In this episode, Ellie interviews Polo Tate, author of Deep Dark Blue: A Memoir of Survival. In the book, Polo recounts the loss of her sister at a young age and how that experience caused her to become a self-disciplined and goal-oriented child. At age 11, Polo set her sights on attending the United States Air Force Academy. She dedicated herself to making that dream a reality, and at age 18 she started basic training while also playing NCAA Division 1 volleyball for the Air Force Academy team. As Polo describes, her experience at the Academy was filled with amazing highs and devastating rock bottom lows, stemming from two brutal assaults.
In her book and this interview, Polo shares her story of survival and describes how she found herself on the other side. Through her resilience, she was ultimately able to rediscover joy. Ellie and Polo discuss how the experience has impacted Polo’s charitable giving. Polo is a fifth-generation philanthropist with her family’s foundation, the R.E. Olds Foundation.
In this episode:
- Meet Polo Tate (3:10)
- Deep Dark Blue—why this book, why now? (7:00)
- Stuffing the darkness in the building inside you (16:50)
- The experience of telling the truth and the repercussions (23:25)
- Recognizing where you are, choosing to live, and getting quiet (28:20)
- Jumping into the space between the inner being and the outer being (33:00)
- Grieving is critical to healing (39:00)
- Recommended resources (42:00)
- How has this experience changed your philanthropy? (44:35)
- Bonus questions (47:50)
Resources from this episode:
Notable and Quotable:
“Once my body healed, I had to deal with a fractured soul.” —Polo Tate
“Monsters only grow in the darkness of denial.” —Polo Tate
“Most of the things that lead to a perfectionist mentality…are based in a fear that somehow our inner being is not good enough to be shown on the outside.” —Polo Tate
“There is no life hack for emotional issues.” —Polo Tate
“Getting to know yourself wholly and loving yourself unconditionally are the most important things you can do in your life.” —Polo Tate
Polo Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile.
Growing up, Tate used her academic aptitude and athletic prowess to earn appointments to both The United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA) and the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs (USAFA). She decided to accept the challenge to attend USAFA out of high school, where she played varsity volleyball in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Tate left during her second year, and her harrowing journey at one of our nation’s most challenging institutions can now be found in her gritty, honest and dynamic debut memoir, Deep Dark Blue.
After leaving USAFA, Tate restarted her college career at the University of Notre Dame. She played Volleyball for the Irish in the Big East Conference and eventually graduated with a B.A. degree in Film, Television, and Theatre.
Tate is now an actor, author, writer, and comedian, performing all over New York City and Los Angeles. She is a passionate public speaker, with a mission for all to see, feel and understand their own self-worth, empowerment, and value.
Polo Tate is a modern-day renaissance woman. Her talent is enormous; her energy, boundless. She loves people, lives every moment to the fullest, lets no one take her joy, and avidly practices the belief that you can do anything upon which you set your mind, heart, and spirit. She lives in New York City.
Learn more at polotate.com.
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