What I Learned From Interviewing Aya Kanai

    As much as I love writing, the thought of interviewing people makes me want to cringe. Which is why I was less than ecstatic when I was given an assignment to interview someone who works in the magazine or featuring writing industry. I spent weeks emailing people who worked at all different types of publications and no one answered me back. Then one day I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw that the Aya Kanai, the Chief Fashion Director for Hearst Publications including Cosmopolitan, Red Book, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping and Women’s Day, had posted a photo.

    “What do I have to lose?” I said to myself, and the next thing I knew I was sliding into Kanai’s DMs, asking her what are her top 10 tips for people who want work in the magazine industry. What was even more surprising than my random burst of confidence though? Kanai actually responded!

    I still can’t believe this actually happened. Not only did Kanai give me her advice for working at a magazine, but I also learned a couple of other things.

  1. No subject is too big. If you want to interview someone just ask. The worst they can do is say no, or not answer you at all.

  2. Take risks! There are plenty of less intimidating people I could have reached out to, but the risk paid off.

  3. Do your research! Time is limited in an interview and you don’t want to waste it. Research also helps you build off of questions they already answered and go deeper.

As for the career advice? That was pretty helpful too.

  1. Be culturally aware. Fashion is more than just clothes. “Study art and art history. Study film history. Research all your favorite fashion photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists. It’s important to have a point of view and that can only be created by learning about other artists.”

  2. Pace yourself. “Don’t try to climb the career ladder too fast. Everything will happen for you. It just takes time.”

Whatever you do, don’t let someone’s job title intimidate you. At the end of the day we’re all just people. Now go on and reach out to someone you never thought you'd talk to. The risk will definitely pay off.

 

*Original photo by Raegan Cleary