Paige: You are listening to “Coffee with Gringos.” I’m Paige Sutherland.
Ian: And I'm Ian Kennedy.
Paige: So, today we're talking about role models. We're going to talk a little bit about our childhood growing up, what kind of role models existed then, as well as today as they've definitely been changing.
Ian: That's definitely apparent.
Paige: Remember, if you get lost, go on the website for the full transcript as well as the audio guide. So, Ian, growing up, what were some role models that you looked up to?
Ian: Role models growing up. So, there were a few. For me, it was a little different. I didn't have a lot of your typical celebrity role models or sports athletes. There were some but for me, it was mostly actually my family. So, my biggest role model was my grandpa. He basically was one of my best friends—we spent a lot of time together and when I was young. And so, we did a lot of activities together. He taught me how to cook, taught me to love history and to travel. And so, a lot of who I am today is thanks to him. So, I always looked up to him as a big influence and role model. And of course, the rest of my family, as well, but him in particular. Besides that, you have the more famous sports athletes. For example, when we were growing up: Michael Jordan—a big one. I think every kid, including myself, had a Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan, jersey and dreamed of playing in the NBA. And he was a real sports influence and a real source of inspiration for a lot of young kids, I feel like.
Paige: Absolutely. And of course, the famous “Space Jam”.
Ian: Who doesn't love “Space Jam”? Should have won an Oscar, in my opinion.
Paige: Growing up in our generation, everyone was obsessed to Space Jam. Thus, they were obsessed with Michael Jordan. And he has he has such an interesting story too, because he was cut from his high school basketball team.
Ian: Exactly. He went through a lot of struggles to get to where he was. And for that reason, was a really good example of not giving up and to keep striving for what you want.
Paige: I think growing up, my sports idol was Mia Hamm. I played soccer, probably since I could walk. Like everyone, you think you're going to be professional, but clearly not good enough. I heard you are also a soccer fan.
Ian: I was, I played soccer growing up and we actually named our dog, my family, after Mia Hamm. So, she as well was a big source of inspiration for us as well.
Paige: naming your dog after someone is pretty, pretty intense.
Ian: It’s pretty significant, I think. Yeah.
Paige: What's funny is my childhood dog—pretty embarrassing—her name was China. My dad loved WWE wrestling.
Ian: I was just gonna say I wonder if…
Paige: So, we named our dog after the wrestler.
Ian: How funny. So, was the wrestler an actual role model for you? Or it was just the naming?
Paige: No, definitely not a role model. I think it was more like a family tradition that we would watch it together. And then we would all, like, wrestle after. It was, like, a weird tradition. And so, it just became like part of the family. But now, it still exists today. They still have that and it's terrible. I can't believe I watched it when I was younger. It’s so unrealistic. Some other big ones I feel like growing up, probably Tiger Woods. I feel like he was a big role model for a lot of people. Especially, he had such an interesting story. He was so young.
Ian: Yeah, you know, from a young age, progressing through the sport, and also being a minority as well—being someone of mixed Asian and black ethnicity. He was a big inspiration for a lot of people for that reason.
Paige: Here, the sport is soccer or football, right? That's, like, it. There's no, I mean, tennis maybe a little bit, but it's mostly football. That's what everyone watches. But in the US, we have so many sports that are popular. I mean, American football, soccer, basketball, hockey, you name it. We have so many sports, we have so many role models that are out there. And every sport—golf, swimming, tennis, everything.
Ian: Depending on what's your thing.
Paige: And I think it's interesting, because sports are such a part of the culture in US, they are one of the top role models and you kind of idolize them growing up. But also, it adds so much pressure to their careers, because they're not only having to perform on the court or on the field, but also in life. It's like every part of their life is analyzed.
Ian: Yeah, scrutinized.
Paige: And when they fall, everyone knows about it. Like, Tiger Woods, he had a few rough patches, and it was all in the news. And he lost sponsorships and his career really suffered because of what he did in his personal life.
Ian: It's like the old saying that “the bigger you are, the harder you fall.”
Paige: Yeah, what is the Spider Man quote? It's like “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Ian: Exactly. You know it very well.
Paige: So, It's definitely true in the US. Our sports athletes are really role models, whether they want to or not. And their careers can really suffer if they don't perform in that role. Musicians, I think musicians people idolize—everyone wants to be a superstar. Like Michael Jackson, I think, you know, probably a little bit before us, like, more like our parents’ generation, Michael Jackson was like the “it thing.”
Ian: King of Pop.
Paige: He was so popular. Everyone loved him. Everyone loved music, they loved his style, they loved everything about him. I mean, his concerts were always sold out. So famous. And then obviously, things came out. And now he's, has quite a bad reputation.
Ian: Yeah, his reputation has really taken a hit. And a lot of people that saw him as the squeaky clean, perfect image of success and even character don't necessarily feel that way now because of details that have come out. So, it's very strange to see these huge, giant stars and role models when they have their fall from grace. I don't know, you see a different side of them that you thought you never would see.
Paige: I mean, obviously his case is so stark and depressing and terrible. You know, what happened with him. But I think it's difficult now because with music, it's not like sports, you know, you have your prime and then you retire with music is forever. I mean, those songs are still popular today. But now, it's like, can I listen to Michael Jackson still and not support child molestation?
Ian: Exactly. It's like you almost feel guilty listening to the music.
Paige: So yeah, I think today, obviously twenty-four/seven news cycle. Everything's being reported. Everything's out of the closet. Everyone's hidden secrets or flaws are out. And when you see them, you’re, like, “ew, maybe you aren't a good role model.”
Ian: Yeah. And it kind of brings them to a realness as well. Kind of in a bad way, kind of shows their humanity. Because before you see them as this big star, maybe untouchable someone in a different kind of almost even existence than most people. And when you see that they're not quite what you thought they were, it brings them down a level. Here in Chile, I think it's obvious to say that the footballers like Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal or Gary Medel, you see people everywhere with soccer jerseys walking on the street. And really, in the case of these players too, you have a lot of players who grew up very poor, and didn't have opportunity. And now they're showing that if you work hard, if you stay determined, you can change your life and your family's life. And I think that's a big source of inspiration for people everywhere. But when you see it happen in your own country, in your own reality, it becomes more real to you, as well. That I can do this, someone else has done this—I don't have to live or exist like this forever. And so, that's a really apparent one for me here. And like we mentioned earlier, with how big the football culture is here, it's clear to see the inspiration and the role models and in that sort of way.
Paige: Just the other day I was outside my apartment, and there's an OK Market and in front of the OK Market, there is a sign that is just a poster of the Chilean national football team. And it's, you know, all the superstars. And these kids, probably five, ran over and pointed and took pictures with just the poster. These players, you know, are role models for so many generations, even the adults here.
Ian: Of course, of course.
Paige: Some big ones in the US would definitely have to be Taylor Swift. Not so much my generation. I'm too old, but the younger generation, like, idolize her.
Ian: Yeah, everyone’s always talking about her. People go crazy for her.
Paige: A few generations ago, it was probably Madonna. There's also a lot of historical role models that I think, you know, are forever lasting. I mean, I think growing up big in school, Martin Luther King, Jr. was really big, you know, in the US. I mean, he was just a beautiful speaker. So, all his speeches were always quoted and very inspiring. Nelson Mandela from South Africa. Also, that kind of theme of racial equality.
Ian: Rosa Parks.
Paige: Rosa Parks, exactly. I think today would probably be the Obama's would fall in that category. And you have Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is the Supreme Court Justice in the US who is a big advocate for women's rights, which is blowing up globally now, too. She's probably one of the biggest role models, I would say in the US during this time period. Is there any role model—let's say if you could grab a beer with right now—is there anyone, whether they're alive or dead, that you would love to do that with?
Ian: Maybe, maybe Bill Murray? I feel like he's a guy that’s a very interesting role model. Someone you could you could talk for a long time to have a lot of interesting conversations. So yeah, I think maybe him.
Paige: That's a good one. It's pretty cliché, but I feel like if we're just talking about people who are alive, I feel like Barack Obama. I mean, being President takes you to places and meeting people, and the stories that he might have, are pretty incredible. And he seems like someone who's not only super smart, but very witty. He seems like he's a lot funnier than what you just see when he's all put together.
Ian: Exactly. If we’re talking about famous politicians, for example, I can’t relate to almost one hundred percent of them, but he seems like a guy that you could sit down and have a good conversation, have a beer and seems a little bit more human, “down to earth” than then some of our other examples we see.
Paige: So yeah, so role models can be in all shapes and sizes. It can be personal, you know, your mom, your grandfather. It can be pop stars, athletes, historians, you know. Maybe me and Ian are your role models, you know. You want to have your own podcast, and you're like “look at these two doing it.”
Ian: Yeah, look at us. We're great examples, right?
Paige: Well, anyhow, so again, if you get lost, go online to that transcript, and we will talk to you soon.
Ian: See ya.
Key Vocabulary, Phrases and Slang:
1. role model (noun): a person who is looked to by others as an example to be imitated.
a. Martin Luther King Jr. is a common role model in the US.
2. childhood (noun): period of time when someone is a child.
a. She told me that she had a very happy childhood.
3. apparent (adjective): clearly understood or obvious.
a. His confusion was apparent.
4. influence (noun): the ability to have an effect on the character or development of someone.
a. My grandfather was always a big influence on my life.
5. jersey (noun): a shirt specific to an athletic team.
a. I had a Michael Jordan jersey when I was a boy.
6. NBA (acronym/noun): The highest-level, professional basketball league in the US. An acronym for National Basketball Association.
a. The best basketball players all play in the NBA.
7. Space Jam (noun): a popular movie from the 1990’s starring Michael Jordan.
a. “Space Jam” is one of my all-time favorite movies!
8. Oscar (noun): an award given for movies in the Academy Awards.
a. There were many great movies nominated for an Oscar this year.
9. obsessed (adjective): completely focused on something, usually too much.
a. The scientist was obsessed with finding the cure for the tropical disease.
10. cut from (phrasal verb): to be rejected or denied a position in a group.
a. I was sad whenever I was cut from the football team.
11. struggle (noun): something difficult
a. It was a struggle to get out of bed this morning.
12. striving (verb): make an effort to achieve something
a. I’m striving to become a lawyer one day.
13. significant (adjective): important, considerable
a. We spent significant focus on the report to find the correct answers.
14. WWE wrestling (acronym/noun): a professional wrestling league in the US. An acronym for World Wrestling Entertainment.
a. My dad loves watching the WWE every Tuesday night.
15. ethnicity (noun): social group with similar cultural or racial origins and traditions.
a. The US includes a number of different ethnicities.
16. thing (noun): something that you particularly like or are interested in.
a. Cooking is definitely my thing.
17. idolize (verb): admire or love.
a. I idolize the musicians that I listened to as a boy.
18. scrutinized (adjective): closely followed and criticized.
a. Celebrities are scrutinized for everything they do.
19. rough patch (phrase/noun): difficult time or situation.
a. The divorce was a rough patch during his life.
20. sponsorship (noun): financial support given to someone.
a. There are many sponsorships among brands in professional sports.
21. reputation (noun): beliefs or thoughts about a particular person.
a. He has a bad reputation here because he is always lying.
22. take a hit (phrasal verb): to suffer damage or a loss.
a. Many people took a hit whenever the stock market crashed in 2008.
23. squeaky clean (adjective): completely clean
a. Mr. Rogers has a squeaky clean image in the community.
24. fall from grace (phrase): the loss of power or image.
a. Her fall from grace happened when she insulted the crime victim.
25. stark (adjective): severe, sharply clear.
a. There were stark differences between the two performances.
26. prime (adjective): main, of first importance.
a. Getting to the new location was our prime goal.
27. out of the closet (phrase): publicly known, no longer a secret.
a. The crimes he committed were finally out of the closet.
28. flaw (noun): an imperfection or weakness.
a. Everyone has their own certain flaws.
29. untouchable (adjective): unable to be changed or affected.
a. Kings and politicians believe that they have untouchable power.
30. poster (noun): a large printed picture.
a. There is a huge poster of the rock star in the city.
31. lasting (adjective): able to endure or continue for a period of time.
a. The president had lasting effects on the citizens of the country.
32. advocate (noun): person who publicly supports a particular cause.
a. I have always been an advocate for universal healthcare.
33. blowing up (phrasal verb): becoming widespread and popular.
a. The internet has been blowing up since the early 2000’s.
34. clichéd (adjective): showing a lack of originality.
a. She always says the most clichéd phrases when we talk.
35. witty (adjective): showing quick and inventive verbal humor.
a. John is such a witty guy. I’m always laughing around him!
36. put together (adjective): to be presentable and professional.
a. The CEO is very put together whenever he meets with investors.
37. down to earth (adjective): practical and reasonable.
a. My best friend is one of the most down to earth people I know.