J: You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 88.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey there everyone, Jen here and I'm here at the Denver Airport getting this podcast out for you because I am so excited for you to hear from Candace Payne. I love Chewbacca Mom, I love her laughs, I love her energy, and this is really what it's all about; choosing to have fun and choosing to be happy and to love your life and be the most vibrant and happy version of yourself. Candace Payne is a viral sensation whose Facebook Live video of trying on a Chewbacca masks became the most viewed Facebook Live video to date with 170 plus million views. She's been featured in more than 3000 media outlets and has interviewed with major media such as Good Morning America, The Late Late Show with James Corden, the New York Times, People and Cosmopolitan. Candace recently launched a video series with TLCme and her first book, ‘Laugh It Up’, releases on November 7th. Candace lives in Texas with her husband, 2 kids, and an ornery pug. You can connect with Candace set candacepayne.me. Candace, I am so glad you're on the show.
C: Yay! Me too. Excited.
J: So let's dive right into your favorite quote and then let's tell the listeners more about you because I love you, but I… I don't know, maybe they're not among the 170 million people who have seen your video. But…
J: So… yeah, your favorite quote.
C: My favorite quote right now is… it's an anonymous one; if I could find out who actually said it, it'd be great.
C: But I love the quote that says, “Comparison is a thief of joy.”
C: And that's really kind of been my go-to this past year, it's… and before that, but really, it's kind of resurfaced again this year and I'm really digging it right now.
J: Oh, that's a good one. Well, so, you know, you said this year, give us the quick version of what's happened to you this year, in case somebody listening doesn't know you.
C: Well, I was a stay at home mama, and I am, that roll has not ended for me; glory.
C: And I find… and I was celebrating my birthday week. I don't know if you know this, but when you get a certain age, you start having a birthday weeks and not just birthdays.
C: And I'm pretty sure that once I’m past 40, I get a whole month. And then after that, like I'm just going to be grateful to be alive a full year, you know?
J: Yeah, right.
C: You can celebrate every day.
C: But I'd gone to Kohl's, picked up a toy for myself after not being able to find something that I really wanted and clothes and, you know, I thought, “I'm going to do this for myself, it's my birthday week,” and went on Facebook Live to show my mom friends. And… and what ended up just being a 4 minute video of 3 minutes of me playing and laughing with this toy mask got shared that evening with a million people and viewed a million times. And by the time I woke up, I had broken records.
C: And I had now viewed 24 million times, and I had more than 15 to 20 voicemails from like CNN and NPR and BBC…
C: … and Fox and Friends and all the news channels in New York and in my local town. And I'm telling you, it just got out of control. It really showed me the definition of what viral is. (Laughs)
J: We have an audio clip of that; I'll play that right now.
[Audio clip playing]
J: Yeah, that is the so hilarious. So CNN and all these people reached out to you and, you know, like did you freak out, “What!”? What did you do?
C: Oh my gosh! I felt like Jason Bourne all of a sudden.
C: I was like, “How did they find me? I need to go in hiding and like, you know, find a suitcase with multiple dollar bills in different, you know, monetary values in different countries.” It was weird! It was the craziest thing being able to be found that quickly and had voicemails from people all across the world. And literally, I say all across the world; there were, you know, BBC and… and there was a group in Ireland that was reaching out to me and one in Australia. It was just like, “What had happened?”
J: (Laughs). So I have a funny question.
J: Did you feel pressured to laugh like that for the rest of your life? (Laughs)
C: Oh Lord, no.
J: No, okay.
C: Oh, good night, no. I don't feel the pressure of it; I hear it. I hear the request for it. It's so funny because people, when they meet me, some of them will say, “Hey, do the laugh.”
C: Like it’s something that I can just do.
C: And I'm hitting here thinking, “I almost wet myself when I did that laugh, I'm not going to do it right here now.”
J: (Laughs). Right.
C: “Like when you've had 2 kids, you have bladder issues, you just wait and you hold those for worthy moments; it's not going to be in an airport with your selfie,” you know?
J: Oh, that's hilarious. Well, so back to that quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy,”…
J: … so you're suddenly like famous.
J: So tell us what that's like and how that quote has helped you.
C: Oh my gosh, famous is just weird. You know, everybody thinks about fame, is just not true; it's just not true. I feel like the Notting Hill moment, you know, where she's like, “I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking her to love me.”
C: It's not real; the fame thing really isn't. But what I have discovered is, your true friends, when something like this happens to you, they kind of bow out; like they go, “Oh, she probably needs some time to figure this out,” or, “That's kind of crazy in her schedule. I'm going to… I'm going to not call her and ask her for coffee. She's probably way too preoccupied.” So what that happens next is the crazy people; the crazy people get on there with you and they're like, “I'm going to take up that space that your real friends were in now that they’ve left.”
J: (Laughs). Geesh!
C: You know? And so it's just a really weird place to be, in all honesty. But a good thing is, is I love crazy people; I'm one of you.
J: Oh, yeah, right.
C: You’re hashtag #mypeople, right?
C: And so it's been a fun, fun journey, but the same thing, it really… all it has amounted to in my life is just meeting some incredible people with influence and platform.
C: Other people like to call them celebrities, I just call them some great people. And then, for me, it's also meeting some incredible people that have 0 influence and platform and getting to meet everybody that has seen the video that says it's meant something to them.
C: So people are people; I love them. And fame is just this really fickle thing. So…
J: Yeah. And let's go deeper than that, who is the real Candace Payne? Who are you before all of that? Who are you, really? You know what I mean? The real you.
C: Yeah, behind the mask.
C: I feel like we're getting like exclusive!
J: (Laughs). I didn't mean it that way, but you know what I mean.
C: I know what you mean; I know what you mean. I feel like who I am is what you see; what you see is what you get. And I know a lot of people say that and they really don't mean it, but I really do. I am 100% enthralled with this idea of being way more authentic than integrous. Everybody loves somebody that is real, and I think we all have this BS meter that's pretty huge, and we know when somebody's trying to fake us out; we see it all the time. And as a matter of fact, as a society, we'll find somebody they've done something horrific, I mean, horrific, and if in 3 days they come back with a heartfelt, sincere, authentic apology, we forgive so quickly.
C: And I think that's because we value people that are just real. And, in all honesty, I really love being who I was before this and after this. Now, I am more than just a laugh and I am more than just a lady that likes to play as a grown up; big, fluffy kid, you know?
C: I am… what I long discovered and finally embraced is that I would describe myself to somebody that didn't know me as somebody that has whimsical wisdom.
C: There are great highs when I have highs and there are incredible depths to me as well, that I would hope people would discover as they read my book; that I am definitely more than just a laugh, that I am the substance behind the laughter as well.
J: Oh, that's great. Well, speaking of your book, there's a section that I loved, it’s after you had your baby, Cadence, yeah.
C: Well, they were so close together so, I mean, you can just name either one and I'm like, “Yeah, that was about the same time.” (Laughs)
J: Ah, Okay. Well, so… I mean, I always ask what your low point is, and I don't know if that's it, but do you have a low point you want to tell us about before we go there?
C: Oh, man. Well, I was really coming out of postpartum depression. You know, when you've never had that, you don't know how to identify it quickly.
C: So I remember being a new mama. First of all, they let you leave with that thing.
C: They don't like ask for a license or credentials or, “What are you going to do with it when you take it home?” they just let you leave the hospital with a baby.
J: (Laughs). Right.
C: Nobody told me that that was going to be so frightening but it was.
C: And I get home and I'm sitting here, and I love my daughter, I love her, and I love the experience of being a new mama, but for some reason, it was just a couple days after getting home with her, I remember waking up and looking at him and not realizing if I loved him and loved him being a part of all of that; being married to him, being with him, him being my partner in crime. You know, I mean, he was a good dad and I could tell that, but for some reason that I cannot explain, I did not look at him in the same way that I did when I married him and I didn't know if I wanted to be with him, in all honesty.
J: Yeah. I'm going to read that section from your book actually; I marked it.
J: So you wrote… this is your book, ‘Laugh It Up’, you wrote, “Chris could tell I was beginning to distance myself from him. He could sense it every morning, he would go to hug me or grab my hips as he stood behind me and every night when we went to sleep and I stayed far away from him in bed. Empty of emotion, I finally told him that I didn't know if I loved him any longer or could ever love him again. I wish there were a particular grudge or rational reason that made me feel that way, but there just wasn't. I just know I didn't know why I had fallen in love with him to begin with nor how to fake feeling fine being with him daily now. Tired of pretending, I told him all the dark thoughts I was having toward him. Chris calmly said to me the wisest and most reassuring words; and let me add, most romantic. He said, ‘Well, you'd better figure it out because I'm not going anywhere.’” Oh.
C: (Laughs). Yeah.
J: Such a good guy. So tell us what happened after that.
C: Well, you know, we found ourselves trying to reconnect and it was hard; it was hard. I did not know that I was going through postpartum depression, I just felt this huge disconnect. But I knew that the resolve of what we were going to do together and to get through it was there. And I remember just this sweet night that he said, “Hey, you've been trapped in this house, you've been changing diapers all day, you've been trying to do feeding schedules, let's just go out to eat to one of our favorite restaurants together. We're going to sit there and enjoy each other's company.” And we left and, I'm telling you, we got to this restaurant and it was the first time in weeks that we had had our child sleep the entire meal.
C: Like, moms alone don't get a meal, you know what I'm talking about?
C: Like you're the last one to sit down, it's never hot when you start eating it, you're always like, “Oh my god, can I just have a good meal?” And this was the first time I'd had a good meal, I had clarity. And I looked over across the table and I just like everything flooded with all the feels. I just looked at him I was like, “I like you. Like, I don't know what I've been thinking.”
C: “Like, I know who I've been around you.” And he was like, “Okay, now that you've said this,” he said, “let's get some help.”
C: I'm telling you, it was an incredible night; that night just being with each other. And here's the other part of the story. I honestly can't remember if I put all the details in, and I won't go too crazy, but that night was the first night that we reconnected as, you know, a married couple…
C: … since having my daughter and we used 3 forms of birth control and became pregnant with my son.
J: No! No way!
C: Oh yes, we did.
C: Oh yes, we did. So it was just meant to be that that clarity was brought back to my mind and I was coming out of that dark spot with him.
C: But, yeah, it's a special night to remember, for sure.
J: Did you have the postpartum issues again after your son?
C: Yeah, I did, and they were easy to identify; much easier because I'd already walked through it and so I was prepared to circumvent it.
C: I mean, I already knew going in, I told my OBGYN, I said, “I faced this with my daughter and I don't want to go through that again with my son.” And so I immediately, about 5 or 6 days after the hospital, started taking antidepressants to curb and wean off of that. So…
J: Oh, yeah, that's great.
J: Well, it reminds me of a friend of mine named Rachel. She said, every time she was pregnant, she hated her husband; but that was during pregnancy. So it's so funny how that happens.
C: (Laughs). Oh my goodness!
C: It’s like, “What in the world!”
J: Right. Well, so you came out of that place and you're happy again. Well, tell some tips, how do you stay happy? Because no one's happy all the time.
J: You know, when your moods low, how do you boost it up again?
C: There are things that I do personally that consistently… like, we're talking about tragedy here. When tragedy hits, when sorrow and I'm… deep sorrow hits, there are things that I do that… I pray. Listen, I'm a person of faith that, just to be connected with something greater than what my life is here on this earth, it makes me feel centered, it makes me feel like I'm connected to something greater than whatever is happening to me.
C: And that I have a purpose and that I'll get through it, you know?
C: I believe… that's very personally the way that I approach it. Now, if you're talking to somebody that they don't really believe in God and they don't have faith that something is governing and controlling this universe and all the decisions, you know, I get… listen, Christianity is kind of a mixed bag of crazies when you're looking on the outside in.
C: It looks crazy; I get it. So I don't want to, you know, put them in a corner and say, “You can't experience this as well.” Really, what I've discovered at the crux of all of it is this; the Christians, we want to say everything comes from God, and I wholeheartedly believe that as a believer in God. However, I also know that if that's not even on your radar, you can just start with this truth; that you cannot actually obtain and sustain joy without hope. If you find yourself hopeless at any single point in your life, you cannot have joy at the same time; you just can't, it's impossible. I've never met a person that is completely hopeless and can possess joy. And I feel like if people can get their hopes up, you can start to see glimmers of what joy actually looks like in your life.
J: Okay. So homeless person, let's go there, what do they have to hope for? Just give us some ideas how this looks practically?
C: Mmm. For me, when I was homeless, I was hoping for a home. I was hoping that my family would get stronger together.
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
C: You know? I mean, I wasn't hoping for, in all honesty, a mansion at that point.
C: I was just hoping for warmth. I was hoping for my friends not to notice it's cool. (Laughs)
J: Yeah, yeah.
C: But I was also hoping a lot for my family. I wanted my dad to get a good well-paying job, and so I hope that he would. I never believed that we were so dire that that wouldn't happen. I wanted to see my siblings do well in their dreams. I wanted to hope for them that they wouldn't be in that situation as well with their families when they grew older.
J: Right, yeah.
C: I mean, I was a 9 year old kid, but yet I knew how to hope for that. Yeah.
J: So what happens to adults where they lose hope? I'm thinking in particular a lot of women, stay-at-home moms in particular, are burnt out and exhausted and depressed.
J: And they're just like, “Ugh, there's never going to be happiness again,” you know? What do you say for them?
C: Well, I think that that has to do a lot with the way that you already talk to yourself.
C: I think there's value in learning how to speak to yourself as though you were motivational; as though you were inspirational.
C: You know, we waste that effort on a lot of people that probably don't want to be inspired or motivated. You know what I mean?
C: We waste those conversations on people that could care less about what we have to say, but then we speak to ourselves in a way that we would never talk to our worst enemy.
C: And I feel like, if you could switch those internal conversations, the hope can come out of that; it really can. The problem is, is that our brains… and I'm being really serious about this, I'm not scientific in just who I am, but I have discovered and done just a small amount of research on Google and Wikipedia, which they're so trustworthy. And…
C: I discovered that the brain has these tracks that develop as… you know, your nerves, they send certain messages in a certain way and it starts carving out deeper and deeper tracks inside your brain.
C: And those create habits. And the more you speak to yourself in this negative voice, in a hopeless voice, in a voice that says, “Ah, this is just how it's going to be;. I'll never get out of this. This is hopeless. This is awful,”…
C: … the more it is hard to get on a different path and think differently and to let your brain fire a different way. It has to take intentional work to speak and change the script in your mind.
J: Oh, that is so good. Well, yeah, be your own self-help guru, really. (Laughs)
C: Everybody can be.
C: That’s the thing. You have that ability in you to change the script.
J: Mm-hmm, love it, “Change the story.” Well, Candace, that's excellent advice; I really love it. So let's shift into talking more about something that's exciting you today. We mentioned your book, you want to tell us more about that or your show? What's happening in your life?
C: Yeah, like it is a whirlwind of a season right now. We are less than 3 weeks, as we're recording this, from the book launching and being in stores. And I’ve got to be honest with you, I stood in the entryway of a Barnes & Noble the other day and I was just crying for a good like 5 minutes.
C: And before I realized, the glass doors were opening and closing.
C: And I needed to walk inside. I am in awe that this will be in people's hands and available. Listen, there is some incredible things that happen when you've been poor and now you're able to make money on something that you feel like you're doing well.
C: I think I'm going to be a good author; I already am… need to own the fact that I have written a book and I'm an author, but I… I really feel like it's more than just earning a table or a spot for my kids to have more and for us to give more in this world. Man, I see this incredible opportunity for people to find and discover and change the way that we live our lives full of joy.
C: And I've put so much of my heart into it that it kind of… it's one of these things that is making me beyond nervous. I’ve got to be honest with you, I feel like I'm standing in a hallway right now, looking under a door that has some feet moving and some light, and I don't know what's behind it when it opens, but I'm excited about it, you know?
C: I know there's something going on behind there, and November 7th can't come quick enough if you're asking me. (Laughs)
J: Oh yeah. Well, your book’s phenomenal; I loved it.
C: Mmm, thank you.
J: Yep. That’s ‘Laugh It Up’, for everyone listening; so good, you are a good author. Well, let's take a break for our sponsor and then we'll come back and talk about your favorite things.
(Interview resumes) [:]
J: Alright, welcome back. Candace, what is a habit that has contributed to your success?
C: Mmm, I would say one of the greatest habits and the greatest things that I could evoke other people to do is simply be honest with yourself and don't take yourself too seriously. That's hard work; it's very, very hard work, but it's something that I have to do every single day. There's not a moment that I'm not faced with that decision to try; try very desperately to feel overwhelmed or to feel as though I'm crushed under the weight of everybody's opinion of me around me or what I'm thinking about myself. It's just, don't take yourself too seriously and do the honest hard work of evaluating where you need to, and be a better person.
J: Oh, that's great; great. What does your morning routine look like; if you have one?
C: Ah. I get up and go pee like everybody else in the world.
C: And then I brush my teeth and I make coffee and I kiss my kiddos and wake them up, and we get everybody ready for school, and get my husband and all of them out the door; he takes them to school right now. And then I spend about anywhere between 20 minutes at the very minimum to a good 2 hours of just singing as though I'm in a church service with some friends. I listen to a 45 minute to an hour podcast of motivational speaking or teaching or preaching. And then I engage my mind in something that I do not know how to do and I try to do it.
J: Mmm! I love that!
J: Body, mind, and spirit; yeah.
J: All of it. So singing with friends, are they coming to your house? Are you doing it over the Internet? What's the..?
C: I do it over the internet. We get some jam parties going and we FaceTime or we do some group chats and we just sing a little bit.
J: That's a blast! (Laughs)
C: Yeah, it is!
J: All your friends right there, you don't even have to go anywhere; that's great.
C: I know a lot of musical friends, so it's just kind of maybe changes every day, but yeah.
J: Candace, like kind of you're a talent… you know, a talent magnet. Because I've heard you sing, and that's amazing, I'm hearing you speak, I saw you write in this book.
J: How on earth? Amazing! Were you just born so talented?
C: I will say this, I have always been pegged by those that really know me as somebody as a jack of many trades, right?
J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
C: And a master of none.
C: That also comes with that. I have heard many, many times over in my life from those that know me the dearest, they've been like, “Gosh, we know that just one of these is going to stick someday. It's going to break you through. You're going to be somebody that has platform and you just got to pick one though.” And I think it's so funny that I've ignored that advice and I've gone with my gut and I've been… with my hands and everything. And, you know, what I'm going to love her more of developing my sense of adventure than my sense of talent or ability.
C: And it is serving me very well right now in the season that I'm in. Because I've needed every single one of those things that I've clung to over these years but, you know what? I may not be a master in them, but I genuinely have enough talent in all of them to serve me well for what I'm doing.
J: Yeah! It's like meant to be.
C: Yeah, it's been good; it's been good.
J: Who knew though that the thing that would crack it open would be the Chewbacca mask; it's just craziness.
J: But it was all coming no matter… it could have been a different way, but it was all coming down the pipe.
C: Oh yeah; oh yeah.
J: Well, what are your favorites easy meals that you like to eat or a favorite easy meal; just one maybe?
C: Wow. I love some good Chili Frito pie.
J: Oh yeah, that's a southern thing, right?
C: Oh yeah, it is. Make a big pot of Chili and then you just open up one of those individual bags of Fritos and you pour the chili right on top and then you put some cheese on it.
C: Don't even dirty a dish.
J: Oh, right in the bag.
C: Yeah, do it; it’s good.
J: No, that’s so great.
J: What's your favorite book?
C: Well, my favorite book right now that I'm reading is called ‘God is Good’ and it's by Bill Johnson. And I love that he's just talking about, “He's better than we think.” I think that's something that most people debate about… first of all, you’ve got to believe there's a God, and the second thing is, you’ve got to trust that he's good. If you can't do that, don't even try to pursue Christianity because it'll just be effortless for you or just… not effort…
J: Too much work. (Laughs)
C: Yeah, too much work. It'll suck; like, you will hate it. (Laughs). And so I love hearing his take on why he believes and how he trusts that God's good. So, yeah.
J: Awesome. And the best advice you've ever received.
C: Hmm. (Laughs). I want to think of, you know, something that's really deeper than this, but I’ve just got to be honest with you. The best advice I've ever received is, “Baby, keep your belt of truth on you, because if you lose your belt, you lose your pants and you show your rear.”
C: I remember hearing that as a kid thinking, “Yeah, alright, gotta keep my belt on,” and to just be truthful, to be honest, and to be authentic in everything you do.
J: Ah! I'm going to say that's my kids. I bet they'll stare at me like, “What?”
J: Well, I'll remind our listeners that, you guys can find links to everything Candace has been talking about at jenriday.com/88, plus a link to her amazing book, ‘Laugh It Up’. And now, Candace, tell us what it means for you to be a vibrant happy woman.
C: Wow. Well, I believe, in all honesty, it just means being more attracted to risk and adventure than failure. It actually means jumping in when you feel like you're going to lose it all and just take the chance, you know? I know that that sounds like 50 million motivational postcards you've probably got in the mail or seen on a teacher's wall in the classroom, but it's true. I have found that there's so much joy and happiness every time I risk, even if I fail at it. Even if I fail, I always want to be failing forward, you know? And I'm one of those that genuinely loves the idea of risking it all; I don't feel like I've lived unless I have.
J: Mmm! Well, fantastic of advice; we'll leave it right there. Thank you for being on the show, Candace.
C: Thank you.
J: Thank you so much for listening and I hope you have a phenomenal day, a phenomenal week, and be sure to join me next when I talk with Heather Chauvin, all about sustainable motherhood; taking care of yourself and having those boundaries with your kids so you can keep your energy. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.