Aya is a full time MBA student, but she is also a comic book artist, designer, and cosplayer. After getting her BFA in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design, she spent the next few years appearing on a PBS documentary show and touring movie and television sets as an extra and day player before settling in at a desk to work in advertising. She is now using her MBA to pivot back into product development at Adobe Innovation Labs. In her spare time, she can be found either in the ballet studio, hunched over Photoshop making memes, or on her couch playing Horizon: Forbidden West.
“Hot, fun, clever. Always makes the prettiest slide decks in class.”
“Do you want a life filled with creativity and laughter? Aya is the way to go! She can entertain you with incredible stories & experiences AND create an animation of your face.”
Aya! What an honor to have you as bachelorette in this issue! Let’s get right into it. What do you admire most about yourself?
Resilience. There were a few times both professionally and personally when I fell to rock bottom. To make it all the way here took a lot of hard work, pain, tears, endurance, and never losing sight of the come-up. It’s the one thing I’m truly proud of myself for.
That is an incredible strength. What is a weakness that you have?
I do the most. I often take on a lot of extracurricular activities because I want to try so many new skills or hobbies, and there are only so many hours in the day and days in the week. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by my workload, 99% of the time it was self-inflicted. But I am learning to manage it! Doing less, and spreading the things I want to do over a longer period of time helps.
That would also be a great answer for a job interview. Sternies, take note! Now, let’s make this more light. What’s the most fun thing you’ve done recently?
I started networking with local photographers and hair or makeup artists for photoshoots. I’m not a professional model by any means, but I do like being in front of the camera, and we’re creating these really cool and funky concepts. The next couple of collaborations I’m working on have a post apocalyptic warrior vibe, and, on the other side of the spectrum, a bright, colorful, candy-inspired shoot.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I have so many! And I’ve talked about some of them already. Having hobbies is kind of my thing. I’ve been drawing comic books since I was 11, so that’s something I identify with deeply even though I’ve been falling behind on my current project. I’ve been taking ballet classes as a hobby for about 5 years. I watch Premier League Soccer and Formula 1. I like learning languages. I speak French and German already, and my mom and I will start taking Spanish in the summer. I play video games a lot, and just set up my Twitch channel to start streaming once my schedule calms down a bit!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In New York, I hope! I’m at a point in my life where I’d like to see my projects have some longevity. Professionally, after graduation I’m working on an incubation project, and five years from now, it’ll be well into market and I’ll still have my hands in it. Personally, I’d like one of my creative passion projects to be more developed, whether it’s my comic series or my Twitch channel, I’d like some stuff to be done done.
How is Stern going to help you get there?
The professional part is obvious, and I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to find that. The number one thing that Stern can provide anyone really is the community, and having supportive friends and classmates that are so excited to read my comics or consume whatever creative media I create is really inspiring and motivating.
I’m about to throw a doozy question at ya. Why do you think you’re single?
I’m really flashy, and that’s often kind of intimidating to people. I fill the room when I enter, and the things that I do and am good at are not common, so they sound much more impressive and involved than they actually are. A lot of people are going to read this profile and think “Wow, she’s a lot! I’m looking for someone more low key,” but the people who know me well, know that day to day I’m actually one of the most relaxed and low maintenance friends you can have, really.
You can humblebrag to me til the cows come home. I’m here for it. What are you looking for in a partner?
The ideal partner would be my rest person. Obviously, it would be nice to have someone out here volunteering to be my partner when I audition for team-based game shows or do whatever crazy things, but the homebody introvert days that I spend recharging are so important to me, now more than ever. Having a partner who is solid, reliable, and supportive, that I can just relax and breathe with would be the best thing ever.
Do you have any fun stories of Sternies hitting on you?
Not that I wish to share with the class, that’s for sure.
HA. Can’t blame a girl for trying. What is your ideal date?
Sounds cliché, but something low key, relaxed, and intimate. A quiet corner booth in a cocktail bar, where we can just talk for hours. I love talking, and you learn a lot about someone by hearing them talk about the things they’re excited to discuss. On a first date especially, those are the nuggets that I really want. So any setting where we can get the wine and words flowing would be a good night for me.
Rapid fire time! Give me the first answer that comes to mind for the following questions!
Are you an optimist or realist?
Are you an explorer or homebody?
Either extreme on the spectrum, depending on the day.
iPhone or Android?
This question is juvenile. They both have their market fit for the needs of their user base.
A lot of us would disagree, but moving on. Dogs or cats?
I didn’t grow up with either, but I would at some point like a partner who has had a dog so I can get a dog and learn from someone who knows what they’re doing.
Would you rather be in your dream relationship or be in your dream job?
Dream job 100%.
Beach or city vacation?
Depends on the mood and time of year but cities tend to vary more so I would do a few cities in a row before returning to the beach.
Spend money on a dream home or travel the world?
We’re MBAs. We can afford both.
What an answer! Win the lottery or wake up super fit?
Fitness! Ballet is tough because I’m horribly inflexible and have weak ankles and low arches.
Please give us social media handles!
@ayasofaya on all social. I’m most active on Instagram, Snapchat, Playstation Network, and soon Twitch. Gotta keep your brand consistent, you know?