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Meet Lara Vanian Green

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lara Vanian Green.

Lara Vanian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The idea for Armenian Enough – the podcast – came from a conversation I had with a friend, where we were talking about all kinds of things that fall under the general umbrella of LIFE. However, there was an additional layer of examination, an all-too-familiar one for people who belong to two or more cultures: what did this mean as an Armenian? (A variant of WWJD?)

And when I pointed that out, she suggested I host a talk-show of some kind on the topic. Eventually, that morphed into a podcast idea. We discussed whether it should be in Armenian or English. I wasn’t sure my Armenian was up to par or whether we would reach our target audience (i.e., people like us). She said, “Well, you’re not Armenian-Armenian!” and I said, “Yeah, but I’m Armenian enough!” Immediately, I knew I wanted that to be the name of the podcast.

Armenian Enough is about all aspects of life and culture in the diaspora. What does it mean to be Armenian enough? Who gets to decide the degree to which we are allowed to claim our heritage? How does belonging to two (or more) cultures affect our experiences, our world view, and our most intimate relationships?

Every other Thursday (when the podcast is in season) we release an episode exploring an aspect of Armenian culture. We have episodes about coming out to conservative parents, about interracial marriages and raising biracial children, and even about Armenian paganism.

My goal, outside of self-expression and discovery, is that Armenian Enough serves as a place where diasporan Armenians can find a true community where we are understood and embraced in every aspect — to finally feel at home in our own skin.

Our growth has been slow and steady. We don’t pay to advertise so the growth has been completely word-of-mouth. As of today, we have over 27,000 downloads – something I’m very proud of, considering what a niche community we represent.

The most rewarding aspect of putting myself out there (I do share about myself on the show) is the countless letters and messages I receive from listeners saying they never realized there were other people like them until they listened to the show. I felt the same way! The fact that we can connect in this way and realize that we are not alone and that our experiences are shared by others gives me the encouragement I need to keep pushing the envelope of what it means to be Armenian Enough in today’s world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The hardest part was probably the steep learning curve regarding the technical aspects of podcasting! I had never so much as listened to a podcast before I had the idea to make one. I just knew I had a lot to say and I was banking on the fact that if I felt a certain way, there were probably a lot of other people who felt the same.

I watched tons of tutorials and read books, but at the end of the day, there was nothing more powerful than plugging in the microphone and starting to record. I’m still not the best at editing, but I’m improving all the time. I spend between 4 to 6 hours editing my podcasts. Weekly, between booking guests, research, recording, editing and then promoting on social media, I would say I spend about 20 hours a week on each episode. That’s a lot of unpaid labor, but I look at it as a community service. We need this. I know we need it because of the overwhelming response of our listeners. And I don’t plan to stop doing what I’m doing until I’m all out of things to say, but people who know me well know how unlikely that is!

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Our podcast is the only podcast dedicated to life and culture in the Armenian diaspora. We feature outside the box topics and interview people who are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be Armenian. We are known for being a progressive, LGBTQ positive, forward-thinking voice within the community and we call out racism, homophobia, and out-of-date mores at every turn.

I am incredibly proud that we are able to showcase the many expressions of modern diasporan Armenians and in doing so, break free from the tired old notions of having to fit in a particular box to be deemed acceptable within our communities.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Of course, I would love our podcast to hit one million downloads, but that’s not how I measure success. It’s the fact that our show is relevant, that it touches people, makes them think… and hopefully, opens their mind to new ways of being, new ways of recognizing their place in the world. To me, being a success means making a difference, and I believe we are doing that with every episode. We discuss things that have long been considered taboo in Armenian culture, from infertility to being transgender, to losing a spouse to suicide. We aren’t afraid to confront difficult topics and we do so with compassion and integrity.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Samantha Vanian-Green

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