Incredible Women

Eva Chen Is The Final Guest On Our Incredible Women Podcast Season 8: The Powerhouses

We’re excited to bring you the eighth season of NET-A-PORTER’s Incredible Women podcast, in partnership with De Beers. This series celebrates The Powerhouses and features a truly remarkable lineup – from legendary feminist activist Gloria Steinem and Hollywood polymath Issa Rae to podcast luminary Elizabeth Day and fashion powerhouse Eva Chen

Eva Chen

Episode 6: Eva Chen

From pre-med student to vice president of fashion at Meta is a pretty stellar professional pivot to get your head around, but for journalist, author and fashion powerhouse Eva Chen – the final guest in the eighth season of our Incredible Women podcast – it was the most satisfying change of course imaginable, solidifying a love of fashion and beauty instilled in her by her glamorous mother.

Chen’s plan was always to be a doctor. However, between her junior and senior years of college, she decided to apply for a raft of internships, to experience something “completely different” before embarking on a career in medicine. Of all the offers she received, only one was paid – and that was the clincher. It was a job at Harper’s Bazaar – and Chen knew instinctively it was where she belonged: “I could feel my soul just kind of strumming.” What followed was a steady climb through the echelons of glossy magazines – via ELLE and Teen Vogue – until, at just 33, she was hired by Anna Wintour to helm Lucky magazine, becoming the youngest editor-in-chief in Condé Nast’s history.

For the past nine years, Chen’s role at Meta has been to work closely with representatives from across the fashion industry to strategize different ways of storytelling on a platform that has become key for brands, retailers and influencers alike: she considers herself “the bridge” between the fashion industry and Meta. She’s an avid user of Instagram herself, with more than 2.5m followers. She also writes children’s books and has published 12 to date.

Listen in as Chen talks to NET-A-PORTER fashion director Kay Barron about the power of self-evolution, championing true creativity, and the ripple effect of our own personal power.

Read highlights from Eva Chen’s podcast episode below…

“I think power is something that’s ever shifting, ever changing, and that people should learn to embrace uncertainty and the shifting sands of themselves.”

“Fashion is very much a lightning rod. Fashion is very much a culture-carrier and a culture-changer.”

“It makes me have a lot of faith in humanity when you go into a classroom of first- or second-graders – the questions they ask and seeing just how bright and optimistic they are… gives me a lot of hope.”

“As long as I feel fulfilled and challenged, that’s always been the most important thing. That first itch of boredom [has] always been lethal for me.”

“This generation is a generation that is going to change the world. They have such strong morals and strong beliefs. And so, I think, in 2024, it’s about a powerhouse generation that I hope is coming to the forefront.”

To listen to The Powerhouses, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Episode 5: Sharmadean Reid

How to thrive in the workplace and create a good work/life balance is one of the most challenging dilemmas of modern living – and never more so than for women. Enter entrepreneur, creative consultant and writer Sharmadean Reid, MBE – the penultimate guest in this season of our Incredible Women podcast – who has made it her business, literally, to advocate for women’s economic independence and help build communities where they can create their own opportunities.

One of those communities, founded in 2017, was Beautystack, a next-generation beauty-booking app that aimed to economically empower women by giving them the tools to run their independent beauty businesses. The platform was described as an Instagram-LinkedIn hybrid, in that it focused heavily on the social aspect, though Reid liked to think of it more as the world’s biggest beauty salon – but with no set locations. This naturally evolved into The Stack World, launched in 2021, which offers its members rare access to advice from formidable figures in business, plus events, co-working spaces and its own magazine, which features articles on politics, culture and, of course, business.

Reid has now turned her wealth of experience and wisdom into a book: New Methods for Women: A Manifesto for Independence, a collection of 44 powerful essays that offer fresh perspectives on life, work, self, friendships, parenthood and relationships. It will be published in June.

Listen in as Reid talks to NET-A-PORTER fashion director Kay Barron about what power means to her, fixing the system, and putting women at the forefront.

Read highlights from Sharmadean Reid’s podcast episode below…

“My mum was a teen mum, and we didn’t have that much money. And I thought, well, if I want to have freedom, I need to have money; money and freedom were always very linked for me. I would say now, the power to change people’s minds and to redistribute wealth is a really important power marker for me.”

“We’ve got to do something different, clearly, because I don’t want my great-granddaughters in 100 years’ time to be like, ‘Oh, Grandma Reid’s still got it.’ I want future generations to read women’s issues today and look at them as absurd.”

“For the system to be fixed, women have to be active participants in it. But we can’t be participants in it if we’re already disempowered because of these things that are happening. So it’s this catch-22 thing, right?”

“It’s almost like you’re trying to bang on a door without knowing why the door’s even there and why you’re banging on it.”

“Every single thing I’ve done since then is somehow about putting women at the forefront; giving them their power.”

To listen to The Powerhouses, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Sharmadean Reid
Lulu Wang

Episode 4: Lulu Wang

There are countless stories and diverse depictions of the human experience that will forever remain untold on our screens, but award-winning writer-director Lulu Wang – the fourth guest in our Incredible Women podcast – is doing her damnedest to highlight as many of these ‘hidden’ tales as possible.

Central to this desire is Wang’s own story: she emigrated to the US with her family when she was six and, despite feeling completely settled now – “I have an actual home, I have a garden, I grow things and eat them and so I feel connected” – her background and culture proved key in the making of her deeply personal 2019 feature debut, The Farewell – a semi-autobiographical account of a granddaughter summoned back to China to await her grandmother’s death. The film won a handful of awards and was nominated for many more, including a Golden Globe and a Bafta.

Wang’s deft directing and unconventional storytelling caught the attention of Nicole Kidman, who was looking for someone to adapt, and direct her in, a Hong Kong-set novel by Janice YK Lee that she had optioned. The six-part result for Prime Video is the deeply unsettling Expats, a meditation on greed, grief, class and privilege. Unusually, the limited series was penned by an all-female writers’ room, where the experiences of a diverse set of women has imbued the project with a remarkably realistic female perspective. Wang’s next venture includes collaborating with her parents on a book and autobiographical podcast.

Listen in as Wang talks to NET-A-PORTER content director Alice Casely-Hayford about risk-taking, carving her own path, and the power of vulnerability.

Read highlights from Lulu Wang’s podcast episode below…

“There’s so much power in being quiet. Being quiet in a room is also a way of taking up space, of letting the silence sit…”

“Ultimately, if you’re good with yourself, if you make the choices that feel in line with your values and make you happy, you’re ultimately going to be a better person in the world; you’re going to be a more generous person; you’re going to be a more kind person, because you have more to give.”

[On Expats:] “I wanted to tell a story about humanity and the good and the bad; of all the flaws and all the beauty, and all the ways we hurt each other, and all the ways we try to love each other and sometimes fail.”

“I want to stay a student always and to keep learning.”

“How many actors are not given that opportunity to show what they can do, to show their range, because the roles aren’t there for them? Just thinking about that propels me forward to keep writing roles for people who don’t get these opportunities.”

To listen to The Powerhouses, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Episode 3: Gloria Steinem

Writer. Activist. Feminist hero. Our third podcast guest, the indefatigable Gloria Steinem, has been at the forefront of the feminist movement since the 1960s. Even more compelling is that her fire for discourse and righting inequalities is undimmed as she celebrates her 90th birthday this month.

For someone who has made such an invaluable contribution to so many urgent issues of the past century, it is perhaps surprising to learn that Steinem didn’t regularly attend school – her family frequently traveled around the US when she was little, allowing her to see a life without the restrictions and beyond prejudices that she might have experienced in the classroom. Despite – and because of – this alternative way of living and learning, she grew up an avid reader, with a burning desire to write.

As a journalist, editor and writer, Steinem’s achievements are unequivocal: she was one of the founders of the iconic New York Magazine, which launched in 1968, where she wrote political columns and features; and in 1972, she co-founded Ms. Magazine, remaining one of its editors for 15 years. Her books include the bestsellers My Life on the Road and Moving Beyond Words.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER content director Alice Casely-Hayford about her worldwide sisterhood, bringing women together, and celebrating – rather than punishing – differences.

Read highlights from Gloria Steinem’s podcast episode below…

“Power hopefully means the ability to govern our own lives and does not mean power over other people – which is, I think, where the problem begins.”

[My father] always felt that the cure for almost anything was a movie and a malted. It’s kind of not wrong.”

“I still, to this day, have talking circles in my living room of 12 or 20 women, who come and sit and say what we’re doing and how we can help each other or learn from each other.”

“I remember being sent by my agent to an editor at Life magazine, I think. And as I approached his desk, he looked up at me and said, ‘We don’t want a pretty girl, we want a writer. Go home.’”

“It’s very important to me to meet with women who are different from me in culture or country or language or class or experience. Because, after all, we learn from difference, not sameness.”

To listen to The Powerhouses, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Gloria Steinem
Elizabeth Day

Episode 2: Elizabeth Day

Most of us are driven by a desire to succeed; and yet, it’s failing – and everything we learn from it – that defines our second guest, who herself is a prodigy of the podcast world. Elizabeth Day is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and the much-loved (and lauded) host of the wildly successful How To Fail, which is currently in its 20th season.

The simple premise – each week, a guest is invited to talk about three things in their life that they deem a failure and reflect on what it has taught them in the long run – was an instant hit with listeners when it launched in 2018. Day’s resulting book – How to Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Things Going Wrong – was an immediate bestseller.

Her latest book – Friendaholic: Confessions of a Friendship Addict – is a painfully honest examination of the difference between being good at friendships and being a good friend, and quickly topped The Sunday Times’ bestsellers list. Next up, Day is writing a piece of fiction and setting up a podcast production company, with an emphasis on championing a diverse representation of voices.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER fashion director Kay Barron about the importance of listening, learning to say no, and what success really looks like for her…

Read highlights from Elizabeth Day’s podcast episode below…

“We have not paid enough attention to friendship as its own form of love; and that means we don’t have a unique language to reach for when we need to bring a friendship to a close.”

“I’ve got to the stage now where I refuse to be apologetic about the fact that I am busy and that my work is demanding – and I choose for it to be so, because it’s very meaningful to me and it gives my life purpose.”

“Doing How to Fail has made me radically redefine what success means to me. Success now means: not limousines and private jets – although that would be very nice; it means having the ability and the capacity to show up as myself in every single part of my life.”

“I want to allow [my guests] to go in unexpected directions and to really listen to what they’re saying, because very often the thing that is most important is the thing left unsaid.”

To listen to The Powerhouses, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*

Episode 1: Issa Rae

Kicking off our eighth season of the Incredible Women podcast is Issa Rae: actor, writer, producer and founder – not to mention erstwhile president of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Land.

Clearly, Rae has a whole orchestra’s worth of strings to her bow, but it was back in 2011 that she first garnered attention for her work on the web series Awkward Black Girl – which fast became a cult phenomenon – playing a smart and fallible woman trying to figure out why she hasn’t got it all figured out. Then followed a Golden Globe-winning show (Insecure, which she co-created, co-wrote and starred in), New York Times bestseller, and a reported $40m deal with HBO, and these days the indefatigable Rae is a bona fide media mogul, with her own production company to boot.

The past year has seen an intentional shift in Rae’s work, where she proactively sought out more ensemble projects in order to “speed-date actors I want to work with”, as she puts it. The result has been three box-office smashes: the aforementioned Barbie, the witheringly satirical American Fiction, and the animated Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – all of which have been Oscar-nominated.

Listen in as she talks to NET-A-PORTER content director Alice Casely-Hayford about taking risks, telling the stories she wants to see, and that dreaded Barbie dance sequence.

Read highlights from Issa Rae’s podcast episode below…

“Power can be defined so many ways. I think recognizing my own personal power to make decisions, to take stands, to influence, has been quite a journey, but also recognizing the power that I don’t have, and trying to circumvent that. One of my mantras this year is to build more doors, because that’s how I broke in.”

“I don’t need to lead everything. I want to be a part of something bigger and great and like an essential puzzle piece.”

“I find that there’s value in creating what the market wants, as long as it’s with a sense of integrity, as opposed to what I even see now in the industry, where it’s just like, ‘Y’all are just making things based off an algorithm.’”

“It’s essential for those of us who have these opportunities to uplift other voices. You know, otherwise we’ll have nothing, and we won’t have these other opportunities to showcase the range of Blackness.”

To listen to The Powerhouses, subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and many more*. NET-A-PORTER will donate one British pound for every first listen to this episode in its week of release** to UN Women – an organization working for the empowerment and rights of women and girls globally, helping them realize their full potential.

Issa Rae
L-R: Elizabeth Day, Issa Rae and Gloria Steinem

The Powerhouses

For the eighth season of NET-A-PORTER’s Incredible Women podcast, in partnership with De Beers, we present The Powerhouses. In this series, we sit down for intimate conversations with six phenomenal women who are leading the charge for change with their unique talent, strength, drive and influence.

The lineup includes Gloria Steinem – as she celebrates her 90th birthday – who needs little introduction as a renowned leader of the women’s rights movement and an eminent writer and journalist; the award-winning actor, writer, producer and business founder Issa Rae, who starred in three of the biggest movies of the past year (Barbie, American Fiction and Spider-Man), and who has championed true representation onscreen throughout her career; Elizabeth Day, luminary of the podcast world, broadcaster and bestselling author, who hosts the chart-topping series How To Fail With Elizabeth Day; writer and director Lulu Wang, one of the most thrilling filmmakers of the moment, who received critical acclaim for her comedy-drama The Farewell in 2019 and whose recent TV debut, Expats, is one of 2024’s must-watch shows; and entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid, the beauty and tech founder who releases her first book this year: New Methods for Women, a manifesto on life, work and relationships.

Hosted by NET-A-PORTER’s content director Alice Casely-Hayford and fashion director Kay Barron, these conversations will give an eye-opening insight into the lives and work of these inspirational women.


*By accessing Apple Podcasts or Spotify via this link, you agree that you are responsible for complying with Apple Podcasts’ and Spotify’s terms and conditions of use and that we shall have no liability for any breach of such terms and conditions by you.

**THE NET-A-PORTER GROUP LIMITED, trading as NET-A-PORTER, will make a donation equal to one (1) GBP (£1) for each first-time listen to the first episode of this podcast series made between 05:00 GMT on March 7, 2024, and 05:00 GMT on March 12, 2024, to UN Women National Committee UK, whose address is 63/66 Hatton Garden, Fifth Floor, Suite 23, London EC1N 8LE, a charity registered in England and Wales under charity number: 1162741. The Donation will be subject to a maximum amount equal to seventeen-thousand pounds sterling (£17,000). If the number of listens recorded are 12,000 or less, THE NET-A-PORTER GROUP LIMITED will give a minimum donation of twelve-thousand pounds sterling (£12,000).