Second Life Podcast: Eva Chen on Pivoting From Editorial to Instagram

Welcome to MyDomaine's Second Life podcast, a  who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief innovation officer at MyDomaine's parent company, Clique Brands, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. , and stay tuned—we'll be releasing new episodes on Mondays.

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Photo:

Leo Faria

Eva Chen's résumé reads like the front row of a well-stocked magazine stand. She's held jobs at publications like Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Teen Vogue, and Lucky (where she was editor in chief, no less). Although landing a job as editor in chief of a major publication sounds like the peak of one's career, Chen was just getting started when she was at the fashion mag.

Now, she's catapulted to director of fashion partnerships for Instagram, has written her first book (a children's story called Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes), and is trying her hand at design with the launch of a capsule collection with Janie and Jack in conjunction with her book.

"I for sure thought I was going to be a doctor," Chen tells Hillary Kerr on episode 35 of Second Life. However, it wasn't long before she realized medicine wasn't exactly the right path for her, and she started applying for internships with companies she knew and loved, including a little magazine called Harper's Bazaar. An internship in the beauty and features department struck a chord with Chen, and she knew editorial was where she belonged. "My brain felt like it was lit on fire from the first day I walked in," she remembers.

Although it wasn't quite as glamorous as one might imagine, Chen worked her way up to editor in chief of Lucky after years spent at a variety of publications (and even a small stint as a legal assistant). It was a tough job, but it taught her many valuable lessons, like hiring people whose vision you trust and leaning into the business side of things even when it's not your forté. 

When working 18-hour days at the magazine was no longer sustainable, Chen jumped at the opportunity to become director of fashion partnerships for Instagram. Now, she's the liaison between the fashion community and the larger team at Instagram (and has over a million followers of her own to boot). If she could go back in time and talk to her younger self, she would say, "Everything happens for a reason. … Keep your eyes open and follow your passion."

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