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ILANA LEVINE : American actress, Broadway baby, host of the Little Known Facts podcast

Ilana Levine is a true New Yorker. She’s the host of the hugely successful podcast Little Known Facts. If you have a favorite actor or actress she’s probably interviewed them. She’s a Broadway kid…maybe you saw her alongside Kristin Chenoweth in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. This is a great talk. Let’s get into it!


01. What’s your typical morning routine? How do you get your day started?

I have to have coffee! I love coffee so much it is often the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. So, I wake up and make coffee and then my husband and I sit on the couch and drink coffee and use this time to catch up with each other once the kids are off to school, before we both head off into our days.

02. You’re an actress and a podcaster, but it seems like first and foremost you’re a lover of Broadway. When did that come about? And what made you fall in love?

My mother was a huge lover of Broadway. From a very early age I can recall cast recordings playing in our house. I loved to sing along to them and she always brought us to see Broadway shows. That was how our family celebrated any special event and it still is.

03. You’re well known for being in the show You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown…What did that show mean to you? How did it feel when you first got the role?

That show did and still does mean absolutely everything to me! As someone who grew up celebrating every birthday by going to see a musical it never, EVER occurred to me that someday I would be in one. That entire experience still feels like a dream. I have talked a lot about how much every member of the cast and creative team has remained like family to me. We were a family from day one but I haven’t talked a lot about how many times I turned down the audition for that show. I had never done a musical before, although at that point I had already done a few plays on Broadway.

The casting director called me and convinced me to come in. He said that the creative team knew I was not a musical theater performer but that the director, Michael Mayer, had seen me in a play many years prior and felt strongly that I could play LucyVan Pelt. I decided to take a chance. I have never worked so hard on anything in my life. It felt like I was preparing to compete in the long distance track event in the Olympics, having never even jogged before. Somehow the part became mine and it is to the credit of everyone involved that I became a confident member of that ensemble. It was glorious from day one. The most generous, talented group of people. I would give every one of them my kidneys if they needed them!

04. I know you’re still working in movies. Do you still like performing? Do you have any long term goals to do more in that field?

I recently worked on a film with a dear friend of mine called Making The Day and it was pure joy. Also, I am in this season of the HBO series Divorce. Sarah Jessica Parker is an old friend and I am sure she had a say in my getting to be a part of the show. She is my hero.

05. Let’s talk about NYC. What do you love most about living there? Is it ever difficult?

I love love love living in Brooklyn. It is the perfect blend of urban living and small village life. My neighborhood is filled with fascinating people, there is a French Immersion school next to a methadone clinic next to a five star restaurant next to a mom and pop rice and beans place. It’s all here and we are all living side-by-side and you can hear four languages in the space of two blocks. It can be intense at times but with everything going on there is still the local crossing guard who lets me know that she saw my son get to school safely. We all look out for each other and care about each other.

06. Little Known Facts is so well done and informative. What made you want to do a podcast?

The truth is that this opportunity was handed to me by a friend who had a hunch I could be good at this sort of thing. I had never imagined myself as an interviewer but in retrospect it all makes sense. Being an actor is a lot like being a journalist. Every part is a deep dive into the world and life of your character. You spend so much of your time in rehearsal asking questions. Who am I playing? What do I want? Why am I behaving this way? So in a way I have been preparing for this job all my adult life. I have always been curious about people and it turned out that between my inquisitive nature, my sense of humor, and my desire to make my guests feel safe and comfortable…I have been able to create an environment where they feel safe to share things about their lives, personal and professional, that they have not shared in other places before.

07. You’ve had so many amazing guests on your show. Do you have a favorite guest? Or maybe a favorite moment?

I really don’t have a favorite! 150 episodes in and I truly love every single guest and that each episode has it’s own unique story, but I will say in the world of “you never forget your first.” I will always be so grateful to John Slattery. He was my first friend to come on the show.At that point all I knew is that I had been offered a studio to do a podcast and it was up to me to figure out what direction to take the show in. John came in and we ended up talking for so long it became a two-part episode. When we were done he told me that I reminded him of Howard Stern. He said that there was something about my hosting style that made him feel free to talk about anything, but also that he was in safe hands, and that I had a really natural ability to steer the conversation so that it never got off course. I was so flattered and heartened by his vote of confidence and it gave me the permission to keep going. I will never forget that.

08. Are you working on anything new right now that you’re excited about?

I am so thrilled to share that I am about to start making a filmed version of Little Known Facts for a new streaming network that will be announced soon. Little Known Facts the series! This is exciting and scary!

09. What is currently inspiring you and in what way? (book, movie, song, podcast, anything really…)

Oh, this is a tough one! There is so much incredible content out there but I guess I will always come back to documentaries. I love love love that medium. American Masters on PBS – I grew up watching those with my parents and they still make incredible content deep diving into so many people who have been impactful in every aspect of our lives.

10. How do you end a typical day? What do you do to unwind?

I spend time with my kids. I still will lie down with them at night and we talk about their day or whatever they want to talk about. Things that make them happy or things they are anxious about. My mom used to say, “You are only as happy as your unhappiest
child.” It’s true. When they are feeling ok and balanced, then so am I.

You can find Mrs. Levine on the web:


SAVANNA KIEFER : the dorky diva, blogger, podcaster, up-and-coming superstar

Write down the name Savanna Kiefer. You’ll be hearing that name and reading about her a lot in the near future. She runs the amazing website The Dorky Diva; a place to talk about Star Wars, fashion, and photography. She’s a walking how-to for being a badass young entrepreneur.


01. What’s your typical morning routine? How do you get your day started?

My average morning is never the same. I’m pretty bad at keeping a solid routine so most weekday mornings start with jumping out of bed and putting on makeup while simultaneously shoving a bagel with cream cheese in my mouth. On an ideal weekend morning, I love sitting outside to eat my breakfast and staying in my pajamas for as long as possible.

02. Can you tell me a little about your upbringing? What did you want to do when you grew up?

I was born and raised in a super small, country town in central Florida where raising cattle was cool and Star Wars was not. I was homeschooled from 6th grade through high school. Yeah, I was one of “those kids” who did their school work in pajamas. It rocked. When I was younger, I thought I was born to be a photographer. I love creating new content to share online so I dove into photography for a few years, but ultimately decided it would be best as a hobby for me rather than a career.

03. You just finished getting your degree. What did you go to school for? I know you did some interning and I would love to hear about that.

Yeah, I’m graduating next month. Woot Woot! I pursued a degree in communication with a focus in public relations and ended up minoring in photography. My final semester required me to complete 210 hours at an internship, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I interned for a digital agency in Jacksonville, Florida, for a few months and learned so many things about marketing, social media and videography during my time there. I’m thankful every day for that experience and the people I met along the way. I truly think my professional skills were shaped at that internship in just a matter of months.

04. Can you tell me a little about The Dorky Diva? I believe it started out as a blog but it’s turned into something much bigger.

The Dorky Diva is a blog I started in 2015, but actually originated as a Facebook page in 2014. There’s a little bit more history behind The Dorky Diva. When I was about 14-years-old, I started a blog called Pandas, Lightsabers and Cameras, oh my! Yep…still cringing at that name. Anyways, I used this blog as a platform to talk about all the things in life that I loved and for some crazy reason, people enjoyed it. After evaluating my interests as I matured, I decided it was time to let go of the panda shtick and rebrand my blog into something more grown up. That’s when The Dorky Diva was created. Today I use this blog to display my love of Star Wars, Disney and fashion along with my newly launched podcast – The Dorky Diva Show.

05. I love The Dorky Diva Show. Is podcasting something you’d like to delve deeper into?

I’ve been podcasting since 2011 in the Star Wars fan community, but last year was the beginning of something new. In the past, I’ve only contributed to other podcasts as a co-host or special guest. It’s been super fun to do something completely on my own and just have fun with it. My only plans for The Dorky Diva Show is to keep enjoying it every month and get to know people as I interview them. It’s a great experience to connect with someone on my podcast.

06. How did your fascination with Star Wars start? I think you’re too young to remember the original films coming out…Do you consider the prequels your trilogy?

Oddly enough, I still consider the original trilogy “my trilogy”. I grew up watching the original films on VHS over and over and over. My mom is a huge Star Wars fan so she quickly converted my older brother and I into the fandom when we were very young. I never fully embraced my love for Star Wars until I watched The Clone Wars television series and discovered a fashion line made specifically for Star Wars fangirls called Her Universe. I honestly don’t know what kind of person I would be today without Star Wars in my life. It’s changed everything.

07. How do you view the current state of fan culture and conventions? How do women fit into that typically male dominated scene these days? I’m curious if you see cosplay and things like that as a positive starting point for women in the arts.

Fan culture and conventions are through the roof now. It’s cool to be a nerd these days which is great for people like me because we’re less likely to be bullied. I used to attend a few local conventions every year, but now I only focus on attending Star Wars Celebration because that’s my primary interest.

I think women are still struggling to make their mark in fandom, but it’s really improving each and every day. I remember when I was a kid, I could never find Star Wars clothes for girls. Now I can walk into any Target and find Star Wars clothes not only in the little girls’ section, but also in the women’s department. It’s really awesome to see that progress.

Cosplaying as a female is extremely frustrating for me sometimes because there are a lot of women who use sexy cosplay as a way to get their five seconds of fame. I respect people, male or female, who actually put the time into replicating a costume from a movie. I wish more people would cosplay for the sake of perfecting a craft rather than getting famous from showing their assets. I understand that sexy cosplay has it’s place in the world, but it’s just not my thing. Contrary to that though, cosplaying has opened me up to a ton of new skills and a brand new level of confidence. I love looking at a massive project and thinking, “I have no idea how to start this, but I’m gonna do it.”

08. Are you working on anything new right now that you’re excited about?

I’m really excited to share that I’ve recently accepted a position with Hot Topic as their newest associate digital media producer and I’m making the big move to Los Angeles. The greatest part about this new job is that I’ll be working directly with the Her Universe and Hot Topic brands. I’ve looked up to Ashley Eckstein, the creator of Her Universe, ever since I met her at an autograph session back in 2010. It’s a dream come true to work alongside her now. Box Lunch is a newer brand that provides a meal to someone in need through Feeding America for every $10 spent at their store. It’s really exciting to start a new adventure with such amazing brands!

09. What is currently inspiring you and in what way? (book, movie, song, podcast, anything really…)

Anything related to Donald Glover or Childish Gambino is giving me life right now. I’m so psyched that he’ll be starring as Lando Calrissian in the new Han Solo movie and I really can’t get enough of his music. There’s something about him that’s so inspiring. I recently learned that he was hired by Tina Fey to write for 30 Rock when he was only 23 years old. Insane!

10. How do you end a typical day? What do you do to unwind? 

At the end of the day, my favorite thing to do is get in my favorite cozy pajamas and turn on The Office. I’ve seen every episode of the show at least 20 times, but I still crack up at all of Michael Scott’s hilarious mannerisms. I think it’s one of the most masterfully written shows in television history.

You can find Ms. Kiefer on the web: