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(A)typical Day with Fashion Director and Celebrity Stylist, Aya Kanai

(A)typical Day with Fashion Director and Celebrity Stylist, Aya Kanai

Aya Kanai is the master of slashes. She’s the Executive Fashion Director of not one but two major publications (Cosmopolitan and Seventeen)/celebrity stylist/Project Runway Junior judge/genuinely one of the nicest people we know. So it is no surprise that with a booming résumé and an unparalleled work ethic, that a day in the life of Kanai is anything but typical. To get a better idea of what Kanai does, we asked her to walk us through a day in her life—from the moment she wakes up until she (eventually) goes to bed. From a celebrity photoshoot to finding time to meditate to an unexpected flight companion, Kanai shows that fashion never sleeps—even on a Saturday.  5:30 am: Wake up at the ACE hotel in downtown LA, push snooze a couple times on my phone…

6 am: I start my day with 20 minutes of seated meditation. The chair is not the most comfortable, but at least I can’t fall asleep.

7 am: Eat breakfast in the hotel restaurant. I was staying here because I attended an event for ASICS the previous night. They sponsored me for the TCS NYC marathon in 2016 so I am always excited to see what new products they are launching. I also went to the Harper’s Bazaar Beautiful People event so I am exhausted!

8 am: Car service arrives to take me to Malibu! If you know anything about LA you might know that traffic is madness, but I am lucky that it’s a Saturday so the traffic isn’t bad at all. (Yes, I do often work on the weekends. Fashion waits for no one!)

9 am: I arrive to my home for a day. It’s a private residence in beautiful Malibu. It has a gorgeous infinity pool and a view of the ocean. I can’t imagine what it must be like for the homeowners to wake up every day to a view of the ocean. It is perfection. I greet my amazing assistant Ariana, who works with me on celebrity photo shoots in LA.

9:30 am: After a quick breakfast at the catering table, we start unpacking! Being a celebrity stylist might sound very glamorous but is actually a whole lot of manual labor! It takes us an hour to unpack the trunks of clothing, shoes, and jewelry that I had sent from New York. Tons of stuff! I have a chat with the photographer as well as our creative and entertainment directors about what looks I am like the best and what locations we want to use.

11 am: Our celebrity talent arrives! today its Jenna Dewan Tatum. I have worked with her before and she is one of my favorite people. She’s an incredible dancer, actress, and mom—what a combo!

11:30 am: Jenna and I do a fitting. Usually when a celeb arrives to set for a cover shoot, I like to do a fitting with the clothes so that the tailor (who we also have on set) can quickly make alterations.

12 pm: We found seven outfits that are going to work great on Jenna! I take polaroids of her wearing all the outfits so that I can show the photographer and we can plan our photoshoot while Jenna is in hair and makeup.

1:30 pm: Now we are ready for look one! I always like to start the day when shooting a celebrity with an outfit that I don’t think is going to be the cover. I find that it takes a minute for the talent to get “warmed up” and you don’t want to use your hero look before the celeb is feeling comfortable!

3 pm: We have done three looks and we are ready to break for lunch! Who shows up but Jenna’s husband. You may know his as Channing?! 🙂 He along with his adorable daughter have come to visit Jenna on set and are literally the cutest family ever.

3:45 pm: We are back on set for more pictures! We nail our cover shot! So exciting.

5 pm: Jenna is like an energizer bunny. She never runs out of the ability to deliver amazing pictures. Surprising but true: smiling for pictures all day long is hard work! Getting a great cover shoot is exhausting but Jenna is a pro.

6 pm: WRAP! I say goodbye to Jenna and start packing up all my stuff! Ahh the glamorous life of a stylist…not really! Tons of racks of clothes and shoes to pack up…

7 pm: I head to the airport with my creative director. In the car we discuss our favorite shots of the day and what images we want to use for cover and what images we think will be great for inside the magazine. Usually final image selection is a collaboration between a handful of people but I already know which ones I like best. That’s the thing about working with celebs; because I am the one working with them as a stylist I know which outfits they were the most happy in and I want them to LOVE their cover. So I will usually point out to the creative team back in the office which looks I know the talent loved the most.

8 pm: Arrive at LAX for a very unglamorous dinner at Lemonade, the airport healthy restaurant.

9 pm: Ugh, still so long until I board my flight! Instagram, email, and texting with my husband.

10:15 pm: You will not believe this but I board my flight to discover that there is a giant DOG sitting next to me!!! OMG but she is the cutest thing ever and I couldn’t be more excited.

10:55 pm: Finally taking off to fly back to NYC. A very long day but a good one!

Text has been edited slightly for clarity. 

Photos via @ayakanai