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Every week, blogger and freelance writer Ayana Lage chats with talented creatives about their career journeys and the twists they've faced along the way. Each episode feels like you're hanging out with two of your friends, so tune in for fun, illuminating conversation.
 
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I'm joined by Laney Schwartz (@lifeisbutadish) today! Laney has a fascinating story about how she became a successful food blogger. We talk about how she started blogging with her kids at home and turned it into a job, tips she has for people who want to learn to cook at home, and how to build an audience as a creator. Use code AYANA for $100 off h…
 
Aubrey Johansen (@thatswhatsheeats) is on the show today! She's a personal chef to professional athletes and incredible recipe developer who recently competed on Chopped. We talk about it all — how she became a food photographer, building a social media presence, how she comes up with new ideas, and why she thinks it's important to make accessible …
 
This week, I'm joined by the fabulous Gulin Cetin (@coffeecupsandroses). She's one of the most creative people I follow online, and I loved getting to hear her story. We talk about how she became a full-time content creator while a Comparative Literature PhD candidate, where she finds inspiration and how she plans out shoots, and her thoughts on cu…
 
Welcome back to the show! After a quick summer break, we’re back and better than ever with an incredible guest. Charlene Carruthers (@charlenecarruthers) is a feminist activist, author, and filmmaker. We talk about her award-winning film The Funnel, her background as an activist, and why she became a filmmaker. You can connect with her below: thefu…
 
After a brief hiatus, the podcast is back — and I'm joined by Camile Lofters (@inliteralcolor) to discuss leaving the classroom after 15 years. Camile is a brilliant educator who is passionate about teaching high school English and journalism, and she graciously shared her experience with me. We discuss how the pandemic changed schooling, what it's…
 
One of my favorite parts of the show is learning about jobs I didn't know existed, and that's what this week's episode is all about! I'm chatting with Erin Andersen (@yourbrandnetworker) about her job as a career transition coach and LinkedIn marketing strategist. Erin became a career coach after leaving a toxic work environment herself, and now sh…
 
This week, I virtually hopped across the pond to chat with the one and only Chloé Watts. She's the founder and CEO of chloédigital, the premier business development and digital strategy membership for creators. It's been a huge help to my business, so I was thrilled to chat with her. We cover how she started her career as a self-taught designer, wh…
 
Josie Bullard (@josie.bullard) is on the show today! She's one of the first influencers I ever followed, and she has so many insights to share. We talk about her dropping out of college to become a full-time content creator and how that paid off, along with how she's been able to find success on multiple social platforms. Josie also shares her dail…
 
Tabitha Sewer (@tabithasewer) is on the show today (and yes, that's her real last name). She's a fashion and sewing content creator who specializes in creating colorful, vibrant clothing. We discuss her career journey — going back to school after leaving the military, how she fell in love with fashion, learning to sew, and getting past creative blo…
 
I'm joined by the one-and-only Jess Kirby today, who's one of my absolute favorite bloggers to follow. We discuss how she got her start in the industry, her decision to walk away from Instagram in a few months, the boundaries she's drawn about sharing her daughter online, and staying politically minded as an influencer without feeling overwhelmed b…
 
I'm chatting with Marnely Murray (@marnely_murray), a professionally trained pastry chef, food writer, and the co-founder of a digital marketing agency! We discuss how she moved to New York from the Dominican Republic to attend The Culinary Institute of America, how she started food blogging, and where she found her love of baking and cooking. Conn…
 
Today is the first ever episode with multiple guests, and it's a treat. I'm chatting with Winter Dunn and Mikayla Bartholomew about Dear Mama, a short film that centers Black family, loss and hip-hop. Winter directed the short, and Mikayla stars in it. We discuss how they ended up in the entertainment industry, how Dear Mama materialized, the impor…
 
I'm joined today by Courtney Caldwell, the co-founder and CMO of ShearShare. ShearShare — affectionately known as "HairBNB" — is an app that lets beauty professionals rent out their salon spaces, and it's available in more than 900 cities. Courtney has an incredible story about how she and her husband came up with the app (while eating at Chipotle!…
 
Thrilled to introduce y'all to Lizzetth Bellot, the director of people operations at Light. Lizzetth has worked at companies like Curai, Dropbox, FireEye, and Facebook. She went back to school as a single mom to get her bachelor's and master's degrees and has worked in Silicon Valley since. We talk about the importance of networking, the example sh…
 
I'm joined by the fabulous Natalie McMillan (@nataliemcm) this week! She's the founder and sole creative behind her self-titled lifestyle brand and focuses on unique and slightly off-beat pieces. We discuss how she got started with jewelry making, what it's like to make the leap to full-time entrepreneurship, why she doesn't feel the need to have a…
 
I'm thrilled to be joined by Felicia Pride (@feliciapride) today! She is an author turned award-winning filmmaker and TV writer who has written for shows like Queen Sugar and Grey's Anatomy. She's also won accolades for directing tender, a short film, and producing Really Love, which debuted on Netflix as a Top 10 movie. Felicia moved to Los Angele…
 
This week, I'm chatting with Janina Santillan. She's the director of creative marketing and brand strategy at East Olivia, a creative agency specializing in large scale floral installations. She shares what it was like to start her career in theater and how she ended up where she is today, advice for handling rejection, and the benefits of working …
 
I’m joined by Carmen James (@thegoodcarmablog) for today’s episode! She’s the assistant principal at a Montessori school and a blogger. We talk about how education is becoming politicized (critical race theory, Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill, and more). She explains common misconceptions about Montessori education, and we also discuss how she becam…
 
This week, I'm chatting with Zara Hanawalt, a full-time freelance writer who's been published in publications like Glamour, Parents, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, The Huffington Post, and many more. We discuss how she became a successful freelance writer, what it's like to be underrepresented as a South Asian woman, how to pitch and find story ideas,…
 
Happy Wednesday! I'm joined today by Austen Tosone (@austentosone), a fashion and beauty content creator, consultant and entrepreneur. We discuss it all — how she survived print magazine layoffs, what it's like to be consistent across multiple social media platforms, how to get over imposter syndrome when creating educational content, and how she's…
 
Today I'm joined by Malarie Burgess, better known as @thejockscientist! They use humor and compassion to educate folks about the downfalls of diet culture and benefits of health at every size. We discuss her day job as an exercise physiologist, advice she has for people entering the industry, and the benefits of exercise that have nothing to do wit…
 
I’m joined today by the fabulous Nicole Lapin (@nicolelapin), who you may know from the Money Rehab podcast or from one of her best-selling books! We talk about tons of good stuff: how she started her career as the youngest anchor in CNN’s history, becoming a financial expert even though she didn’t have a good relationship with money growing up, an…
 
Pumped to have my friend Ali Bonar (@alibonar) on the podcast today! We discuss how eating disorder recovery led her to co-found Oat Haus, a brand that makes *incredible* granola butter. She shares what it's like to bootstrap a company, how she handles burnout, what Shark Tank is really like, and her thoughts on whether being an influencer is hard.…
 
Kar Brulhart (@karbrulhart) is on the show today! Kar is a coach, speaker, and Instagram expert. She's had the coolest career experience, including working at the United Nations World Food Programme. We talk about her becoming an Instagram strategist and starting her own biz in early 2020, how she went from 0 to 45,000 followers in a matter of mont…
 
Thrilled to be joined today by Raven Gibson, founder of Legendary Rootz (@legendaryrootz) — one of my favorite small businesses. We discuss how the push to support Black businesses in summer 2020 felt overwhelming at the time, how she built a cohesive clothing brand without graphic design experience, and how non-Black allies can support Black busin…
 
Happy New Year! Our first 2022 episode features a chat with Carmen Renee (@carmenreneeblog). She's been blogging for about a decade and has the most fun tips and thoughts on hosting, fashion, home decor, and family life. We talk about how to know your worth as a creator of color, how she batches content strategically, and building a community onlin…
 
Cassy Joy Garcia (@fedandfit) is on the show today! She's a New York Times bestselling author and recipe creator who makes meal prep less overwhelming. We talk about struggling with cooking at home and how to get over it, shifting from a full-time job to entrepreneurship, and why it's important to outsource things. Follow her below: Web: fedandfit.…
 
Arielle Greenleaf, chief education officer and co-founder of Restfully, joins me today to talk about sleep coaching. She's a certified pediatric sleep coach and began her sleep consulting journey after struggling with her daughter's sleep schedule. We discuss her scientific approach to baby sleep, how people can find the right method, and why sleep…
 
Happy Wednesday, pod squad! Today, I'm joined by Sacia Matthews (@saciamatthews), an award-winning wedding photographer who started her career as a high school teacher. We talk about what it's like to work in a creative field as a woman of color, why she left education to become a full-time photographer, setting fair prices to make sure she's getti…
 
So pumped to welcome Stephanie McNeal (@stephemcneal) to the pod today! She covers internet culture and influencers for BuzzFeed News and took the time to share her thoughts on a few topics. Stephanie talks about how she decides which controversies to write about, why influencers get a bad rap, her predictions for the future of the industry, and he…
 
This week, I’m joined by Christie Catan, who’s the co-founder of Tails of Connection, which is an online dog training community. Christie has an incredible story about how she landed where she is currently, and I'm so glad she took the time to share it with me. We discuss how health problems in college changed her career trajectory, taking a leap o…
 
It's the 25th episode, so it's time for something special! My husband Vagner is on the pod today to chat about our respective career journeys. When we got married, he was a full-time worship leader at a church, and he now works at a software company. I never dreamed of being an influencer and thought I'd work in newspaper journalism my whole career…
 
Excited to welcome Elizabeth Holmes, bestselling author of HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style and creator of the SMT Instagram Story series, to the podcast today. We talk about her decision to walk away from her prestigious title at the Wall Street Journal and how she started chronicling the outfit choices of the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Mi…
 
Hi there! New York Times bestselling author Kate Baer is today's podcast guest! I love her work and find it so moving, so I'm thrilled to have her. We discuss her writing process, how she started with erasure poetry, the work she did before coming a full-time writer, and the complicated emotions surrounding "mom guilt" as a working parent. Follow h…
 
I'm hanging out with Rachel Mansfield (@rachlmansfield) for today's episode! She's an incredible cookbook author and recipe creator who has a really cool story. We talk about how she didn't get into cooking until she was an adult and how she found a love for it while recovering from an eating disorder, why getting fired from a job made her decide t…
 
Author and podcast host Caroline Moss is on the pod today, and our conversation is a treat! We talk about the pressure to always be productive and how to handle it, what it's like writing children's books, and how much authors actually make (hint: less than you think). Caroline also talks about how her podcast Gee Thanks, Just Bought It! came about…
 
Today, I’m joined by the one and only Lisa Respers France. She’s a longtime journalist who has worked at CNN for over a decade as a senior entertainment writer. She’s the queen of all things pop culture and graciously agreed to share her journey to her dream job with me. We talk about how she became a writer (the story involves Oprah!), her most me…
 
This week, I’m joined by Emily Amick, better known as @emilyinyourphone. She shares nuanced political opinions from a partisan perspective on her Instagram account, and I love learning new things from her. We discuss her time serving as counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer, going to law school and becoming an attorney for terrorism victims, and what da…
 
I’m thrilled to welcome Rep. Anna Eskamani to the pod today! If you’re not familiar with her, you should be — she’s a progressive leader in Florida making a huge difference both in our state and our country. We talk about why she ran for office and flipping her seat in 2018, what it’s like to balance a full-time job with public service, and how she…
 
Hey, friends! I’m back with another episode of Asked By Ayana, this time featuring Arielle Estoria (@arielleestoria). She’s a poet, speaker, author, actor, and model whose words bring me so much joy, and I’m honored to have her here. We talk about how she struggled at the beginning of her career, what content creation looks like for her, and how sh…
 
Stephanie Hayes (@stephrhayes) is on the pod today to talk about journalism! She got her career start 18 years ago at the Tampa Bay Times and has worked for the newspaper ever since. Stephanie is currently a columnist at the Times, and she shares her thoughts on why journalism is far from dead, along with her own journey to newspaper writing. Thank…
 
I’m honored to have Yamel Belen (@yamelbelen) join me to talk about Black maternal health and doula work. I’ve known Yamel for years and she helped me immensely both pre- and post-pregnancy, so I’m excited that she joined me. We talk about why doulas are important, my labor and delivery experience, and how to advocate for yourself while giving birt…
 
Happy Wednesday, pod squad! Today's episode features Grace Baldridge (@gracebaldridge) who releases music under the name Semler. Grace topped the iTunes Christian charts with their incredible album Preacher’s Kid, and they're the first openly queer artist to do so. We talk about music, the American evangelical church, their experience as a queer Ch…
 
I'm thrilled to welcome Emma Cortes (@emmasedition) to the podcast today! After being laid off from her job in the aerospace industry last year, she became a full-time blogger and course creator. In the first half of 2021, she's already secured $100,000+ in brand partnerships. We talk about how she decided to pursue full-time blogging, why influenc…
 
This week I'm joined by the wonderful Amber Fillerup (@amberfillerup) to talk about influencing, entrepreneurship, and what it's like being vulnerable online. Amber is a longtime lifestyle, beauty and family blogger and the founder of hair extension company Barefoot Blonde Hair and haircare line Dae. 08:30 - how she prioritizes family when working …
 
I’m thrilled to welcome Mandy Moore (@mandymooremm) to the pod! She’s an actress, singer-songwriter, humanitarian, and all-around wonderful person who welcomed her first baby four months ago. We talk about balancing motherhood with work, pregnancy during a pandemic, what it’s like to play Rebecca on NBC’s This Is Us now that she’s a mom herself, an…
 
What's up, pod fam! The incomparable Hitha Palepu (@hithapalepu) joins us for today's episode. She's an investor, entrepreneur, author, and blogger based in New York City. We talk about how she juggles all of her roles, brands and inclusivity, prenatal and postpartum depression, and not taking herself too seriously. ⠀ 06:10 - How she started workin…
 
This week’s convo is with Chabeli Carrazana, the economy reporter at the 19th News. She’s worked at both the Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel, and you may have seen her asking Jen Psaki questions in the White House Briefing Room (casual!). We talk about how she got into journalism (6:00), what it was like to cover the Parkland school shooting and …
 
In today’s episode, I’m joined by Nicole Modic (@kalejunkie) who has an incredible story about quitting her job as a lawyer to become a food blogger. Nicole opens up about walking away from a prestigious role to pursue her dreams, and she gets honest about how struggling with an eating disorder impacted her journey. We talk about her practicing emp…
 
Hey, pod fam! Today's episode features Caralyn Mirand Koch (@caralynmirand), a plus-size model and style blogger. She was the runner-up on Tyra Banks's "Fiercely Real Teen Model Search" reality show, which kicked off her modeling journey (02:20). We talk about not knowing what you want to do when you grow up (12:00), along with brands and size incl…
 
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