How I Podcast: In conversation with Athena Calderone
We’re talking with podcasters from all walks of life about their creative process, best practices, and why audio is one of the coolest ways to tell a story.
For Athena Calderone — author, interior designer, chef, entertaining expert, and creator of award-winning lifestyle platform EyeSwoon — podcasting is an opportunity to expand her creative repertoire and arsenal of skills, while candidly speaking about the ups and downs that come along with pursuing a nonlinear creative path.
On her new podcast, More Than One Thing, Athena refers to herself and her guests as multi-hyphenates — a loving term for people who opt for many careers and creative endeavors, instead of just one aspiration. Each episode, she interviews a rotating guest who has dedicated their life to multiple disciplines, including DJ-wellness expert-media personality Hannah Bronfman, fashion designer-business exec Jenna Lyons, and more. Athena’s podcast lifts the curtain on people who have made a living off of varied talents and interests, and it zooms in on those pivotal moments when something that might traditionally seem like a step back, is really a step forward.
Podcasting can be a personal medium, and Athena understands that in order to relate to listeners, she has to be vulnerable. In the first episode of her show, she takes a bold approach and turns the mic toward herself. She asks her best friend, producer, and art buyer Tali Magal, to interview her about her own career journey. Athena’s heartfelt answers set the tone for the episodes to come — illustrating the winding path of following one’s passion and purpose.
By delving into the pasts of accomplished creatives, More Than One Thing provides a framework for artists and workers who are still figuring things out. Athena offers the affirming advice that she wished she had when she was younger, and her conversations serve as reassurance that when you follow your creative intuition, incredible things can happen.
We talked with Athena about her podcasting process and what she’s learned along the way.
What motivated you to start More Than One Thing?
I want to make it ok for people, like myself, who have felt broken or shameful for doing many, many things and not following a linear path. I created More Than One Thing to share the honest stories of our roadblocks and how we navigate through them, in the hopes that it will incite creative journeys in others. It is our duty, when we break the mold, to reveal how we got here. The twists, turns, and the good and the bad. Getting lost was an essential part of the journey.
What went into planning your show?
Well first I needed to define what I wanted to say, hone in on the questions I wanted to ask, and figure out how I wanted to share the narrative. I knew I wanted to find people to feature who were willing to pull back the curtain on their successful careers whose journeys appear seemingly perfect. Because, they are not. No one, if they are being truthful, has it all figured out. I wanted to highlight those multi-hyphenates who are open enough to share their grit. To reveal how each guest broke societal norms, found a way to climb outside that perfectly packaged box of expectations and found success in not just one thing, but many. I ask each guest to outline the many facets and hyphens in their career and personal journeys. I also ask them to share one major hurdle that they had to navigate and then the catalyst that allowed them to finally embrace who they were.
What was the strategy behind your podcast launch?
I have been capturing video and photography with each guest and teasing on my Instagram along with compelling quotes — always with swipe up links for guests to listen.
How do you promote your show now that it’s out in the world?
What’s some podcasting advice that you wish you knew before you started?
The best advice I received is to ask your guests to get granular when discussing something that the audience may not understand. A few times in early episodes my gut was to ask a question to elaborate on an answer but then all too quickly, the conversation shifted in another direction. I think it is my job to guide the conversation as though everyone listing has zero idea what this person does. I am certainly learning how to conduct a great interview!
How do you podcast? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re looking for more tips, check out the previous edition of How I Podcast, and if you want to start your own, try making something awesome with Anchor.