Offbeat | Find calm in the craziness with the ‘Common Chaos’ podcast

Offbeat is a bi-weekly blog offering new and meaningful takes on all things media.

By Jillian Rowan, Staff Writer

Life is chaotic, so it only seems fitting that the co-hosts of “Common Chaos” — 23-year-old Brisbane native Cartia Mallan and 27-year-old fellow Australian Ashton Wood — are the disorderly, dynamic duo your podcast library needs.

Having just wrapped up their first season, “Common Chaos” covers the lives and adventures of the two longtime best friends through intimate stories, raw conversations, life tips and lots of laughs.

Both Mallan and Wood advocate for radical self-acceptance and the pursuit of your goals, no matter how unattainable they may appear.

I’ve been following Mallan for years now. I found Mallan’s content in her boho, festival-going phase of life, posting euphoric, kaleidoscopically edited vlogs of her attending Splendour In the Grass, Beyond the Valley and — of course — Coachella. Her lifestyle, travel, fashion and beauty-style videos have led to more than 500,000 followers on Instagram and YouTube. She reminds me of glitter personified as a fiery, carefree, blue-eyed Leo woman.

The Aussie it-girl is just as spiritual as she is sassy — she’s dedicated much of her content to self-growth, detailing her journey with meditation, clean eating, journaling, exercise and mental health. Many of her Instagram captions are beautiful write-ups, equal parts lengthy and lyrical, dialing in on self-love.

In an interview with W Magazine, she relays the nervousness of vulnerability and how gratifying it can be. 

“I write these massive captions and it’s scary because you are putting a whole part of yourself out there that is vulnerable,” Mallan said. “But I like to think that if it doesn’t scare me, then my job becomes boring. It’s what I learned in acting school: ‘If this doesn’t terrify you, then why are you f–king doing it?’”

On the other hand, Wood is the calmer side of the chaotic duo. She’s accrued just as large of a following as Mallan and focuses on similar fashion, lifestyle and travel-related content. Launching her YouTube career in late 2014, she’s since grown dramatically on such and other platforms, like Instagram and TikTok, and has representation from Que Models.

Weird thought, but she totally smells like fresh laundry.

Though the laughs rarely end on “Common Chaos,” the duo has had their share in discussing heavy topics. Recently, Mallan’s father unexpectedly passed away, allowing for some brave and grief-stricken episodes. The two navigate this experience in episode five, “Losing A Parent,” and episode six, “Dealing with Grief & Complicated Families.” They explore the complicated relationships the pair of them have had with their fathers throughout life, the physical and emotional manifestations of grief and finding acceptance.

The fourth episode, “Facing Fear,” details how to unpack the fears we experience in daily life, challenge them head on and stop them from preventing your dream life — ultimately transforming it from something debilitating to something motivating.

Other episodes dive into some good old relationship advice, such as episode two, “Let’s Talk Breakups,” and episode eight, “Friendship,” where the girls share their top tips after a split.

They aren’t afraid to dig deep, either, as they touch on past relationship traumas from their teen years and childhoods. Also, both give insightful advice on when to end toxic friendships and romances and how to attract healthy ones into your living space.

Navigating heartbreak is never easy, both romantically and platonically. So leave it to the CC duo to make it a little more manageable.

Some episodes feature guest stars, such as Australian professional footballer Bailey Smith and Swedish influencer-turned-fashion designer Matilda Djerf. In Smith’s episode, they break down the inherent assumptions about toxic masculinity in football and shed light on how athletes can calm the chaos. For Djerf’s feature, they discuss her clothing line, Djerf Avenue, and how she was able to start a business while grappling with relationships, mental health and life in Sweden during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A feature of the podcast I love is their “mantra of the week.” The girls share a phrase or saying they’ve been living by lately and ask listeners to repeat after them. Some of my favorites include, “I inhale courage and exhale fear, there is no better time to start than now,” and “I do not chase, I attract. What belongs to me will simply find me.”

Mallan and Wood have flipped the notion of online influencing — making it less about fame and likes and more about sharing their growth, self-love and having fun. It’s nice to feel like I’m not following them, but rather I’m a friend, just checking in and catching up on their lives.

Their brainchild “Common Chaos” is an excellent blend of excitement and sincerity, perfectly dancing the line between the two. As a result, there are episodes perfectly suited for both a good giggle and a soulful cry.

This podcast is a perfect listen-along and an episodic reminder from its hosts: embrace the chaos and create a life you can’t wait to wake up to every day.

Jillian writes about a range of media topics. You can reach her at [email protected].