Anita Rao

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

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 "Embodied: Conversations about Sex, Relationships & Your Health."

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

Amanda Magnus / WUNC

Compared to many other cultures around the world, Americans place a high value on cleanliness. But with the coronavirus now declared a global pandemic, we’ve all become hygiene-obsessed.

Ron Yorgason

Charly Lowry raises the hand-drum, strikes a heartbeat and begins reciting a song she wrote after leaving the comfort of her native community for college — “An existence so beautiful, so colorful/ deep rooted in originality/ eye-candy of shallow minds/ that was her reality, still/ she walks around with a smile/ for the whole wide world to see/ Inside’s ascreamin’/ Free yourself from strains of society.”

Vaping products
Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Duke University will become a smoke-free campus beginning in July 2020. The new policy has been in the works for several years, but the addition of electronic cigarettes and vaping products is relatively new.

A 1918 portrait of Charlotte Hawkins Brown
North Carolina Historic Sites

One hundred years ago this August, North Carolina declined the opportunity to be the deciding state to grant women the constitutional right to vote. The decision had come down to Tennessee and North Carolina, so Tar Heel legislators sent a telegram to their counterparts in Tennessee, urging them not to ratify and pledging that North Carolina would do the same. Fortunately, Tennessee ignored that plea and ratified the amendment, adding it to the U.S. Constitution.

Donn Young

  

  

  The 19th Amendment was a watershed moment for women’s rights in the United States, but it left many black women behind. The shortcomings of the suffrage movement inspired faculty-artists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the 19th Amendment Project, which is part of the UNC Process Series. The show explores women, power and politics and celebrates pivotal black activists.

George Ruiz

Childbearing in the United States is more deadly than in any other developed nation. Despite medical advances over the last few decades, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. continues to steadily increase.

Courtesy of Jessica Ingram

While visiting Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, Alabama, photographer Jessica Ingram was struck by how familiar media images from the civil rights era, such as attack dogs and high-pressure water hoses turned on protestors, were memorialized in sculpture. She wondered what was left out of the dominant narrative of this time.

Mikkey Girl / Disney

2.5 billion people around the world play video games. From Words With Friends to League of Legends, games are revolutionizing how we relate to one another. In many ways, gaming has become its own culture. But it might not be exactly what you'd expect. Most gamers play on their cellphones and nearly half are women. Most people playing video games are doing it with other people. And in response to hate-speech online and IRL, marginalized gamers are creating sanctuaries. On this edition of our Embodied series, host Anita Rao explores what gamers can teach us about socializing. 

Black man looks puzzled holding a comb while looking at his daughter's massive afro, with a plethora of hair products before them.
Sony Pictures Animation

What happens when a black father tries to do his young daughter’s natural hair for the first time? In the animated short “Hair Love” a battle ensues: The father wields a comb as his weapon, but his first attempt is a miserable failure.

North Carolina Climate Office

Many people could have worn flip-flops in the last days of 2019. The week before New Year’s Eve featured 70 degree days — but it was not a fluke. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, 2019 was the warmest year on record in North Carolina so far. 

Scott Sharpe / News & Observer

In an ambitious new project, visual journalists from The Charlotte Observer, The News and Observer and the McClatchy Company spread out across the state of North Carolina to record the concerns of regular people.

Animated hands with words like 'calm, friendly, curious, inviting, attentive' frame an animated image of a toddler throwing a tantrum.
Pixabay

 

Parents in the United States typically have very little institutional support when it comes to raising children. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees workers 12 weeks of parental leave — but that leave is unpaid.

Lizzo sits naked with her long hair draping over her body.
Atlantic Records

The flute-wielding singer and rapper Lizzo is the artist of the moment. She secured the most 2020 Grammy nominations of any artist, including nods for best album, song and record.

Protesters hold signs that read 'NO IRAN WAR.'
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The U.S. House of Representatives approves a resolution that would limit President Donald Trump’s power and require authorization from Congress before taking any additional military action against Iran. While Trump tries to calm the nation’s fears, the FBI and national security leaders believe Iran and its proxies still pose a threat.

Charlotte Jarvis

Semen is a potent substance, both literally and symbolically. It was described by Chinese proverb as “equal to ten drops of blood”; by Sumerians as “a divine substance,” given to humanity by the god of water; and by Aristotle as “the most perfect component of our food.”

Courtesy of the Verona Quartet

Attending a night at the symphony may conjure up images of an elaborate theatre, expensive tickets and an audience dressed in their finest. Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle is working to change that perception with upcoming performances featuring the Verona Quartet, COT’s inaugural string quartet-in-residence.

Trump at the rally in Michigan.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2020 is more than a presidential election year — it is also the beginning of a new decade. Does this mean a new era of politics?

Photo of the Cat's Cradle from behind the stage at a show.
Courtesy of Steve Balcolm

At 17 years old, he was barred from entering the front door of the Cat’s Cradle, so John Howie Jr. instead got on the stage of the Chapel Hill club.

Yang, Buttigieg and Warren at the debate.
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The House of Representatives voted mostly along party lines to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The next step would send impeachment papers to the Senate, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is delaying that action until Senate leaders reach an agreement on the ground rules of the trial.

Book cover that reads 'Speaking of Feminism: Today's Activists On The Past, Present, And Future of The US Women's Movement.'
UNC Press

Why is feminism imagined as waves? These ocean waves, crashing then retreating, can make it appear like ideas come out of nowhere and eclipse everything that came before.

Oral history provides different frameworks for understanding the history of feminist activism.  Personal narratives of the movement capture the constant push and pull of ideology and action — how the definition "feminist" is constantly evolving and sometimes is irrelevant to real social progress. 

Middleton singing into a mic and playing an acoustic guitar.
Courtesy of Nancy Middleton

Durham called folk rocker Nancy Middleton back home after 11 years in Nashville.

Illustration of someone surrounded by life stressors.
Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

The World Health Organization now officially lists workplace burnout as an occupational syndrome in its International Classification of Diseases manual.

Illustration by Adhiti Bandlamudi / WUNC

If you have ever been on a diet, you know the pure vulnerability of getting weighed at the doctor’s office. Standing on an old metal scale with your shoes off, you might avert your eyes, as if that would prevent the nurse from saying the number out loud as they write it down. But what if weight did not play such an active role in how you understood your health?

Teachers on a sidewalk holding signs that read 'Proud Public School Teacher.'
Cole del Charco / WUNC

The 2019 legislative session ended with no compromise on teacher pay raises. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed Republican leaders’ final proposal of an average 3.9% increase, calling it “inadequate.”

Faber holding a mic during one of her comedy sets.
Courtesy of Lauren Faber

To be fair, Lauren Faber had one good shrink back in Philadelphia. Up until then, the 2016 Carolina’s Funniest Comic wondered why none of her friends would take her trauma seriously. That psychologist trained Faber to stop smiling while sharing painful stories. But 20 years of off-and-on therapy has left her wondering if counseling is a good fit.
 

Embodied: Deconstructing Forgiveness

Nov 27, 2019
Adhiti Bandlamudi

 

‘Tis the season for good food, celebration, and gratitude. But between carving the turkey and passing the cranberry sauce, some families are still harboring hurt, anger and resentment from events past. In hopes of salvaging this year’s festivities, host Anita Rao is joined by a team of experts who deconstruct forgiveness: how to do it, and how the act may impact your health. 

Photo of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland

During the 2016 NFL season, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the pregame national anthem to take a stand against police brutality and racial inequality. His actions set off a heated debate, and as the NFL made their position about athlete protest more clear, Kaepernick’s future with the league got increasingly murky. 

Santibanez pumping up one of his teams.
Courtesy of Jose Santibanez

As a kid, Jose Santibanez showed up at school every day not to learn, but to play soccer. He was undocumented and struggled to motivate himself, despite his intellect.

Illustration of a diverse group of women and one man on a North Carolina outline.
Illustration by Mariano Santillan / Courtesy of Carolina Public Press

North Carolina seeks to close antiquated loopholes in sexual assault laws and add more protections for child abuse victims.

Cardman in her NASA gear.
Robert Markowitz / NASA

Zena Cardman knew she might not have another opportunity to pursue poetry. She was about to dive into graduate research on microbiology in extreme environments when she put that plan on ice, and opted to write a poetry collection for her undergraduate thesis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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