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  • Writer's pictureCait Donovan

Aria Johnson: Uncovering the True You During Burnout Recovery

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“The self-abuse—that we don’t even realize we’re doing—is so glorified in this society.” Aria Johnson, a TV personality and celebrity voice coach, is best known for appearing as the music expert in the hit Reelz series “Beverly Hills Pawn.” Though this was ostensibly a reality show, Aria was ultimately playing a character—not unlike countless people who cast themselves as characters in their own realities, and like Aria they end up burned out emotionally and even physically. There is a particular pressure on women, she says, to portray a manufactured image based on impossible standards and to overachieve in all aspects of life. As Cait points out, this is why so many burnout sufferers think they are self-aware when they are merely character-aware. 

On today’s FRIED episode, Aria, now a motivational speaker and host of the “Behind the Glitz” podcast, talks about the central feeling of “not enough-ness” from which so many of us–even the rich and famous–operate. She explains how she learned to view self-care as a necessity rather than a luxury, one that has nothing to do with bubble baths or bro science. She and Cait discuss the importance not just of asking for help but of asking in the way that’s most beneficial and productive for all involved, and why in order to gain peace, you must forfeit perfectionism and control. 


  • “How many of us have cast ourselves as characters in our own lives? It’s true. The perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect corporate baddie, the perfect entrepreneur. I think it’s something women suffer from more than men—men suffer in a different way—but for women, our image is so important. And we don’t do it for us.” (5:58 | Caitlin Donovan and Aria Johnson) 

  • “Most of us burn out because we are trying to be something that we are not. We are trying to be the superwoman version of ourselves that we are told we have to be because we are handed on a platter, every single day, 22-year-old women that look a certain way, and they’re badasses in their careers, and all these things.” (12:38 | Aria Johnson)

  • “We think we’re self aware, but what we are is character aware. We are aware of the chosen character that we think will get us the life that we want.” (14:49 | Caitlin Donovan)

  • “It is glorified in this society for you to abuse yourself.” (20:39 | Aria Johnson) 


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