Welcome toSecond 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 gives you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts to stay tuned.
Renowned for her unique point of view and keen editorial eye, Aya Kanai has become a force in the fashion industry over the last 20 years. Kanai has styled hundreds of photo shoots for major media publications and has dedicated her work to empowering her readers through visuals and the art of style. Today, Kanai is the head of content and editorial partnerships at Pinterest, one of the world’s largest visual-discovery and creator platforms. At Pinterest, Kanai uses her voice and iconic perspective to determine what the creators want to ultimately inspire the audience.
Before landing a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Pinterest, Kanai worked her way up in the media industry, approaching every new role as an invaluable learning experience. Kanai began her media career as the fashion assistant at Teen Vogue during the magazine’s inception, where she quickly realized that she wanted to become a stylist. “I had the opportunity to assist the Vogue stylists who were truly putting together the aesthetic of Teen Vogue as it launched,” reveals Kanai. “It’s definitely, without a doubt, what made me realize what the job of a stylist can be and that I wanted to be one—seeing the way that a truly excellent stylist is able to craft to the world of what the pictures are or the video or whatever it is. To shape and influence, the total look and feel, was something that really spoke to me.”
After her time at Teen Vogue, Kanai expanded her editorial career, holding esteemed positions at notable companies, such as fashion director at Nylon and Cosmopolitan, style director at Amazon’s Shopbop.com, chief fashion director for Hearst Magazines—overseeing all of the fashion content for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Day—and editor in chief of the U.S edition of Marie Claire magazine. There’s no denying that Kanai has become a thought-leader in the editorial industry and an admired, sought-out stylist throughout the years. However, that’s not it. Before Kanai became a media legend, she explored the world of experimental puppetry, where she learned to channel her creative energy through imagery and expression.
Tune in to the latest episode of Second Life to hear how Kanai manifested her career in media by bringing a breath of fresh air to each new position and constantly evolving her knowledge to eventually situate herself at the helm of a platform like Pinterest.