When Catt Sadler found out her male co-host at E! was making double her salary, she did what anyone would do—addressed the problem with her employer, expecting they’d remedy the situation. When they didn’t, she made what can only be called a bold Hollywood move: She quit and took her story public.
In the era of Time’s Up—an era wherein Catt’s job literally entailed reporting women’s #MeToo stories—she felt it was her duty to speak up. She did so unapologetically, publicly demanding an end to the gender pay gap.
In addition to her work for equal pay, Catt launched The Cattwalk, an online media company focusing on fashion, beauty, and health. In NAKED, a powerful series on the site, Catt interviews inspiring greats like Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Schumer, and dozens more women you should know. The interviews are heartfelt and revealing in a way most journalists can’t evoke; but then again, most journalists aren’t Catt Sadler.
Read on for more on Catt, what she’s been up to since her E! exit, and the sage advice she has for women at work in 2019.
You left E! before the #TimesUp campaign had really gained traction. Tell us about making that decision without the support of a very public movement we didn’t know was coming.
Leaving my job after twelve years over a pay disparity issue was difficult in and of itself. Speaking up about it publicly required a lot of soul searching and courage. But honestly I looked to the brave women before me who in recent months had been speaking up and unapologetically using their voices to share their truths. I had been reporting on the #MeToo movement and again and again was awe inspired by women who had be treated unfairly but came forward anyway. These women opened the door for me to take a stand.
At the Golden Globes this year, several actors were vocal in their support for you and the fight for equal pay. How did it feel to see so many women you’ve worked with stand up with you?
I was shocked and completely humbled. I knew these women actually watched the network so they knew how glaring the disparity was. They were informed so that meant a lot. But mostly, I knew they were using my name as a symbol for something much bigger - for all of the women who aren’t paid in the ball park of their male coworkers doing similar jobs, all of the women getting passed up for promotions when they are deserving, all of the women who don’t have a platform to tell their story and make change.
Studies show nearly 70% of women accept job offers without negotiating pay. What advice would you give women on negotiating their worth?
Know your worth and be prepared to back it up. Come to the table with facts, records, achievements, accomplishments, and numbers. Also, do your research. What are others in your position in your particular industry making? Role play your negation with people you trust beforehand so you’re prepared for anything. Try and get so comfortable with your position and belief of your value that you are able to eliminate the emotion in the negotiation. And lastly, don’t be sorry for making money one of the most important issues to you. Men don’t. It’s often the first thing they discuss. We as women were taught the topic to be taboo. Speak up unapologetically!
What do you wish you’d known when you were first starting your career in entertainment?
That nothing is fair. You aren’t always rewarded for your hard work or talent. Networking is paramount.
When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?
Failing is never just that alone. To fail is to learn. It is a teacher. Ask yourself: Why am I experiencing this setback? What does this hurdle teach me? You must dissect where you are before you pivot blindly. Can women really “have it all?” Is that a myth? It’s not about the fairytale house with the picket fence, having clean-faced kids, and a designer closet while doing your dream job anymore. To me, having it all is living on my own terms. That is true freedom.
What about your job makes you feel the most fulfilled?
I have to connect with people. That’s what I love about social media and digital media today. It’s not one-way traffic anymore. I love that I can get up and exchange with people all over the planet - from sharing inspirational quotes, to favorite lipsticks, to revealing interviews with kickass females - for me, it’s the SHARE.
Through your Cattwalk series, NAKED, you interview women we love in raw, unapologetic profiles. What inspired you to focus the series on vulnerability?
Love this question! I’m so sick to death of the armor everyone wears everyday. We, especially we as women, feel like we have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, and achieve a certain level of success to be fully received and admired. I am also used to interviewing women in a soundbite driven climate where nothing meaningful gets its due. I want women to take it all off! Come as you are! The more naked the better. Let’s be vulnerable and Photoshop-free, peel back the onion, and learn from one another. This brings me true joy and I think my audience appreciates the rarity of these types of discussions.
Which women in your industry do you look up to most? Why?
Oh man. So many. I adore Natalie Portman. She’s so insanely smart and beautiful and aware and strong and delicate. Oprah, the OG. She paved the way. I am currently obsessed with author and motivational speaker Brene Brown. She speaks on leadership and leading with our hearts, not just our minds.
Can women really “have it all?” Is that a myth?
It’s not about the fairytale house with the picket fence, having clean-faced kids, and a designer closet while doing your dream job anymore. To me, having it all is living on my own terms. That is true freedom.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Evolving professionally, helping my son celebrate his 18th birthday - a milestone - and getting to Tokyo. On my bucket list!
Photography by Annie McElwain Photography
Photoshoot skincare provided by Dermalogica