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Frisky and risqué Red Room podcaster Jenny Claffey told parents that 'they listen at their own risk'

If it's all things risqué that tickle your eardrums, then Jenny Claffey's new podcast Red Room is a must listen.

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Jenny Claffey touches on taboo subject matters. Picture: Evan Doherty Photography

Jenny Claffey touches on taboo subject matters. Picture: Evan Doherty Photography

Jenny Claffey touches on taboo subject matters. Picture: Evan Doherty Photography

Writhing against a wall in a black leather dress with her eyes blindfolded and a ball gag between her teeth, Jenny Claffey certainly knows how to make an entrance.

The former IT Galz host has become synonymous with the world of Irish podcasting and now after four and a half years, the 31-year-old has hung up her headphones on her previous venture and opened the door to her own show, the Red Room.

A mash-up of all things weird, wonderful and taboo, Jenny is looking into the dark and nefarious corners of the internet, so it's only fitting that the Clontarf native teased her fans with a launch video that was similarly provocative.

"It was a Sunday morning in P.Mac's," laughs the content creator, referencing the Dublin pub where the teaser was shot. "They were in between breakfast and lunch service and I was running around looking like a dominatrix with a ball gag and a bag of sex toys. It was gas!"

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Jenny Claffey has opened the door to her own show, the Red Room.

Jenny Claffey has opened the door to her own show, the Red Room.

Jenny Claffey has opened the door to her own show, the Red Room.

Formerly known for her straight-talking, and opinionated world views, the Trinity graduate was keen to map out a whole new podcast persona on subject matters that were previously left untold.

She adds: "I think I was known mainly for girl talk and pop culture which I still really like. I still consume a lot of that media but I did it for four and a half years, which is a really long time, and I think I had kind of grown out it and some of the audience I connected with possibly had, too. This was the chance for me to carve out my own space in the podcast world."

Of course, fronting her own production meant imposter syndrome was never far away, Jenny admits: "I was sh*tting myself. I was nervous because I was known for being in a twosome for so long, I thought, 'Will people care about me now that I'm out on my own?'

"Even if you have a big audience, at the end of the day it is still just you sitting in a room. I am in the spare bedroom with a microphone laughing at some of my own jokes and hopefully the person listening is laughing too or finding it interesting.

"I think I just followed my gut. You have to take risks and if it didn't work out then at least I tried."

Being self-employed, it was a risk that paid off. "I reached my end-of-year target in two days so now I can fully throw myself into it and financially support myself and create the content I really want to make."

The influencer, who is engaged to celebrity photographer Evan Doherty, told how the name of her latest podcast was inspired by her love of film director David Lynch.

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Evan Doherty and Jenny Claffey at Threes #MadeByMusic balcony at Longitude in Marlay Park, Dublin.
Picture: Brian McEvoy

Evan Doherty and Jenny Claffey at Threes #MadeByMusic balcony at Longitude in Marlay Park, Dublin. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Evan Doherty and Jenny Claffey at Threes #MadeByMusic balcony at Longitude in Marlay Park, Dublin. Picture: Brian McEvoy

"One of his most famous shows is Twin Peaks," says Jenny. "There is a place in the show called the Red Room where characters find themselves. There are different entities in there and they all have very strange conversations.

"I am championing conversation and inviting people on who live strange lives or who I find interesting, while also going down some internet rabbit holes. Two weeks ago I did an episode on near-death experiences and it was looking at it being a medical phenomenon, but also one that changed people's lives.

"I am trying to look for stories that are slightly taboo. I still want to talk about sex but from a different perspective and 'Red Room' is also a reference to places on the dark web that are full of nefarious activity."

In fact, no topic is off limits, something which is central to the integrity of the show, however embarrassing that might be for Jenny's parents.

"My mam and dad listen to it and I've told them, 'Listen at your own risk because I am not holding back!' Evan's mam listens to it too. Evan's brother text him the other week and said, 'I just walked into the kitchen and mam is listening to Jenny talking about magic mushrooms'.

"A podcast is an hour-long conversation with the listener, to try and catch yourself from saying something, it will stunt the evolution of your podcast. You have to be willing to go there with your opinion and also be willing to have your opinions changed."

With a 20,000 strong following on Instagram alone, Jenny is also aware of what she deems as an unexpected interest in her personal life.

She adds: "There is a parasocial element to it where people think they know you because I share so much of my life online and I love it. The only thing is people might know my story, but I don't know anything about them.

"I think you can still connect with the listener without sharing too many details of your private life because it is very conversational.

"You can very much get an essence of who I am. People do love to be like, 'When is your wedding?' Hun, if only I knew! We have nothing organised - what is the point with Covid? I think a house will be the next thing we move towards."

And if you think there enough podcasts in the world already, you're wrong, says Jenny: "Absolutely not, the more the merrier as far as I am concerned.

"It's a market that can be saturated. What I learned is that it could be a job which I never thought of. Following something that is a hobby, at some point, you can develop that into something more. Even if you are making no money, stick with it."

  • Red Room is now available through redroompod.com

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