All summer long, interns Maya Fawaz, Mikayla Mondragon and Kadija Baldé worked on their very own episode of “Request Pending.”
The episode aired on Aug. 18 for the world to hear. Fawaz and Mondragon told their friends and family about the episode, a culmination of their hard work. Baldé only told her friends. Her family has yet to discover her secret: She and her fellow interns investigated, wrote and narrated a podcast episode about OnlyFans, a pornographic platform.
“I don’t know how I’m going to send it to my family,” Baldé said. “They don’t know anything about OnlyFans. To just drop a link in the family group chat without saying what it is or anything and they’re like, let me check this out. And then, you know, they hear it. I don’t know what the reaction is going to be. But I’m definitely sending it to my friends.”
The episode, “A new age of sex work,” is a 35-minute dive into OnlyFans, its creators and the inner workings of the platform. The Drag’s first-ever interns pitched the project — in their debut podcast — to go beyond the surface level and cover data privacy, eating disorders and fetishes, among other things.
Fawaz, Mondragon and Baldé managed to do all this without ever meeting each other. The three completed their internship remotely, which includes the work for the “Request Pending” episode. This meant scouring the internet for the perfect music, conducting interviews over Zoom and script-writing via 3-hour-long calls.
“Thank God for Google Docs,” Mondragon said. “Although we weren’t in person, I feel like during those script writing sessions I just became more and more friends with these girls.”
“When we were script writing the parts about our personal lives and our family lives, we really opened up,” Fawaz said. “We really got close after those conversations. Zoom and Google Docs — it doesn’t feel like a way to get to know someone, but it was.”
For recording the podcast narration, the trio used a mixture of recording on their own and recording together via Zencastr, an online service to record interview audio remotely.
Through the process of creating their own podcast episode, Fawaz, Mondragon and Baldé learned more about OnlyFans as well as their passion for audio storytelling.
“It was very eye-opening,” Fawaz said. “I always thought I would lean in towards documentary filmmaking. That’s always what I wanted to be, but now it’s kind of up there. [I’m] kind of questioning my career path, but it’s for the best.”
Although the interns have finished their work for the summer, Fawaz will return to The Drag in the fall to help with “Crooked Power,” an upcoming podcast about an Ecuadorian newspaper and the importance of press freedom.