The article first appeared on the Forbes.
“So much of my personality has been embracing my story. And if you embrace your story, then that's where you get your power,” says Eva Chen, Instagram’s Head of Fashion Partnerships. “I read a lot of X-Men comic books growing and when you think about the mutants, their differences were their super strengths. What makes you unique is actually what makes you better,” says Chen, who credits her authenticity as the “ultimate arc” of her expansive career.
As one of fashion’s most well-connected insiders, Chen has helped transform how industry influencers engage communities, a natural evolution of her success in the worlds of fashion and beauty magazines. The former Lucky editor-in-chief boasts over one million Instagram followers and has been a force on the platform since its inception, winning the engagement game through her refreshingly honest approach to sharing the many facets of her life, from her children’s sleepless nights to her favorite pizza spot in New York City.
For Chen, owning her diverse passions has been one of the guiding forces behind her notable rise. “I like clothes. I like shopping. But I also love YA fiction and Marvel movies. And that's what makes me, me,” she says hoping to inspire self-acceptance amongst her followers. Chen admits she’s still the same “late bloomer girl, walking around with a black and white marble composition notebook with a Hello Kitty gel pen stuck in it.” Through it all, her “North Star” has been choosing to cherish what once felt like awkwardness, guided by the belief that our differences make us stronger.
“ Figure out what gets you really excited and talking really fast, and just embrace that ,” says Chen when asked of her best career advice. “Make that one of your things, and it can be a lot of different things. Trust your instincts, and don’t feel like you have to be like everyone else. Your passions don't all have to click together and make sense together. That’s the special kind of sauce that makes you, you.”
Chen’s latest passion fulfills a lifelong dream and has cast her in a new role: children’s book author. Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes blends the many facets of Chen’s world with a namesake character that’s “a sassy, strong girl who discovers empowerment through fashion.” The inspiration for this fresh take on a fairytale came to Chen after reading countless books to her own children, Ren and Tao. And though she’s written already for the likes of Teen Vogue, Lucky, and The Wall Street Journal, Chen admits that Juno was her most daunting assignment to date. “Writing a children's book was definitely the hardest,” says Chen. “Every word has to matter.”
Read more on the Forbes.