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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

  • Anita comes from a tea-drinking family, but she's happiest when she's holding a mug of coffee the size of her face. For years, she's been reading headlines about why coffee is "good" for you, but she's not sure where myth ends and fact begins. So, she turns to the experts: Dr. Rao (her dad) is back to explain why coffee makes you poop, and how it affects your gut. A neuroscientist tells her about what her brain is doing once coffee hits her system. And two folks with deep ties to java talk about coffee culture, from bean to brew.
  • When it comes to addressing the mental health concerns of new parents, the most common response is silence.
  • Anita treasures sleep and moments of silence. So when she hears typical narratives of early parenthood that include unending cries and restless nights, she has concerns for the mental toll on new parents. But culturally there is a lot of silence around how challenging it can be, and recognizing deteriorating mental health while caring for another person can be isolating. In part two of the postpartum series "Delivered," she meets a prolific artist whose experience with postpartum depression catalyzed a mental health journey and a diagnosis of bipolar II disorder. She also talks to a couple about what folks should know about sex and relationships postpartum and why the mental health of non-birthing partners should be part of the postpartum conversation.
  • Pregnancy is a full body experience. But when it comes to physical changes and recovery, the common sentiment is: Why did nobody tell me?!
  • Anita has been around enough postpartum folks to know that there's a whole lot they felt unprepared for when it came to how their physical bodies would experience pregnancy and childbirth. In part one of a two-part series, she hears from folks about meeting their new postpartum bodies. A postpartum doula talks about her trauma-informed approach to caring for the physical body; a photographer shares why they're trying to diversify the images we associate with postpartum bodies; and a former Marine talks about navigating the pressures of a highly physical job postpartum.
  • In our vision-centric culture, “blind” is commonly used as a stand-in for words like thoughtless, careless or ignorant. Folks in the blind and low vision communities are working to challenge some of this cultural baggage, reclaiming the word as a signifier of identity and a source of pride.
  • Anita got glasses young, and as a kid every time her prescription got worse, her anxiety about losing her vision spiked. She realizes now how much of that fear was ableism at work. Three artists who've lost their sight and found myriad ways to fortify a culture of blind pride show her it's about disrupting the binary and pushing for a more accessible, creative future.
  • Anita finally learned how to put on sunscreen properly and care for her body’s largest organ, thanks to medical and skincare industry experts who give advice she revisits in this episode. Their tips helped her figure out what to focus on in her skincare routine, and how to resist the temptation to fall down Tik-Tok beauty rabbit holes.
  • Genetics determine a lot in how our skin looks. But there are still countless products out there for skin health and treatment. How do you make sense of it all?
  • Anita turns the mic over to guest host Omisade Burney-Scott to explore the many ways folks are raising kids outside the nuclear family unit. First, Omi talks with one of her co-parents about their evolution from romantic partners to partners in parenting. Plus, she meets a woman who is part of a four-person parenting structure and hears from someone who is creating resources for folks in blended families.