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July 28, 2022 44 mins

Molly Bloom turned the high stakes poker world upside down and shared her story as the author of the memoir Molly’s Game, which was adapted into an Academy Award nominated film. Molly is also the host of the new podcast, Torched.

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
I'm Sam Edis and I'm Amy Nelson. Welcome to What's
Her Story? With Sam and Amy. This is a show
about the world's most remarkable women, their professional and personal journeys. Together,
we'll hear from gold medalists, best selling authors, and leaders
of the world's most iconic brands. Listen every Thursday or
join the conversation anytime on Instagram at What's Her Story Podcast.

(00:30):
Molly Bloom turned the high stakes poker world upside down
and shared her story as the author of the memoir
Molly's Game, which was later adapted into an Academy Award
nominated film. So, Molly, you arrived in Los Angeles really
with just the promise of a couch to sleep on,

(00:51):
and it seems like within a year two you were
running the most powerful poker game in l A. How
did that happen? In It was one of those I
think scenarios where it's kind of random luck and then
also more profoundly like a girl on a mission, you know,

(01:14):
because I had this whole idea of how I was
going to make my life work. And from an early
age I grew up with two incredibly high achieving brothers.
One brother was number one in the world and skiing
at eighteen years old, went on to win a bunch
of world champs, two time olympian, played in the NFL.

(01:36):
I think he was an Abercrombie model at some point.
This was little brother and my middle brother, Harvard educated
cardiothoracic surgeon. So and these two were just their life
and their path was established from from the get go.
And I didn't know who I was going to be,
and so fumbling around and in this family was super painful,

(01:59):
you know, because I have a father who is larger
than life, and when he's proud of you, the sunshines.
And so I had this this life mapped out. I
was gonna go to the Olympics for skiing, and I
was going to check that box. And then I was
going to go to law school, preferably in Ivy League
law school, because you know, then I would have a
seat at this proverbial table. And I put literally everything

(02:23):
I had into it. I was by no means as
talented as my brother and skiing, and then I had
a complete spinal reconstruction. And I was also I had
to study ten times as hard as my brother Jordan
in school. But you know, but I gave it all
I had. And then at the Olympic qualifiers, I skied

(02:44):
over this little stick, my ski pre released, I crashed,
and you know, I was I was ready for a
rebellion because my life didn't work out this conventional sort
of path that I had set and and there's there's
this deep, deep need to be accepted in my family,

(03:04):
to be somebody, to have the significant life. And so
you know, I really the l A trip was just
I wanted to take a year off. I wanted to regroup.
I wanted to just sort of, you know, take a breather.
But when I got there and I saw how big
life is in Los Angeles, and I saw how quickly

(03:26):
your life can change, and I saw this overnight success thing.
You know, my eyes were open to a different way.
And then when I, by pure accident, was asked to
serve drinks at a poker game, you know, it was
kind of off to the races. Did you know how
to play poker at the time? You know what my

(03:47):
best kept secret, worst kept you guys still don't. I'm
still not great at poker. I think it's an amazing game.
What was the reaction of your family when you left
for Los Angeles, and how did you react to the reaction. Yeah,
they were certainly not on board for it. They really
wanted me to go straight to law school. They didn't

(04:08):
understand why I wanted to take a year and just
basically go be a kid and you know, go be
in some warm weather. I mean, I think they understood it.
I just don't think that they have approved of it.
And so you know, they're like, you're on your own financially,
which was fair, but there's there is certainly an air

(04:28):
of disapproval. You had said that some girls have hearts
and stars in their eyes, and you had dollar signs.
I'll never forget being sixteen years old and falling in
love as much as the sixteen year old falls in
love for the first time. In getting my heart just eviscerated,
you know, And I just remember making this choice at
that point that was like, I'm going to put my

(04:51):
energy into things that can make me powerful and not
make me weak. Um. And you know, there's been some
softening of that for sure as an adult. But in
my early twenties, in my late teens, I wanted to
be powerful and I wanted to make money, and I
wanted to put myself in a position where I was

(05:15):
dependent on no one or nothing, and that was the plan.
Can you walk us through the story of how you
ended up working for the guy and what do you
call him? In the book Reared In? But do you
publicly say his name in real life? Because it is
pretty google able who he is. It is google able,

(05:35):
and I don't say his name in real life. And
it's also like not a name that people would recognize.
So I feel like there's no you know, there's really
no point. Yeah. So I got to Los Angeles. I
had to get a job right away. I got a
job initially at this restaurant in the heart of Beverly Hills,
and I was waiting tables and there was this older

(05:56):
gentleman that came in and completely hit on me. And
I kind of told my manager and they're like, he's
a regular hair You're just going to have to deal
with it, you know. And I was young, and he
was like very old and coming on to be very
hard and making me very uncomfortable. And I was like,
well if this and I just walked out, you know,

(06:17):
and I'm like, so piste off and I'm stomping down
the street and this guy almost runs over me and
his mercedes. He's completely obnoxious, and he has this fine
dining restaurant in Beverly Hills and he's like, do you
know anything about fine dining? And I was like sure,
and I knew nothing. So, like, I got fired pretty
quickly as a waitress. Um, you know, as soon as

(06:38):
he saw that, Like I couldn't even open a bottle
of wine, but he hired me as his personal assistant.
And it was his poker game at the time, and
he had all these very famous, very wealthy friends, and
you know, I found myself one night at the Viper
Room serving drinks to people that I had only seen

(07:02):
on television, seen on the news, heard about in magazines.
You know. It was it was quite an introduction to
that world. So once the game launched, you were really
at first just kind of the server and the concierge of, oh,
you need a restaurant reservation, I got this for you.
You want caviare, I'll bring this to you. And then

(07:24):
you had this incredible orchestration where it went from being
Molly as the assistant to Molly's game. I knew pretty
quickly early on that I wanted to have my own games. Um,
there was so much opportunity because it was it was
this opportunity to get in front of really successful people,

(07:48):
to have access to this very sort of rarefied air
and all this interesting information, and to have access to
this network of people who really um move the needle
on the world stage. And I was just so fascinated.
And it was also really lucrative because when people are

(08:11):
using an economic system in which chips denote dollars, they're
super free with it, you know. So I mean I
remember I would waitress at the games and I would
get paid in chips, and by the end of the night,
I would make like three to five thousand dollars and
I was serving drinks. So just imagine if I was
it was actually my game, et cetera. So I knew

(08:32):
early on that I wanted to start my own game,
but I was super loyal to my boss. And then
as I became more committed and more fascinated with this role,
I allocated more of my time and resources to the game.
And he said, this doesn't work. You're gonna I'm taking
the game away from you. You're coming back to the office.
This was eight months later after I had, you know,

(08:56):
really started to establish myself, and he wouldn't reason with me,
and so I went out on my own and I
organized this game for the following week and I invited
everyone except for him, and that was how it started.
And his reaction was to say, I taught you well,
you earned this. I support you. It was crazy because

(09:18):
he was a terrifying individual. I mean, I was very
afraid of him. That is a very interesting lesson that
that I've learned um and that I've taken too far
at times in my life. But it started with my
sports career because I was a mobile skier and I
was a really scared little girl. Like I was real

(09:41):
scared of things. I wasn't super brave or fearless or anything.
And what I was taught was you can be afraid
of something and you can do it anyway. And there's
something very exhilarating about that, to walk through your own fear,
to walk to the other side of that. And so
that was something that I took directly from my sports
career and I applied it to business and I applied

(10:02):
it to life and I'll never forget he called me
at five am. Then the day after the game and
he was like, get over here, and I went, and
I thought he was gonna I didn't know what he
was gonna do, run me out of town. I really
didn't know. Um. I thought he was capable of dark things,

(10:22):
and instead he just kind of got this look on
his face and he's like, I'm proud of you. Could
you know? Because from the time I started working for him,
he always told me you're too soft or too nice,
You're too you're too much of a pushover. And so
it was almost like I graduated and I didn't know
exactly how to feel about that. So that period after

(10:42):
you had your own game, it was kind of like
the glory days. I mean, you were the girl in Hollywood,
you were known on both coasts, you had an entourage,
you had tons of helpers. Everyone wanted to get into
Molly's game. And then it kind of all came crashing down.
How So, the first sort of crash was um when

(11:06):
I lost the game in l A. And that essentially
happened because I wouldn't acquiesce to one of the very
famous celebrities in the game, who really wanted to be
kind of like a silent partner in the orchestration of
the game because he was I think looking back, I

(11:27):
think he was addicted to the game, and he knew
how to leverage his celebrity power, and he was winning
a bunch of money, and it was it was checking
some box deep within him that was giving him an
almost like pathological obsession. And in the beginning days when
I was a cocktail waitress for the game, and even
early on when I was when I was the owner

(11:49):
of the game, when I started my own games, I
really I pandered to him a bit, you know, I
catered to him a bit, and then I stopped, and
he didn't like that and sort of had this strange
demand for complicity and I didn't. I didn't do it,
and and so I lost the game. He took the
game in a power move. And that was a terrifying

(12:13):
moment for me because I had finally felt like I
had something I was good at. I had something that
was giving me the external validation that I still wanted.
At that time. This was I was making so much money,
which was also like a drug, you know, and I

(12:33):
was so scared to lose that game. So I decided
I was going to go to New York City, and
I was going to build an even bigger game than
I was going to build an empire. You know, I
wasn't just going to have this one game like and
New York City was pretty scary and I didn't really
know that many people. But it was another great lesson

(12:55):
in you can look at something and you can see
all the reasons why they're stacked against you, why you
probably won't succeed, or you can just look at it
and go, I refuse to fail, you know. And it
was two thousand and eight, so the economy was and
it was disastrous, and there are all these game male

(13:17):
game runners that had run these games for twenty years
who were kind of really did not want me to
come to town. But I just you know, I kind
of put my mind to it and I got creative
and I and I did it. And you know, I
talked about running one of the biggest poker games in
the world in New York City, you know, people losing

(13:38):
a hundred million dollars in a night, like just insane,
not healthy, but you know, and and overcoming nonetheless. And
then something started to change in me in New York.
And I think it had been coming for a while.
But New York was really where it really took its

(13:58):
full form, and and that is you know, I started
to get that more disease, and it was never enough,
and I wanted more power, and I wanted more money.
And I also the games would go for sometimes two
days at a time, and I was up for days.
So I started taking pills. I started taking adderall, you know,

(14:21):
in excess, and then I started taking zan X to
to take the edge off. And by this time I
was the bank for these games, so I was on
the hook of people didn't pay, and you know, then
organized crime got involved, and I was just in way,
way over my head. But again because I was so

(14:45):
beholden to this external world, this world of money and
validation and status and power, you know, I placed it
over my own life. Did you feel validated within your
family while all this was your life? No, my family,
you know, my my mom her soapbox, her platform. What

(15:05):
she wanted most from us was to be kind and
to do the right thing, and my dad wanted us
to be legitimate and excellent. So this thing that I
was doing didn't necessarily check any of those boxes. And
my family, they're real people, you know, they're not like
these sort of affected like they're not affected by like

(15:26):
the celebrity or the you know, they're real people with
real values, so this was not appealing to them. Now,
my brothers enjoyed it when they would come to visit me,
because it was you know, it was a life of
heathenism and excess, and but I definitely didn't feel accepted
by my family. And now a quick break. We can't

(15:50):
brush past the part where you mentioned that you got
involved with organized crime. What did that mean? You know,
I've been running these games for a while. I was
making a lot of money. Um, I became the game
to play in New York City, and I expanded. You know,
I had tons of games going all the time. So
I guess, knowing what I know now, it was inevitable

(16:12):
that organized crime was going to hear about this and
and want some involvement. So these two guys got to me.
They had to sit down. They made this proposal that
sounded friendly at the time, but I knew what was
behind it. You know. They basically said, like, we want

(16:34):
to be partners, and we want to piecy your game
and we'll help you collect and you know, basically like
going into business with the Russian I mean, with the
Italian mob, and so I tried to explain to them
why exactly why that wouldn't work for me, and etcetera.
And then I just started evading their calls and ignoring
their calls, and they didn't go away, you know, And

(16:56):
they sent someone to my apartment and I mistakenly thought
it was my doorman bringing up some packages. And I
opened the door and there was this face, this guy
I'd never seen in my life, and he came in
and he put a gun in my mouth and he
beat me up, like pretty badly, and you know, I

(17:19):
basically I was like, I have money, I have money,
you know. I opened my safe and he took everything
that was in their family jewelry, whatever, money, even some photographs.
And then he said, the deal that we made you
wasn't optional, you know, and if you tell anyone about this,

(17:40):
we know where your family lives in Colorado. And then
he left, and UM, I guess that was one of
those moments where I knew that what I was doing
was it was so far from center. Because I couldn't
call law enforcement. I didn't tell my parents, I didn't

(18:01):
tell anything. I was terrified. I was terrified, and I could,
you know, I just couldn't believe that now my family
was in danger. And and so I just waited for
the phone call. And I honestly I had no idea
what I was going to say, because this last meeting had,
you know, they had sent a pretty clear message that no,

(18:22):
it wasn't an answer. And so I just waited for
their call. And I was in my apartment for you know, weeks,
just getting delivery food and you know, the newspaper and
that's that's it, and and just trying to trying to
figure my life out. And and then then on the
on the cover of the New York Times about three
weeks later, it said ad arrested in the biggest modulated

(18:46):
takedown in New York City history. And so I guess
that was the answer why I hadn't heard from them
and in those weeks and and so um, you know,
I never heard from them again. But there were there
were other things is going on as well, wait here
are we at now when this happens? That was so

(19:06):
there are other things happening. And so in twenty eleven
you became embroiled in legal drama. So there were some
guys playing in the game. They were Russian American businessmen,
super sophisticated. Said they were Ivy League like, totally played
pulled that off. Um might have even been I'm not sure,

(19:27):
But it turns out that they were running the biggest
insurance forrod scheme in New York City history, and they
had alleged tied to the Russian mob. So the FEDS
are listening to their phones and then they start to
hear about these games, these hundred million dollar poker games
run by this girl. Up until that point, around that point,
I had been doing it legally. And then two things changed.

(19:48):
One I changed that I started to get very sloppy.
You know, substance abuse had become a problem. Stress had
become a problem. I was getting sloppy. I like I said,
I was the bank and I was accruing a pretty
big debt sheet. So on some of the games where
I had more exposure, I started taking a rake, which
is what every other game runner in New York City did,

(20:09):
but up until this point I hadn't done that. And
then there was a new precedent set under this law
that I got indicted for in the Eastern District. Now,
for the first time, poker running a poker game is
included in this federal statute. Up until that point, it
hadn't been, so even though I was taking a rake,
it was still my My attorney said, like, this is

(20:32):
a miste meanter, you know, And that's not to excuse it,
but that's just to give you some context. And where
my thought process was, you didn't think you were committing
a federal felony. I did not. Um, And then there's
this new precedent set in the Eastern District, and that
sort of set off a series of events. The Feds
put in a confidential informant into my poker game, and

(20:54):
then they were able to have a you know, a
c I witnessed me taking and then UM, I got
a text message from one of my poker dealers saying
that the Feds are here looking for you. And in
that moment, I knew it was finally finally game over.
And all I can tell you is that I just

(21:15):
wanted I just I wanted my mom, you know, I
wanted to go home to Colorado. I wanted my mom.
So I tried to like go straight to the airport.
I tried to book a ticket to Denver out of
JFK and my credit card got declined, and then my
next card got declined, and I logged into my bank
accounts and it showed an account balance of negative nine million,

(21:37):
and the Feds had taken everything. And I got home.
I made it home to my mom's and basically that
after my attorney spoke to them. They said, you know,
in this country, your your property, unlike your personhood, doesn't
have the presumption of innocence. So if they believe you're
making your money illegally, they can seize it without without

(21:58):
proving their case. And and then they said to my attorney,
she's not a target of our investigation right now, but
you know, if she wants her money back, she can
come in and go on record and talk about how
she was making that money and the world that she
was navigating. And you know, I didn't have that. I
didn't have that freedom anymore because I had been taking
a break. I had been breaking a low. So I

(22:21):
had no choice but to just go away, you know.
And I moved back in with my mom and my
grandmother at like nine thousand feet in the mountains, and
it was really depressing and really quiet and beautiful, you know.
So beautiful up there, but lonely scary. Where do I
go from here? But while you were in the mountains,

(22:42):
you wrote your story. I did, so you know, I'm
in the mountains. I'm I'm making phone calls. I'm trying
to get a job. I'm trying to reach out to
my network, and nobody wants to take my call. And
in some ways I understand that, and in some ways
it's not what I would have done, you know. And
so I I tried to get as First of all,
I got clean. I went to rehab, and I got sober,

(23:06):
and then I got I tried to get real clear,
like I don't want this to be the end of
my life, you know, I don't want to just like
give up. And so I said, the story is unique.
Most of the time we hear about this story with
a with a mail as the lead, as the main character.

(23:27):
And I'm really interested in stories that allow women to
be dimensional and not just the stereotypical thing that we
see over and over and over, and so like, it
hit on a lot of you know, on a lot
of cylinders for me. So and I didn't have any
other ideas. So I wrote a book. It's the only

(23:51):
one I could come up with. I wrote a book.
I got ready to publish that book, and two years
later I got a rested by seventeen FBI agents with
machine guns and high being flashlights in the middle of
the night. They put this piece of paper in front
of me, put me in handcuffs. They put this piece
of paper in front of me that said the United

(24:11):
States of America versus Molly Bloom. And you know what
I didn't know, because who really knows this unless you're
sort of a federal prosecutor or an FBI agent, is
that they spent those two years building a case against
me and UM even though my attorneys had said to them,
if you want her or here, you know, they wanted

(24:33):
to UM do this GPS takedown situation. So it was
it was shocking to me because I hadn't run a
poker game in two years. I had totally changed my
life and everything, and then I found myself in just
a completely surreal nightmare, federally indicted. I don't have any money.

(24:59):
I'm thrown into a Russian mob criminal indictment. I don't
know of the other people in the case, have never
heard their name. There's people from the gambling were all
that I recognized, but these people that were like serious
Russian organized crime. Like I had a day and a
half to get to New York City to find an

(25:20):
attorney that's going to represent me in this fight of
my life and I don't have a dime and I
need someone great, you know, And I started, you know,
I had Remember I had eight meetings the day before
the arraignment, and seven out of the eight attorneys were like, well,
we need a retainer right now, and we can't even
consider this I met with. My last meeting the days

(25:43):
was with this guy, Jim Walden. He was at Gibson
Done and he took one look at my mom's face,
in my face, and he's like, Okay, I was a
former federal prosecutor. I would have never brought this indictment
against you. This is crazy, and I'm gonna help you
because you need help. And to this day he's one

(26:04):
of my closest friends and one of the people that
I will just be forever indebted to. And then we
went to that arraignment and it was like a movie scene.
There was like a bunch of like Russian mobsters on
one side, and Russian mobster girlfriends and wise on the
other side, and then like my cute little mom sitting

(26:24):
over there, and I'm you know, I remember standing up
in that aragnem because you have to stand up and
enter your plea, and like the whole courtroom turned around
and looked at me, and it was just like, it's
so surreal. When did you emerge from all of the
legal trouble. The prosecutors wanted me to become a confidential
informant um and they wanted information on particularly information on

(26:48):
the billionaires from Wall Street, the celebrities and the politicians,
and you know, they thought I could wear a wire
and help them sort of chase the rabbits down a hole.
And and if I was willing to do that, they
were offering a deferred prosecution and um my money back,
and I just, you know, I went home and I

(27:11):
thought about it, and I really tried to wrap my
head around what that would look like. And the place
I got to with that was, you know, I got
to own that that I did all this, that these
were the choices that I made, and I'm in trouble
for this, and whatever that is, I'm going to stand
for the consequences, and I'm not going to Um, I'm

(27:33):
not going to throw these people under the bus. I
just that that doesn't feel right to me. So so
I had that interaction with the prosecutors and then I
had to wait a year to be sentenced, and everyone,
my attorneys, my parents, everyone thought I was going to
go to prison. Did you think you're going to go
to prison? I did, yeah, And I was thirty five,

(27:53):
and I didn't know how long I was going to
go to prison. So you know, it's kind of like
trying to figure out how to make peace with it
all and that it was not so easy. But um,
luckily I didn't have to go to prison. I had
got a judge who was young Obama appointed and it

(28:18):
was just like, you know, I'm very disappointed in real
life choices. I was like, yeah, I know, I am too,
and and you know, he said, I don't think prison
is the right move here, and that a big part
of that was Jim Walden. You know how Jim Walden

(28:40):
conducted himself and and us as a team with elegance
and integrity and class, and um, you know, I was
I had a job, and I had contrition, and I
had gotten gone to rehab and I was doing volunteer work,
and and he had a great reputation with the government,

(29:02):
and he is someone that was known and it continues
to be known as a person of high quality character.
And a lot of the other people in the case
hired these like hot shot defense attorneys that constantly get
guilty people off and and the judge sentenced them to
some jail time, and so like, I really think a

(29:25):
huge part of why I didn't have to go to
jail is because of some of my character letters and
Jim Walden and my you know, my willingness to just
get humble, accept responsibility and do what I could to
tell the story of someone who is ready to do
something differently. You went to the child expecting to be

(29:46):
sentenced to prison and you're told there's no jail time.
Was it like a new lease on life for you?
It was? I mean, I just remember like barely being
able to walk out of that court room because the
flush of like relief and like stress chemicals and like

(30:08):
it's just crazy. And I remember saying like, Okay, no
matter what, I have a second chance here and I
gotta make this count. And I just remember being at
dinner with my family and I'm always like, well, the
good news is is I didn't have to go to jail,
and the bad news is I had to go to
dinner with my family. And Stewardanet just graduated at Harvard

(30:32):
for like the ninth time, and like Jeremy, I just
got inducked into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. And
I just remember standing there and going, Okay, great, I'm
the family felon and I'm I'm laughing about it. And
I could find humor about it at the time, but
it was bleak. I was thirty five years old, millions

(30:53):
of dollars in debt, convicted felon, somewhat of a social pariah.
The tabloids are telling my story in this very reductive
way about this girl, you know, young girl in the
tight skirt that served drinks at a poker game, and like, listen,
I'm not I'm not here to applaud what I did.
But it was hard, it was, and it was it
was a real business, and it was you know, that

(31:16):
that needed to be said and if I was going
to have a chance at a future. So I was like, Okay,
the book's got to do well, you know, And I
wrote the book and it didn't do well. I had
a big press tour and I was on all the
shows and I was like, get ready for life to change.
It's gonna get good again. And and it didn't didn't

(31:40):
move the needle, and so I said, all right, well,
I'm gonna have to go find the most prolific screenwriter
in Hollyowand to write a movie because again, like the story,
the story as the asset was the only idea I had.

(32:00):
I'm a convicted fella. Now I what am I going
to do? Go ask one of those head fund guys
to give me a job? Like, it's not going to happen.
I'm not going to get a job in any conventional
realm that's gonna allow me to even put a dent
in this money that I owe to the government, to
the I R S, to the the attorney, like and

(32:21):
so um. I started taking meetings in Hollywood, and I
had a lot of meetings, and I started working with
people who were great, and you know, I had prolific careers,
and it just seemed like every single one of them
wanted to tell this tale, this low hanging fruit of
like girl in tight skirt, and that was not the

(32:45):
story that I was willing to tell. And so I
kept like passing, and I remember my brother calling me
and it's like, why are you passing on all these people?
Like you live with mom and grandma, Like you've pass
on this, Like what's wrong with you? You like you
don't have any options, you know, And I just said,

(33:07):
you know what, there's a better story, and there's one
that's that will serve me and women better. And so
I I got really kind of like mercenary with it,
and I was like, all right, I'm gonna make the
short list of really smart directors and writers, the people
that matter in this town who aren't going to want

(33:30):
to write this like very fluffy tale of the female
Wolf of Wall Street or whatever it was, you know.
And at the top of that list for me was
Aaron Sorkin. You know, he's my he was my favorite,
He is my favorite writer. And I just thought, I
think he writes with a lot of humanity and intelligence,
and I thought he'd be great with the material. So
I started trying to get a meeting with him, and

(33:52):
everyone laughed. Most people laughed and they were like, I
don't think Sorkin is going to write the movie on
the poker princess. He's never even written a movie a woman,
and it's not going to be about the poker princess.
And they would say all these things, and you know,
it's again like survival mode is amazing when you've lost
everything and you have humbled yourself and sort of like

(34:17):
you're like, I don't really care what these people are saying,
you know, like you're fearless. You learn how you just
don't take it personally and you're like, okay, so can
you get me the meeting or not. I just remember
having that kind of attitude over and over, and finally
I got that. I got a meeting with Aaron. Someone
asked him for a personal favor, and he absolutely did
not want to take the meeting. He looked at the

(34:40):
tabloid stuff and was like this isn't interesting to me
at all. But we had the meeting, and I told
him my story from my words, you know, And he
didn't tell me then, but he told me later that
he knew he wanted to write the movie before he
was out of the parking lot, and so you know,
he wrote the movie and made it as directorial debut,

(35:01):
and who was nominated for every award that there is
and it changed my life and it gave me opportunities
that really just were not there before. And I'm super grateful.
And now a quick break, How did you pay back
all the money? I was? I was a really good

(35:22):
negotiator with my movie deal. They wanted they wanted to
low ball me and give me all this back end,
and I was like, no, no, there will be no
dependence on the back end, you know, like I want
this upfront and that's what it's going to have to
look like. And people walked away from the table, and
so like I was very good about negotiating that. And

(35:44):
then also, um, you know the things that I've done
since speaking and the book sold well after that. So
that was five years ago. And in the last five
years what has nourished that part of you that was,
you know, super competitive and addicted to a certain lifestyle,

(36:06):
getting outside and nature, skiing, climbing, stuff like that. Getting
on stage in front of ten tho people having no
idea what you're doing that all that gives you a
little bit of that. Man, I need to figure this out.
Throw me in the deep end baptism by fire. But

(36:28):
I'll tell you the biggest thing was starting to to
reprogram my mind and my nervous system, and to do
that from you know, by means of meditation and mindfulness
and working the twelve steps and starting to really get

(36:49):
in there and look at causes some conditions and figure
out a way to be okay with less volatility, with
less adrenaline, with with less dopamine, to find peace and
serenity in the smaller moments, and to not need that
adrenaline so much. I'll always be drawn to that life,

(37:11):
and I can unleash it when when I when it's necessary.
But I have really prioritized making myself okay in the
day to day and that contentment. I'll take contentment over
adrenaline any day of the week. And you married a neuroscientist.

(37:32):
I did. He's very helpful when trying to figure out
matters of the mind, write brain stuff. I have, like
my my husband's a neuroscientist and my dad's a psychologist,
so I have like some good consultants when trying to
figure out my own crazy brain. It's been very helpful.
How did you meet? I met Devan and a A
And I tell all my girlfriends that are still single

(37:54):
and like still in this consane dating situation. I'm like,
could you get a drink problem? Because guys in a
A have been you know, sort of like brought to
the table and and like had to do work on
themselves and work on character. And it's like a really
great place to meet a guy. And then you had
a baby five months ago. I did, Fiona. I had

(38:18):
frozen eggs when I was younger, an anticipation for maybe
going to prison and not you know, like that whole thing.
So I thought I had this insurance policy and I
met my husband, got married when I was forty, right
before my thirty first birthday. We decided to fertilize them
the eggs, and none of them worked, not a single one.

(38:41):
And I went to the doctor and they looked at
my fertility markers and they're like, I would make other
plants adoption, don't egg whenever. And I said, okay, but
is there a chance, and they're like, well, yeah, there's
a chance, and I think they put it at like four.
And then I just got really rigorous in the research.

(39:03):
I wanted to know all the things I could do
to affect a better outcome. I wanted to know the
place I could go IVF clinic I could go that
was doing sort of like that had the best outcomes,
and you know I did nine rounds of IVF. Wow. Yeah.
So I'm a first time mom at I just turned

(39:23):
forty four, and she's perfect. She's my little dream girl. Aim.
We're going to have to go to the lightning round. Now.
We're just gonna ask you a few quick questions and
you can give us your quick answers. Molly, who leaves
you star struck? It would probably be someone like Gloria
steinem Hoping McGuire. How do you feel about him today?
I have found that it does not behoove me to

(39:49):
hold onto resentments at all. And I also have gone
through so much and made so many mistakes in my
own life and ben so many different people that I
just have of a deep understanding of how tough it
is to be a human. So I Harbord zero little
favorite baby product. I love that subscription kit. Love every

(40:13):
they like, do all the research and and then send
you at each stage of your baby's life different developmental toys.
I just think it's awesome, and she's she loves it.
What book are you reading right now? I am reading
When Things Fall Apart? By Pemishadrone for the millionth time.
She's a great teacher. On fear and having a kid.

(40:37):
All the things come up again, you know, and I'm
reading the Rules of Civility. Luke Burns has been listening
to our interview and he comes in at the very
end with a male perspective. I want you to take
us back to that time when you was like, fuck it,
I'm gonna do my own and the guy that she

(40:59):
was a broke away from, when he called you into
his office and you guys had a conversation. I don't
want to know if he gave you any ominous warnings
and if he did, when you started to see them happening,
what was that thought process? Like, there were so many
signs right in my face, signs like throughout the process. Um,

(41:24):
he came back into my life and said I'm a
psychopath like you are, Like you're off the rails, you know.
Um My dad written me, writing me handwritten letters every year.
It's not enough for me to say this to you more.
I need to put it down on paper. You are
headed for destruction. And those were the obvious ones. The

(41:47):
less obvious ones are the ones that we noticed now
like when you start to live a spiritual life, you
see it all the time. But back then it was like,
that's not a sign, that's an obstacle to get around out.
You know, I'm gonna keep pushing that rock up the
hill and and like being self will and and nothing

(42:08):
that no one's going to stop me. But living like
that is hard and it's exhausting, and even the like,
you know, there were so many signs along the way,
but again I hadn't gotten down to causes and conditions.
I hadn't looked at that the darkness and the pain
inside of me that was driving me and putting my

(42:31):
freedom and my life you know, back burner for this
thing that I thought was going to fill me up.
And so there wasn't you know, it's it's kind of
like addiction. There were no consequences too too great. It
was like I'm taking this all the way. And so
even though there were so many signs and there were

(42:53):
so many loving people that came into my life and
said this is dark and this is dame jurist, and
this is bad and you're not you anymore, it took
what it took, you know, the Feds, the mob, whatever,
what feels you up now, my kid helping other women,

(43:14):
sharing a message that you can start over, you can
forgive yourself, You're second, third, fourth, fifth, chapter can be
more profound, more beautiful, you know things like that. Well,
he's amazing and I want to invite her to every

(43:35):
dinner party. I love her. She's really fabulous, and I
just find her story of how she infiltrated this celebrity
high stakes poker world so compelling. And there's obviously a
hustle and sort of a fierceness about her that she
would apply to whatever she does. I agree, And I

(43:56):
think one of the really interesting takeaways, which might not
be an obvious one, is that Molly is not a
poker expert even today, and she never became one. Yet
she learned how to run the operations of this world,
a very competitive environment, a very hard environment. But it
goes to say that you don't have to be an
expert in the thing that you want to run. I
love that. It's so true. It's a great takeaway. And

(44:17):
also if you think about it, like, wouldn't you hire
Molly to run any salesforce? Like she probably could sell anything.
Thanks for listening to what's her Story with Sam and Amy.
We would appreciate it if you leave her review wherever
you get your podcasts, and of course, connect with us
on social media at What's Her Story podcast. What's Her

(44:38):
Story with Sam and Amy is powered by my company,
The Riveter at The Riveter dot c O and Sam's company,
park Place Payments at park place payments dot com. Thanks
to our producer Stacy Para and our male perspective, Blue
Burns
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