“We’ve heard a lot of stories from dudes. It’s our turn now,” says Sara Polon about her new storytelling series, Bite Your Tongue. “The hashtag is ‘our stories are better than yours,’ so it’s kind of this notion that women are supposed to be quiet and dainty and…polite: ‘bite your tongue,’ don’t talk like that.”
The founder of the thriving D.C.-based soup company Soupergirl, Polon wants to help other prominent women in Washington buck gender norms and conditioning by sharing personal experiences in a boldly honest and unflinchingly public way. To kick things off, she recruited a group of friends and colleagues from the local food and beverage industry — high-profile leaders including Violeta Edelman of Dolcezza Gelato & Coffee, Sarah Gordon of Gordy’s Pickle Jar, and Julie Verratti of Denizens Brewing Company. Polon also tapped Story District to co-produce the show in the local organization’s popular storytelling format.
“You’ll hear that throughout the night — just the absolutely absurd things that have happened to all of us, in positive ways, in negative ways, just the obstacles that everyone has encountered and overcome,” Polon says. “You could not have possibly anticipated or planned for these types of things.”
Polon says the stories from the all female-identifying group will not be solely gender-specific. “Don’t expect to hear stories of, ‘Oh what a struggle it is to be a woman in this field.’ You’re going to hear stories of just challenges of being a business owner and an operator — because these women, they’re not focused on the struggle, they’re focused on the success. And they’re just focused on the drive, and owning and really succeeding at whatever it is they’re trying to do. And so it’s going to be a really inspiring, and also very funny, evening.”
Polon will do double duty, serving as one of the show’s eight speakers as well as introducing the others in the role of show host. And with Bite Your Tongue, Polon is reconnecting with her professional past and a true lifelong dream. “As a little girl, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I did not say a soup maker,” she says. “I actually said comedian when I was five years old.” In fact, Polon was pursuing a career in stand-up in 2008 when she decided instead to focus on launching Soupergirl.
The ultimate aim of Bite Your Tongue is to celebrate and support the increasing number of women who make D.C. run. Future shows, all still in the planning stages, are expected to showcase those at the helm in other fields, ranging from politics and law to health care. “We have some real trailblazers here and I want to share their stories,” says Polon. “We’re just getting started.”
Bite Your Tongue: The Unhospitable Edition is Saturday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m., at Hook Hall, 3400 Georgia Ave. NW. Tickets are $20, with proceeds going toward N Street Village. Call 202-629-4339 or visit www.bytongue.com.