Bio: Danielle Bezalel is the Creator, Producer, and Host of the Sex Ed with DB Podcast. Sex Ed with DB is an intersectional, feminist podcast for folks who want to hear real stories from Bay Area voices as they try to revolutionize the way we talk about sex! She graduated from UC Berkeley (go bears!) in 2014 with a degree in Film and Media and a minor in Education and will be attending Columbia University this Fall to obtain a Masters in Public Health with a focus in Sex, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health. She is a singer and loves performing with her folk band based in SF, Happnstance, and she is super passionate about documentaries for social change, empowering young women through sex education, traveling the world, and all kinds of chocolate.
My Native Admission Statement: You know that one annoyingly motivated person in your group project who constantly asks “When can we get started?” That’s me. No matter what the goal, whether it be my music, my podcast, or my film endeavors, I am always hustling and trying to get better in the process. I try to add silliness and goofiness to whatever I’m doing as life’s always better when you’re laughing. And no matter what, I put my 1,000% into whatever it is I’m doing because it’s just not worth doing otherwise. Finally, there’s never too much chocolate to eat.
How did you get into the industry?
October 26th, 2014.
I was halfway through my year teaching English in Israel when my cohort toured the Jerusalem Belz community. We were walking around with one of the rabbis who lived in this community his entire life. The rabbi was showing us the synagogues, divulging his opinions on his way of life, and discussing his family traditions; he explained that when his five daughters eventually turned seventeen, respectively, a matchmaker would “marry them off”. He proudly explained that they would not learn about sex until their wedding night. “That is the night my daughters will have sex for the first time and hopefully become pregnant.” A fire was lit within me. My hand shot up and the rabbi nodded my way. In that moment, I wished these young women had access to any of the digital media tools that exist to educate themselves; how different would their lives be? “What if your daughters are not ready to be mothers?” I said aloud. “Shouldn’t they feel in control of their own bodies?” The rabbi raised his brow: “No. They have no choice. This is how it goes.”
As a woman with an Orthodox Jewish Afghani father, I understand that every parent has their own culture, traditions, and way of raising their children which can bring great value and uniqueness to their kids’ lives—I also acknowledge that this rabbi’s belief is not specific to Orthodox Judaism. In my everyday conversations at home in San Francisco, I often hear stories in which young women are ordered and expected to think and behave in certain ways regarding the agency of their own bodies. Simultaneously being raised by a mother who is an OBGYN exposed me to a world where women’s rights are paramount. My unique upbringing leads me to question: what if unchallenged principles prevent young women (and people) from making healthy decisions? This quintessential dilemma is what drives me. With an extensive background as a musician, a film degree from UC
Berkeley, and years of youth development experience, my answer to how health and sex education content can be disseminated is as evident as it is powerful: The Sex Ed with DB Podcast.
Sex Ed with DB is a feminist podcast bringing you all the sex ed you never got through unique and intersectional storytelling! We have covered topics from sex education and how we talk about sex, to gender and sexuality on a spectrum, to abortions, to sex workers’ experiences, to consent and rape culture, to body image, and more. We are unafraid to discuss these important topics and want our listeners to be able to learn from the stories our voices share. Everyone deserves to have the knowledge and information to empower themselves to make the right choices for them. Everyone deserves to be told “you are perfect the way you are.” Everyone deserves to have the tools to fight oppression and sexism. Sex Ed with DB offers these tools, insights, and stories in a creative, bold, and bright way—because “This is how it goes” just ain’t gonna cut it.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I would absolutely love it if Sex Ed with DB reached 1 million people! The more sex ed the better. I want to keep having underrepresented voices on as guests and teach listeners that they aren’t alone in their challenges and triumphs.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We are about to launch season 3 of the podcast this summer! We’re going to be covering so many relevant topics and having on the most incredibly brilliant guests. Catch up on seasons 1 and 2 on iTunes, Spotify, or our website, www.sexedwithdb.com.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
Honestly the most challenging part is getting funding to pay our incredible team. People are interested in the content but we’re so used to getting content for free so it’s challenging to convince the public and advertisers/sponsors that we are fighting for a good cause.
How do you motivate others?
I motivate others by being motivated and energized myself. If your team leader doesn’t care about the work, why should you?
Career advice to those in your industry?
If you’re interested in starting a podcast the best piece of advice I would have is to just get started and do it. In times of doubt, remember you CAN do it if you have the time and energy to put into a project like this. It could be anything from a highly produced podcast to something you just record and upload on your phone. There are so many stories to be told and you can definitely be one of the people who tells them!
What do I do best?
I use my humor and goofiness to disarm people and make them feel comfortable. There can never be too much laughing.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Being able to sing and be creative makes me feel like the best version of myself.
What are my aspirations?
My goal is to be someone who helps folks access comprehensive and inclusive sex education if they do not have access. I would love to host my own show and have millions of people tune in to see what my guests have to say about the sex ed field.
My Biggest Success?
Going to UC Berkeley and having truly the time of my life.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Heartbreak is always really challenging – it makes you go deep inside yourself and not want to come out.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? – Hillel the Elder
My Favorite People/Role Models?
My mom is my favorite person in the world – she is a bad ass OBGYN who created her own business and raised 3 awesome kids (if I do say so myself). She taught me to always travel if I am able and how to celebrate people properly.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Florence, Italy. I lived there for 6 months during college and it was so incredible. The food, the people, speaking and understanding Italian, the architecture, the energy – there’s nothing like that place in the whole world.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
My Blundstones are the best purchase I have ever made.
My Current Passions?
Going to grad school to get my MPH at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health!
My Pic of the Day: Have been HOOKED on this song ever since I saw Hadestown two weeks ago. If you haven’t listened to the soundtrack DO IT!
What Else to Know?
Danielle is a Master’s in Public Health candidate with a focus on Sexuality, Sexual, and Reproductive Health at Columbia University; she graduated with her BA in Film and Media Studies from UC Berkeley. For fun, she loves to sing and perform on stage, travel to a new place, check out the latest Broadway musical, and eat as many Reese's cups as physically possible. To learn more about her and her story, email DB at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Sex Ed with DB GoFundMe page to learn more and donate to the cause.