Eva Chen Told Our Co-Founder Her Best Career Advice

Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on iTunes, and stay tuned. 

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This week, we're rebroadcasting and expanding upon one of our favorite Second Life episodes from the archives with Eva Chen.

As you know, Eva Chen is one of the fashion industry's most beloved insiders, and you're in for a treat with this week's rebroadcasted Second Life episode. Last November, Chen sat down with our co-founder and Second Life podcast host, Hillary Kerr, to talk all things pertaining to building a career in the fashion industry, working at Instagram, and adding author to her résumé. 

Chen is now the head of fashion partnerships at Instagram (how's that for a cool job?), but she kicked off her career as a fashion closet intern at Harper's Bazaar while in college at Johns Hopkins (initially for pre-med), later becoming an editor at Elle magazine (along with Kerr), the beauty director at Teen Vogue, and the editor in chief at Lucky. In 2015, she made the jump to Instagram, where she works closely with fashion designers, models, publications, stylists, and influencers. If you're one of her devoted 1.2 million followers, you know that she's also one of the most refreshingly real, honest people to follow on the platform. She also released her first children's book in late 2018, Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes, which became a New York Times best seller. She also has a sequel, Juno Valentine and the Fantastic Fashion Adventure, coming out on October 29.

As you might've guessed, Chen has tons of useful career advice. Head to iTunes to subscribe to Second Life, and listen to this episode to hear more about how she made the jump from publishing to Instagram. And below, peruse some of the career wisdom she shared with Kerr.

Shop Eva Chen's First Book

"If there's someone you admire, or someone whose work that you admire, learn everything you can about them. Then try to meet with them or someone like them and ask about what they actually do—the nuts and bolts."

"Do the things no else one wants to do. Make yourself useful. Don't wait to be asked to do something; just do it."

"When I look at a résumé, I don't really look at where someone went to college. That doesn't really matter to me. I feel I'm looking for someone that clearly took initiative and seems on top of it."

"Everything happens for a reason and just keep learning. And keep your eyes open and follow your passion."

"Try things, and then if you don't like them, don't feel bad about it. It's not a failure or a waste of time. If you can cross it out, it helps you get one step closer to finding the thing you do like."

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All dressed up in my jammies 🤪

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"You have to be quite entrepreneurial when searching for jobs. Don't just apply to jobs that you see listed on a company website. Contact your alumni office. If you went to high school with someone who went on to work at a company you like, reach out to them."

"The first thing you have to do is research. It's really easy to romanticize a different industry, but you have to understand the mechanics of it. Within the category of fashion, there are 1000 jobs. Narrow it down."