The Stunning Transformation Of Call Her Daddy Host Alex Cooper

Just a few years ago, Alex Cooper was a recent college graduate who decided to launch a podcast with her roommate. That venture, which they dubbed "Call Her Daddy," became an instant hit with female Gen-Z listeners. As its popularity grew, Cooper weathered a messy split with her podcasting partner, only to emerge as a superstar podcaster in her own right. 

She's also come to be lauded as one of the best interviewers in the podcast game, something she attributes to her outgoing personality and natural curiosity. "In my conversations with my guests, you are always going to feel comfy-cozy," she explained in an interview with Rolling Stone. "That's where my personal skills as a human come in. I can literally talk to an acorn outside. I can talk to anyone."

As a podcaster, Cooper has proven to be both an alluring personality and a savvy businesswoman. Not only did "Call Her Daddy" become the second most-listened-to podcast on Spotify (following only comedian and controversy-magnet Joe Rogan), but she also managed to sign one of the most lucrative deals ever, all while expanding her brand and creating her own burgeoning media empire. To explore how she got there, keep on reading to experience the stunning transformation of "Call Her Daddy" host Alex Cooper.

Her psychologist mother helped Alex Cooper and her friends through adolescence

Alex Cooper grew up in suburban Pennsylvania, the middle child of a psychologist (her mother) and a TV producer specializing in NHL games (her dad). Cooper attended The Pennington School, a private school in New Jersey. While her family was comfortably middle class, she wasn't as wealthy as many of her Pennington peers. "I was constantly aware of money growing up," Cooper told The New York Times. "I remember, of my friends around me, I was considered the poorest." 

Cooper credits her mom for helping her and her friends navigate their teenage years. "My house was where you came to process emotions that maybe weren't as accepted," Cooper explained to Vanity Fair. She also believes that the competitive spirit that ultimately drove her to the top of the podcasting world was something instilled in her by her parents; as she pointed out in a different interview with The New York Times, her father was an athlete who played Division 1 hockey, while her mother had been a skilled equestrian. "I push myself to be the best I can," she said. 

Cooper went on to attend Boston College, where she excelled as a Division 1 soccer player. It was during this time that she experienced an undisclosed incident involving her coach that left her traumatized; as she told Cosmopolitan, she wasn't yet ready to discuss it publicly, but when she was, she'd do it on her podcast.

Call Her Daddy was an instant success

In 2018, Alex Cooper and her New York City roommate, Sofia Franklyn, were vacationing together when they came up with the idea for a podcast that would take an unflinching and comedically raunchy look at sex. They titled the podcast "Call Her Daddy," taking the name from a shirt that Cooper regularly wore in college, bearing the word "Daddy" on its front. As Cooper told Vanity Fair, she enjoyed seeing the way it threw men she dated off-balance, causing them to become uncomfortable. "They'd be frustrated, and I could tell it was because I shouldn't have this on my chest," she explained. "They're like, 'We're Daddy.' And I'm like, 'No, I'm Daddy.'"

The fresh and unfiltered approach the pair took in "Call Her Daddy" didn't take long to find an audience. "They talk about things everyone can relate to, especially people in college and their 20s," Addison Rose, a fan of "Call Her Daddy," told The New York Times. "It's interesting to hear sex talked about in such an honest way from a women's perspective."

Weeks after the first episode's debut, Cooper and Franklyn entered a three-year deal with Barstool Sports, initially paying them $75,000 per year. "We won't be for everyone," Cooper warned in a post shared on Barstool Sports

Her podcast deal with Barstool Sports ended in controversy

"Call Her Daddy" thrived under the umbrella of Barstool Sports; within its first two months, downloads exploded from 12,000 to 2 million. That success was undeniable, and proved to be lucrative for Barstool Sports, with that one podcast reportedly responsible for 35% of the company's total revenues. 

It all fell apart in April 2020. That was when reports emerged that Cooper and Franklyn were trying to find another home for the podcast — quite a conundrum, given that Barstool Sports owned the podcast's rights. At that point, Cooper and Franklyn stopped recording episodes as leverage while trying to renegotiate a better deal.

The behind-the-scenes squabble went public in May when Barstool Sports owner Dave Portnoy took over an episode of "Call Her Daddy" in order to share his gripes about Cooper and Franklyn. "In my 17 years of doing this, I have never dealt with anyone as unprofessional and disloyal and greedy as [the two women]," Portnoy said, as reported by the New York Post. Portnoy revealed their salaries had increased significantly, with each woman earning in the neighborhood of $500,000 per year. This was far more than what the duo's fans had imagined and bolstered Portnoy's narrative that they were driven by greed. "$500k a year to talk about sex once a week and that's not good enough for you?" tweeted an irate listener.

Her partnership with Sofia Franklyn imploded

As more details emerged in the fraught situation between "Call Her Daddy" hosts Alex Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, it became clear that a schism between the two women was at the center of everything. Their opposing viewpoints on renegotiating their Barstool Sports deal not only caused the whole thing to blow up but also fractured their friendship. When the dust settled, Cooper and Franklyn went their separate ways, with Cooper maintaining the intellectual property for "Call Her Daddy," while Franklyn went on to launch her own podcast, "Sofia with an F."

"I think I did everything in my power in that situation to make it work at the time," Franklyn told Rolling Stone, adding that her biggest regret wasn't losing her role in such a wildly successful podcast but that it ruined her friendship with Cooper. She did, however, also share her suspicions that Cooper sought a better deal for herself by going behind her back.

"We were being deemed b*****. We were having a 'catfight.' And I'm like, this is not a catfight. We're talking about a multimillion-dollar brand that is on the line," Cooper told Time of what happened between her and Franklyn, highlighting the underlying misogyny in how the situation was reported in the media. "If this were two men, that would not be the conversation."

She signed a $60M deal with Spotify

After the negotiations with Barstool Sports went south, and her partnership with Sofia Franklyn ended, Alex Cooper envisioned a big future for "Call Her Daddy" and wasn't shy about her ambitions. "I want to be the biggest podcast in the world," she told the Wall Street Journal.

Cooper took a large step closer to that goal in June of 2021 when she signed on with Spotify, with the streaming service becoming the exclusive home of "Call Her Daddy." As Variety reported at the time, that three-year deal was estimated at a staggering $60 million. In fact, reported the Los Angeles Times, that deal made Cooper Spotify's highest-paid female podcaster — and, in terms of salary, second only to Joe Rogen overall. "A woman just got what in the past would've been a male contract," she proudly told the Times.

Meanwhile, as the podcast's reach continued to expand, "Call Her Daddy" evolved beyond its origins of candid sex talk to become the destination of choice for big celebrities. "People will tell me they miss the old 'Call Her Daddy,' but that show was dying," Cooper explained, revealing that download numbers had been dropping. "It was like, 'How many times can we talk about sex?'" she said, adding that she was also beginning to feel limited by the podcast's original format. "I was getting a little bit bored," she said. "I need to be mentally stimulated by my content."

Appearing on Call Her Daddy can boost a musician's career

As the success of "Call Her Daddy" exploded, Alex Cooper began interviewing some of the biggest stars in show business; no less a luminary than legendary Oscar-winner Jane Fonda described Cooper as one of the most skilled interviewers she'd ever encountered. 

Cooper has also welcomed numerous musicians to "Call Her Daddy," and an invitation to appear on the podcast has become coveted. The reason? An interview with Cooper can lead to a substantial bump in streaming numbers for an artist's music. According to streaming data from Spotify, reported by Variety, streams of singer Anitta's songs increased by 155% within 48 hours of her appearance on "Call Her Daddy." The same held true for other artists, with Madison Beer experiencing a 130% bump in streaming, while John Legend's numbers jumped by 200% and John Mayer's by 350%.

It's not just her vast number of listeners but also Cooper's interviewing skills that have resulted in that impressive pattern. "When I sit down with an artist, it's all about getting to know the person behind the fame and music," she told Variety. "I don't settle for the usual questions like their favorite song on the album or what song is the most fun to perform. I dive deep into their life and uncover the experiences that shaped their music and identity."

Alex Cooper launched The Unwell Network

In August 2023, Alex Cooper took another big step when she launched her own media company, The Unwell Network. At the time, Variety reported that the company would develop projects for multiple platforms beyond podcasts, delving into subject matter, including fashion, pop culture, beauty, and more. However, podcasting was still Cooper's bread and butter, and she announced that the Unwell Network had signed social media influencer extraordinaire Alix Earle and TikTok star Madeline Argy to host their own podcasts. "We live in a world where we are inundated with content, but The Unwell Network will be the source everyone can go to for unique perspectives exploring what's top-of-mind today for this generation," said Cooper in a statement.

A few months after that announcement, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Cooper had extended her deal with Spotify, with content produced by The Unwell Network to join "Call Her Daddy" on the streaming service. In October 2023, Variety reported that Earle would be launching her "Hot Mess" podcast, while Argy debuted "Pretty Lonesome." 

"I don't think there's been a lot of people that have been able to quite literally take a brand, transform it into something essentially completely different, and not only stay successful, but grow even bigger," Cooper told Rolling Stone of the ever-expanding evolution of her brand. "And I am really proud of [that]." 

She landed on the Time100

Interestingly, it was Alex Cooper's split from Sofia Franklyn that forced her to take "Call Her Daddy" in a new direction that wound up bolstering downloads. "I felt like I was playing a character," Cooper said of her podcast persona in its original iteration during an interview with Rolling Stone. "When I finally got to do it on my own, I was like, 'What do I want this show to be?'"

That new direction has continued to pay dividends, and by 2023 it had become clear that Alex Cooper was no flash in the pan; in fact, Rolling Stone offered a tongue-in-cheek description of Cooper as Gen Z's answer to journalistic icon Barbara Walters, who was widely hailed for the often-surprising info that emerged from her interviews with celebrities. 

Cooper's status as a podcasting force was cemented when she was featured as one of 2023's Time100, the venerable magazine's annual list of the hundred most influential people. Comedian Chelsea Handler paid tribute in a piece about Cooper that she wrote for the magazine. Lauding Cooper's skills as an interviewer, Handler wrote, "She's like Nancy Drew on steroids, minus the collared dresses." Handler added: "On top of her roles as a news-making celebrity interviewer and burgeoning new-media magnate, she's also a champion for women's empowerment and sexual liberation. She tackles taboo topics and breaks down barriers, all while making us laugh our asses off."

She embarked on the Unwell Tour

In October 2023, the New York Post reported that Alex Cooper was taking "Call Her Daddy" on the road, embarking on her first-ever live concert tour. The brief Unwell Tour — consisting of just seven dates, spanning from November 3 to 14 — featured Cooper conversing with various stars in front of live audiences, including former One Direction member Zayn Malik, singing sensation Ciara, singer/actor Janelle Monáe, and rapper Post Malone.

Cooper appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" to promote the tour, telling viewers it had a bachelorette party theme and that it was going to be more of a theatrical stage presentation than simply an in-person podcast. "This show has more lighting cues than some Broadway shows," she said.

The highlight was Cooper's appearance at Madison Square Garden. As a tweet from Vanity Fair pointed out, Cooper's fans came out in full force, and there was little question of who that audience was. "Alex Cooper's sold-out live podcast event at Madison Square Garden had the spirit of a bachelorette party — and the gender composition of one, aside from a smattering of boyfriends."

Alex Cooper became a model for Kim Kardashian's Skims

Thanks to the success of "Call Her Daddy," Alex Cooper became a celebrity in her own right; for the millions who listen to her podcast, Cooper is arguably as famous as the stars she's interviewing.

That was certainly a big reason why Cooper was selected by reality TV star and entrepreneur Kim Kardashian to be at the center of an advertising campaign for her line of body-shaping undergarments, Skims. As Yahoo! Entertainment reported, Cooper was delighted to be Skims' new spokesperson for its new product line, Skims Romance. "I've always loved Skims, and I was so excited when they asked me to star in the campaign," she said in a press release, which revealed that the campaign was tied to her upcoming wedding. "To be a part of the launch ahead of my own wedding makes it such an extra fun celebration."

Selecting Cooper for its campaign was strategically brilliant, explained Hannah Eve, founder and CEO of social media marketing company the Current Agency. "Skims is solidifying themselves in the fabric of pop culture," she said, highlighting just how much of an honor it has become for a celeb to be chosen by Skims. "Since they're being so selective, it's impressive to be chosen for their campaigns," she added. "It's aspirational to appear in a Skims ad, as if it's a Vogue cover, or Sports Illustrated's Rookie of the Year."

She married longtime beau Matthew Kaplan

In April 2023, Alex Cooper announced that her longtime boyfriend, TV producer Matt Kaplan — known to listeners as "Mr. Sexy Zoom Man" due to having met him via a Zoom meeting during the pandemic — had popped the question, and she'd said yes. Sharing details of the proposal in an interview with W Magazine, Cooper revealed that Kaplan had set up a photoshoot for her — which she didn't realize he'd faked in order to get her out of the house. "When I came home that night, my entire house was covered in candles, lit all over, music playing, and a scavenger hunt leading to Matt proposing," she recalled.

Cooper and Kaplan were married in April 2024, with the nuptials taking place in Mexico's Riviera Maya. "It was everything we wanted it to be," Cooper told Vogue of their wedding ceremony. "It was emotional, heartfelt, and we tailored it to exactly how we always envisioned it."

One of the various ways in which Cooper broke with tradition was by walking down the aisle solo instead of being given away by her father. The reason, she explained, was her way of rejecting the patriarchal ideas implied by that traditional wedding staple. "At the beginning of wedding planning, I really rejected the concept of being walked down by a man to be handed to another man," Cooper said, noting that it wasn't intended to diss her dad but simply reflected her rejection of the tradition. "It's old and antiquated," she said.

She was tapped by NBC to cover the Paris Olympics

If there were any doubts that Alex Cooper's star was continuing to rise, those were handily squashed in April 2024 when NBCUniversal announced big plans for the "Call Her Daddy" host. As USA Today reported, Cooper had been tapped to participate in its multi-platform coverage of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. Cooper, the outlet noted, would be anchoring "Watch with Alex Cooper," a live-streamed daily show for the NBC-affiliated Peacock streaming service, in which she and her friends share their reactions while watching various Olympic events in real-time.

"I can't wait to find out what it's like to watch the Olympics with the incomparable Alex Cooper," said Molly Solomon, NBC Olympics executive producer and president, in a statement appearing in a press release. "'Watch with Alex Cooper' is designed to put the viewer in the room with her and her friends as they watch the athletes of Team USA take on the world. It should be a blast!"

Cooper concurred, sharing how excited she was about traveling to Paris to comment on athletes' achievements in various disciplines — particularly given her own past as a onetime Division 1 soccer player. "As a former athlete, the chance to cheer on the world's greatest athletes at the Olympics is beyond thrilling," Cooper declared in her statement. "We are going to have so much fun."