The podcast co-hosts dish about dating "the bottom of barrel," navigating a nude photo leak, and more
The self-described "undignified" women behind the LadyGang podcast are getting even more candid — and this time it's in print.
In a hilarious joint interview with PEOPLE, Entertainment Tonight correspondent Keltie Knight, former Glee star Becca Tobin, and entrepreneur Jac Vanek discuss their new book Act Like a Lady: Questionable Advice, Ridiculous Opinions, and Humiliating Tales from Three Undignified Women — a humorous guide to help women live their best lives.
Knight, 38, and Vanek, 33, write about what it was like to realize they once dated the same musician — "I wasn't sure if I was the mistress of this situation," Vanek jokes. And on a more serious note, Tobin, 34, talks shame and navigating life after nude photos were leaked of her online.
"When you share the really gross, ugly, weird, vulnerable, sad, and happy parts of your life, other people feel like, 'Oh, it's okay for me to be vulnerable or be a disaster in a relationship. Or get divorced when I'm 21. Or go to therapy,'" Knight says of what they hope readers will learn from the book, which published on Tuesday.
"Womanhood, it's very messy, it's very hard. We wrote the book in these four parts [about] yourself, your lover, your friends and your career. We're all trying to slay all four of those things at the same time and that's humanly impossible. So, just focus on one area of your life, get that right and then move to the next one," she continues, before joking, "The other one's going to turn into a dumpster fire, but that's okay."
The three creatives first launched LadyGang in 2015, after realizing how much they love to thwart society's expectations of womanhood. The podcast has amassed a huge following and has inspired listeners to support each other (numerous affiliated groups have grown on Facebook, like the LadyGang Book Club and LadyGang Moms). While writing the book, the founders drew from their own lives and stories shared by their followers to write four sections focused on love, self, career, and friends. (Chapter titles range from "D--- Pics, Death Threats, and Dating 101," to "F--- the Man!" and "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Weird at Parties".)
"We try to put everything out there — all of our mistakes and maybe not the best parts of us — hoping that other women will do the same and not feel bad about it," Vanek says.
Keep reading for more about their thoughts on love — and why Knight and Tobin still refuse to text their husbands first — from the joint interview.
PEOPLE: What section of the book was the most fun to write?
VANEK: Dating is the most fun part of life. I mean, it's the worst, but also the best. When I was dating, I'd always have some insane f---ing story to update my friends about. It really is the most exciting time of your life, if you really throw yourself out there and don't have any expectations at all and date the bottom of the barrel. There's always a good story to come out of that. So I'm glad that I got to experience it and I'm glad that I actually got to write it down on paper, to be immortalized forever.
PEOPLE: Keltie and Jac, can you tell us more about realizing you dated the same guy?
KNIGHT: Jac and I decided we were going to write [about that]. But it's about us, right? The guy's not even a character in it. The internet had pitted us against each other and what we thought of each other. But through the writing of this book, I found out [the real story]. The story for five years on LadyGang was Jac dated him, then I dated him and then we were friends. No, no, no — Jac dated him, I dated him, we broke up, Jac went back.
VANEK: Not even that I went back. I hooked up with him and I thought that he and Keltie might've been together. So I'm not sure if I was the mistress of this situation, but we figured it out and I was not. So I took her sloppy thirds.
KNIGHT: It was an education. I was like, "I can't believe I'm just figuring this out now. Should I be mad?" I'm like, "No, I'm proud of you."
PEOPLE: In the book, Keltie and Becca, you explain that you don't text your partners first. Why not?
KNIGHT: Number one rule.
VANEK: This is a LadyGang rule that these two idiots came up with.
KNIGHT: And it's the two married idiots.
VANEK: They will not text their husbands at all, and if their husbands don't text them that day, they just won't speak. But I think the reason behind that rule is more so, we shouldn't be chasing after a man. We shouldn't feel like we need to make the first move or we need to keep it going and if we don't text them, then it's going to just fall apart. We like to be courted a little bit, especially in the beginning of dating and it just needs to be a mutual understanding of how you like each other. It shouldn't always be the woman putting in all the work.
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PEOPLE: In the book, you also explain that women shouldn't chase after men. Can you expand on that?
TOBIN: It's just like we say in the book, that neediness is often a boner killer. It's true. It's human nature, it's not just men. If you feel like someone cannot live without you, then you are going to want to test that. You're going to want to be like, "I need some space because that is a lot of responsibility you're putting on me." I love seeing my husband appreciate another attractive woman. It keeps me on my toes and makes me remember that we're all human and I better slap on some mascara that day.
VANEK: You need to decide if you like them, too. I mean, I made this mistake so much when I was dating. I'd go on one date with a guy and I would just fall in love with the idea of them and put them on this pedestal. And it's like, "This is the guy, we have amazing chemistry. I got to make it work." [But] you don't know somebody after a first date, you don't even freaking know somebody after a year. So I think pumping the brakes on that situation and really being like, "I need to decide if I like you too. It's not you deciding if you want to be with me." So it's taking the power back in that situation.
PEOPLE: Can you tell us more about empowering women to own their sexuality?
VANEK: There's a section in the book about — it's the beginning of the sex chapter. I had originally started writing it because I've never believed in having a number of how many people you've slept with. And not because I've slept with so many people, I probably have, but I'm not sure, I really have no idea. It was the whole notion of the number is used to shame women, basically, and then to empower men. That makes no sense whatsoever. Whether you're going out and safely sleeping with however many people you want or you have stayed with one person your entire life, it doesn't define your character at all.
TOBIN: I'll just piggyback on that. I really was second-guessing if I should write a specific chapter in the book that has to do with a lot of sexual whatever. And I was like, "I wonder what this shame surrounding it is?" Granted, I don't want my in-laws reading it and that's separate. But then I was like, "Why do I care?"
PEOPLE: What was it like to write about the photos of you that were leaked?
TOBIN: My nude photos were leaked all over the internet with a slew of actresses in 2014. And I was like, "This is my opportunity to say that yeah, it sucked." It was definitely a giant s--- sandwich that I had to digest.
But at the same time, I wanted to handle that situation in a way that I was like, "I'm not ashamed that I took these photos. I'm not ashamed that my bare vagina is all over the internet." I am just feeling like I need to now step away and say I've been violated, but at the same time, you can't make me feel bad for that content. So I think it's important for girls to harness that, especially now because it's like we have a lot of power and we rarely use it.
PEOPLE: What do you want people to learn about the importance of female friendship?
KNIGHT: I think that when you get out of college and out of school, you get lonely and it's hard as an adult to maintain and keep female friendships, real ride-or-die friendships. Coming together for LadyGang has meant that, for me personally, I've realized I can't do everything. I think between the three of us, we make up one [person]. I said it yesterday on the phone, we were playing around with an idea, and I was like, "Between the three of us, we have one brain." Between the three of us, we make up one super person.
Act Like a Lady is on sale now.