Amy Poehler interviewed Madeleine Albright for this month’s issue of Interview Magazine. They talked about her newest book, Hell and Other Destinations, fighting for women, anxiety dreams, and much more. You can read the full interview in the press library!
In the current administration, senior officials come and go with such revolving-door frequency, it’s hard to remember a time when chief cabinet appointments carried a sense of hallowed gravitas. The concept of the statesperson, representing democratic ideals and rolling up their sleeves in diplomacy and policy-making around the world under the banner of collective betterment, is certainly in danger of becoming obsolete. And yet, when Madeleine Albright was appointed secretary of state under President Bill Clinton in 1997, she radically broke a number of old concepts about what it meant to be a “statesman” as well—not least among them, the fact that Albright was the first woman to assume the post in the history of the United States. Albright’s intelligence, perseverance, and humanity on matters of foreign policy during her four-year tenure are already the celebrated stuff of awards, medals, and honorary degrees (as well as a bestselling memoir on her time working in the Clinton administration on such volatile regions as the Balkans and the Middle East). But Albright didn’t stop being a public servant and outspoken citizen when she left the White House in 2001. For the past two decades, she’s been fighting the good fight, giving lectures, writing books, championing the salvational powers of democracy, supporting and advocating women’s rights all over the map, and, at every turn, reminding us that the art of diplomacy is about listening as well as talking. Albright has had a very busy 21st century, during which she seems to have done everything but slow down.
Her new memoir, Hell and Other Destinations, out this month from HarperCollins, leaps through all of her public and private activities in the past 20 years. The whole time, Albright is constantly asking, “What’s next?” When she wasn’t stumping for Hillary Clinton during her presidential election bid or penning a book on the subject of fascism, Albright also found the time to cameo on more than one television show. In the last season of Parks and Recreation, Albright eats waffles in a D.C. diner with the exasperated do-gooder protagonist Leslie Knope (Knope finally concedes to give back Albright’s eagle brooch). As it turns out, the actor Amy Poehler is just as big of a fan of the former Madam Secretary as her onscreen character. She asked the 82-year-old political titan about fighting for women, anxiety dreams, and the upticks of being short.
AMY POEHLER: I’ve been reading your new book, which is part essay, part memoir, part informational, observational genius. And the title alone is so great!
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: Yes, it raises eyebrows.
POEHLER: What made you title it Hell and Other Destinations?
ALBRIGHT: Well, there are really three reasons. First, all you have to do is look at the news. If we don’t wake up soon and start doing things differently, hell is precisely where we’re headed. The second reason has to do with a saying I have, which you might have heard: that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other. The third reason is that the ideal title might have been Parks and Recreation, but that was taken. So add it up and there we are.