD as part of their stories? Meet three authors increasing representation of neurodiversity in romance.
  • Anita's idea of relaxation often involves a good book. She's begun exploring the vast world of romance novels and was surprised to learn how much more diverse the genre has become since the days when Fabio was the only inspiration for sexy book covers. Three neurodivergent authors tell her about writing the characters they longed for as readers and making space for new takes on the "happy ending."
  • Some couples don’t get enough time to spend together, between work and other commitments. But couples who work together experience the opposite, juggling business and personal time while keeping the romance alive.
  • Anita does not work with her boo, but after sharing home office space for two pandemic years, she's started to wonder how couples who *do* work together make it work. She talks with two sets of couples in very different professional industries about their strategies for tackling finances, alone time and intimacy.
  • American drinking culture lies in the realm of extremes — but choosing to abstain is often stigmatized. After choosing sobriety or sober curiosity, how are social relationships and community affected?
  • Anita has not participated in a Dry January, but there are times when she's motivated to pay extra-close attention to her relationship with alcohol. Most recently: during the pandemic. While some of us started drinking more, another group of folks committed to sober curiosity: a movement encouraging introspection about your relationship with alcohol. She meets two people who are years into building sober lives and asks them to reflect on how their sobriety journeys have shaped everything from relationships to thoughts about the future.