FROM DRUG ADDICTED CRIMINAL TO COMPLETE INSPIRATION - MEET MOLLY BLOOM TODAY AND HEAR HOW THE GAME’S CHANGED

MOLLY BLOOM: POKER PRINCESS

Like many of you I saw the movie Molly’s Game - starring Jessica Chastain, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin - and was completely blown away. (You know it’s a good movie when you immediately google the story after and become obsessed with connecting all of the real-life dots.) If you didn’t know, the movie is based on the book about the life of Molly Bloom. A girl who grew up in Colorado, as a young woman would join the Olympic Ski team, but in her early twenties would move to Hollywood and end up running the most exclusive, high-stakes underground poker game in the world. To say the story is fascinating would be an understatement. Read it here.

Molly’s game would eventually fold on that fateful day when more than a dozen FBI agents showed up at her home armed with machine guns and her 30-million dollars in cash and assets were frozen. She was served with papers: The United States of America versus Molly Bloom. 

Yes, Molly is a felon but Molly is also a changed woman. She has owned her mistakes and has been making up for the damage done ever since.  What an extreme pleasure to sit down and speak with Molly who, if you ask me, has a remarkable mind, a resilient spirit, and an extraordinary future ahead.  I learned a lot from her. I hope you do, too. 

 Instagram @immollybloom

Instagram @immollybloom

Catt:
Hi, Molly.

Molly:
Hello, Catt.

C:
We just had our keynote conversation here at the Motion Picture Television Fund's Deal With It women's conference. How do you feel about it?

M:
Well, I feel personally awesome about it. I think you asked me amazing questions and everybody ... the feedback I'm getting is that we have great chemistry.

C:
Ooh! Well, I take that as a compliment because you are such a force.

M:
Thank you.

C:
I feel like that’s very much ingrained in you. You're wired that way in many respects, but you could've been defeated and given up. Your story right now is about this reinvention and this second lease on life. I was just talking with somebody in the hallway who was like, "Isn't it cool to think we can wake up and be anybody we wanna be on any given day?" And that really is true, but it's right here, it's between the ears. It is in the brain and what we decide to do.

M:
It is. And I always feel like the biggest obstacle in my way is always me. And it's how you overcome that. In my life there's been other obstacles, too, right? There was my back surgery. And I could see how to overcome that -  just training harder. But the hardest thing is when you're face to face with yourself and you're like, "How do I overcome myself when it's me that's gotten myself here?" And that's where the tools of meditation, Twelve Steps, reading, some great teachers come in.  That's where you really have to educate yourself.

C:
Do you see yourself as a survivor?

M:
A survivor of myself, yeah.

C:
You're learning how to live with you?

M:
Well, I think a lot of people that identify as survivors, they've had to come up against this massive injustice, this massive unfair force that's trying to oppress them and hold them down. I can't claim that. I was born into a great family. I was born with a lot of opportunity from the get-go. And what I chose to do is go down this kind of dark path that started out, I think, as being about guts and heart and being an entrepreneur and doing it differently. But ultimately what happened was it got pretty dark and they were all my choices. So I don't know if I can identify as a survivor because of how it's generally defined.

C:
I see what you mean. That's an interesting way to look at it.  Your new life. You're back in Colorado. You told me that most days you've got the ball cap on, you're living in your sweats. You're experiencing a 180-degree different existence then you had at the height of the money, the notoriety and all of that. Why is Colorado the right place for you do you think?

M:
Well, I was born in Colorado. And there is a lot about Colorado that really speaks to me. I feel best when I can spend some substantial time in nature - whether that's the mountains or the forest or the lake. I love being outside. I love sailing. I love skiing. I love hiking. There's something that just feels so poetic and so right about being in the mountains for me. And I don't know if that's because I was born there and that's sort of ...

C:
Like going home.

M:
Yeah, like going home. My family's there. So, a big move in going back there was to be closer to my family, to show up for them in ways that I hadn't shown up for them for the past 15 years. And yeah, I think it's just about the lifestyle and about my family.

C:
How has that healing been for you, the family side of things? I think I read somewhere that your mom remortgaged the home and all this to help you out of where you were. So what's the dynamic like now between your brothers and you and your mom and you and your dad?

M:
Well, it was always tricky for me. I grew up in a family where my brothers are these crazy superstars. Jordan is a cardiothoracic surgeon who went to Harvard. Jeremy's a two-time Olympian, played in the NFL but has a very successful startup. Just these super-humans. And I felt very invisible and less than. And then on top of that, my dad was really hard on me, harder on me than my brothers. And I thought when I was little it was because he didn't like me as much. But he sat me down when we sort of had our "come to Jesus" (that was depicted in the movie) and he said, "Look, I've been a psychologist for 40 years. I know that the world is hard and I know that it's harder for women. And I wanted to make you formidable." And so as an adult, you get to learn these things about your parents who were your age when they were raising you. And it's been a really incredible healing journey to start to learn the truth.

 Lara Anderson

Lara Anderson

C:
Being resentful almost?

M:
Yeah, exactly. No, that's exactly what it is. So I had to stop, I had to deal with resentments. And then I also had to look at how I was creating problems in my family. So now it's just about owning my side of it and trying to repair the harm that I've done. And for my mom, she's just been a rock, she never wavered. Even in my darkest, lowest period, she was always like, "You're my baby and you're gonna be okay. You're gonna get through this. And you're beautiful and strong and smart." She just never wavered. And I owe her so much. I owe her some money, but I also owe her so much. Some people have to completely go through these dark nights of the soul completely alone and I never had to because my mom was there.

C:
That's powerful.

M:
Yeah, she's a very incredible woman. And it was her when we were little that was just always in our ear. My dad was all about the hard-driving success like you've gotta make something of yourself and constructive suffering and play hurt and all these messages. And my mom was always like, "You need to be a person that you're proud of. You need to be a woman of dignity and honor." You know what I mean? "You need to do the right thing in the world." And I'm just so grateful that she was as loud on that end of the spectrum as my dad was. I'm better for both of them.

C:
Yeah. Two different but very powerful and hands-on parents. Being a parent, I know you hope you're doing the right thing and you hope you're sending the right messages and you have your intention behind it, but you never know how it's gonna land or if it's gonna fuck up your kids. And you just hope you're doing it right. So whatever they did, however, that came together, they made a really special person.

M:
Thank you. But remember, three or four years ago, I was a drug addict and a convicted felon. So, they might not have thought that that was the right thing to do. Sometimes it takes some people longer than others to come into your true self.

C:
Yeah. For sure. You are a felon. How did you avoid jail?

M:
The short answer is that I got super lucky with the judge that was assigned to my case. Because the prosecutors wanted me to go to jail. And the judge literally said, "I don't see how justice is served by putting Molly Bloom in jail."

C:
The universe had your back on that day.

M:
For sure.

C:
And about the money.  Are you in a situation where you wake up every day and you're still so in the hole that it weighs on you? Is it that bad or are you coming up even? Or where are you?

M:
I'll be really candid about it. I'm still a million five in debt.  And I have figured out a way to live where that takes up very little real estate in my head. I deal with the IRS all the time. And it's this new way of living. No resentments, I owe this money, whether I agree with why I owe it or not. Because basically, they're taxing me on money they seized. But nevertheless, it's all the same. It's all the universe's money anyway. And I believe in my ability to earn.  There's this awesome thing that I realized a while ago because I've never been the smartest person in the room, I've never been the most talented in the room. I just haven't. But what I've been is the person that just refuses to quit. And when you can do that, when you're just like, "I refuse to give up no matter what," you're gonna be fine. And realizing that was so awesome because I remember sitting at the dinner table with my brothers, one is a certified genius and the other is the most talented human being that I've ever met, and I'm just like, "How do I measure up?" And how I measured up was I just refused to fail. I refused to give up. And everybody has that ability. And it really, nine times out of ten, means more than being the most talented or the most brilliant person in the room, you know?

C:
Yeah. So much value.

M:
So much value. And everyone can do it.  So liberating.

C:
Is that your next book? I wanna read that book. Teach me your ways. That's good.

M:
Well, I wake up and I'm like, "Holy shit, I've got this much ... I owe this much money," or, "I'm 40 and I don't have kids," or whatever the fear is in your head. You're just like, "I just refuse to quit." I'm just not giving up.  No matter what. Yeah. And then you feel empowered and then for me that's a great antidote to fear.

 Splash News

Splash News

C:
When did that kind of dawn on you that this is your formula to success? Because throughout your book, this issue of insecurity came up a lot. You were so honest. Most of us feel that way, everybody feels that way. In the book it kind of bubbled up or festered in different times when you were really critical of yourself ... even in the middle of this storm with the most powerful people in the world, there was this little insecure girl in the midst of all of that. Is she still alive in you or is she dead and gone?

M:
She's always gonna be there, she's very small. And the reason that she's very small is because  I've taken daily actions to shrink her presence. Because she's a huge reason why I turned to drugs and alcohol. And I think that in some ways being a woman, God, it's such an asset because we think about everything. I think the reason that I was successful in the poker world is because my competitive advantage is that I was a woman. I knew to focus on relationships. I knew to focus on sensory experience. I knew that kindness gets you so much farther than aggression. All these things that are innate in a woman that make us a woman. But the downside, the flip side of that is you've got this peanut gallery in your head all the time pushing you to be better but also sometimes tearing you down.

C:
The noise, yeah. So true.

M:
And so for me, meditation is a hugely powerful tool that has transformed my brain from the peanut gallery sounding off that's not working always in my favor, to one of being able to be in the seat of witness and to innately know when it's time to push the pedal harder. But not because there are a million voices telling you that you suck. It quiets those voices. And so practicing meditation, practicing being of service and helping other people, making that a huge part of your day or your life, all these things that I practice on a daily basis have really quieted that voice.  I could always achieve, but I didn't enjoy the road to success because it was narrated by this very tough voice in my head. So I think that that insecure little girl part is very small now. When I get super tired, it gets loud. But other than that...

C:
I asked you on the stage about who takes care of you. And I'm sure you get it and you just alluded to it a little bit, but do you want the fairytale?  Do you need the husband, do you want kids? What does that look like for you?

M:
Well, a great thing that I did when I thought I was gonna go to jail is I froze eggs. Yeah. And I like to be really candid about that even though, whatever, it's personal, but we're in a place right now in the world where you can extend the life of your fertility. Yes, it's expensive. I sold jewelry. You just try to figure out how to make it happen. So, yes, that's something that's totally important to me and that I really want for sure. And I do have a boyfriend and he's amazing. And I'm hoping that my life looks like that in a year or two, a couple years. But I'm just super grateful that I did that, that I made that choice. Because I thought I was going to jail for 10 years.

C:
Right. And how did you meet him?

M:
I met him in AA. I feel like in my 20s and early 30s I met all my boyfriends at poker games or the bar. Now I meet them in support groups.

C:
Love that!  If people want to follow your journey or learn more about you or connect with you, how can I tell my audience to follow your travels?

M:
A couple of ways. @ImMollyBoom on Instagram and Twitter. And then you can sign up for when I do start to create these experiences for women, these transformational experiences that will focus on your professional life, your spiritual life, your intellectual life - all these things that I want to start to create a community around and start to elevate. You can sign up at ImMollyBloom.com.

C:
Very cool. That's awesome. Sign me up!

M:
Thanks, Catt.

 Instagram @immollybloom

Instagram @immollybloom

Catt Sadler