The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet

Dominika Ferenz reviews The Conversation – a series of intimate discussions with prominent US women.

Dominika Ferenz

I couldn’t think of a better or more inspiring film series to review for International Women’s Day than The Conversation with Amanda De Cadenet. It’s a series of eight 40-minute episodes, available in full online, which initially aired on the Lifetime channel. It’s produced by Demi Moore and Amanda de Cadenet (ex-wife of John Taylor from Duran Duran), a photographer and former actress, and hosted by de Cadenet herself.

The Conversation is a series of intimate discussions with prominent US women and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda, Eva Longoria, Sarah Silverman, Donna Karan and Diane von Furstenburg amongst many others.
The set up is straight forward – in depth one-on-one conversations with each woman about relationships, body image, spirituality, career, sex, children, ageing, divorce, and wellness. It’s what de Cadenet describes as the universal language of women.

These are remarkably open and candid interviews, considering these women’s status. They reveal their private selves, talk about their different journeys through life and share with us their wisdom learned along the way. Lady Gaga opens up about her drug addiction, Gwyneth Paltrow talks about motherhood, Portia de Rossi reveals her crippling body image issues, Jane Fonda talks about ageing and the key to successful relationships.

De Cadenet is warm and a natural interviewer, often sharing her own stories and insights throughout the interviews. She reveals her struggles with her body image and postnatal depression after the birth of her twins (she is now married to the guitarist of The Strokes Nick Valensi). It feels a little like we are eavesdropping on a private girly chat between two best friends. One of my favourite parts is when the women talk about what wisdom they wish they could have shared with their 14-year-old selves. There are some truly powerful moments there.

This is a love project for de Cadenet, who funded this herself and spent a couple of years collecting the interviews for this first series. She says she felt like there was nothing in the media that represented women’s real lives and problems so she started these interviews almost as a “public service”.

“The idea came about because I found myself asking all these questions that I couldn’t find answers to,” says de Cadenet. “I’m the mother of a teenager and twins, I’m married, and I have a career. But I looked around and saw women in the media who looked like they were doing it all perfectly, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m not doing it perfectly. Where are the women like me? Why isn’t anyone being honest?’ (Harper’s Bazaar interview)

I stumbled upon this website a couple of months ago and couldn’t stop watching until I had seen all of the episodes. I found it refreshing, down to earth, inspiring and empowering. I really enjoyed seeing these very public women in a different light, as real women instead of as their usual public personas. These women, despite their immense successes in life are at their core just like the rest of us. And here lies Amanda de Cadenet’s gift – she reveals their authentic selves and connects with us, the viewer.

De Cadenet is preparing to launch the second series of The Conversation, with Demi Moore as the first interviewee. I know I will be watching.