How Lifestyle Expert Athena Calderone Inspires Through Thoughtful Design

Welcome toSecond Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who’ve made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode gives you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple PodcastsSpotify, or anywhere you get your podcasts to stay tuned.

The moment you look at Athena Calderone’s Instagram, you instantly get lost in “scrolling awe” from her beautifully curated imagery that allows you to take a step into her one-of-a-kind, creative perspectives. As a lifestyle and entertaining expert, interior designer, and author, Calderone is a modern multidisciplinary creative using her unique aesthetic to ultimately tell a story. Esteemed as “the modern girl’s Martha Stewart” by The New York Times, Calderone is renowned for her belief that beautiful food and thoughtful design are tools that can bring people together to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. And Calderone’s mission and revered taste has not gone unnoticed, with features in elevated lifestyle publications including Food & Wine, Vogue, Bon Appétit, and Architectural Digest

In 2011, Calderone created EyeSwoon—an online destination for creativity, inspired by Calderone’s passion for food, entertaining, design, and overall beauty—which has since garnered the attention of over 200,000 monthly subscribers and 600,000 followers on Instagram, who look to the content for inspiring décor, design, and dishes. Calderone has also published two books that serve as guides in using thoughtful home practices to transform your space: Cook Beautiful in 2017, which received a James Beard Award (the highest culinary honor), and Live Beautiful in 2020. This past year, she also began designing products, such as sculptural objects and rugs, in addition to interior spaces. And she launched her highly anticipated podcast, More Than One Thing, where she speaks with other tastemakers about their ever-evolving career paths.

While Calerdone is undoubtedly revolutionizing the creative industry, her career path surprisingly did not lead directly to design. In fact, it took her quite a bit of time to find her footing as she tried a range of jobs, including modeling, method acting, and working at some of New York’s most iconic nightlife spots. Tune in to the latest episode of Second Life to hear how Calderone was able to establish her voice and successfully portray her vision through food, imagery, and design to reveal life’s true beauties. 

Up next: Meet JJ Martin: The Brilliant Creator and Founder of Lifestyle Brand La DoubleJ