June Diane Raphael and Jessica St. Clair are two actresses and longtime friends who found themselves facing loneliness and disconnect during the pandemic. To combat these feelings, they decided to launch their podcast, The Deep Dive, where they discuss their pursuit of joy amidst relatable challenges like motherhood and aging. The podcast became a source of solace for them and their growing community of listeners.
When the double strike in the industry threatened to trigger a similar existential crisis, Raphael and St. Clair came up with a solution: they launched the Deep Dive Academy of Significance. Described as their take on Patreon, the academy offers bonus content for a monthly fee. It includes instructional videos, a student portal, and is overseen by their newly formed Headmistress personas.
The academy and the podcast both touch on wellness-adjacent topics. While they discuss themes like modern womanhood and life in the public eye, they focus on opening up their lives rather than restricting themselves. They satirize the promises of wellness and ideal forms of living, emphasizing the importance of community and enjoying oneself without always striving for optimization.
One of the academy’s notable features is its book club, which launched with Elise Loehnen’s On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good. They asked students to submit photos of the mess in their homes, along with a blurb about what they were doing instead of cleaning. This exercise allowed participants to embrace their messiness and challenged the notion that women always have to be optimizing their lives.
The timing of launching the academy, amidst the strikes, turned out to be a blessing. It provided Raphael and St. Clair with a creative outlet and reminded them of their roots as scrappy creators. They are also able to involve their friends and build a community through the academy. Having control over their content and being able to keep the profits makes them feel empowered, strengthening their solidarity with their unions.
The initial vision for the academy was to expand the Deep Dive experience and create a space where they could all learn how to find more joy in life together. They already have live experiences like Pickleball tournaments, and they wanted to bring that sense of community to the academy. Founding an Institute of Higher Education, although satirical, is deeply satisfying for them and allows them to take up space in a subversive way.
As Headmistresses, St. Clair and Raphael naturally fell into their roles. St. Clair describes herself as the easygoing and fun parent, while Raphael is the one who sets the rules and guidelines. Their friend group also plays along with this dynamic. They believe that being told what to do can provide a sense of safety and structure in chaotic times.
Overall, the Deep Dive Academy of Significance is a testament to Raphael and St. Clair’s creativity and resilience. It allows them to continue creating content, connect with their listeners, and empower themselves in the industry. By embracing their messiness and focusing on joy and community, they offer a refreshing perspective on wellness and self-improvement.