Skip to main content
headshot of Aria Vega

Aria Vega

New Voice '21

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a journalist and podcast producer based in Atlanta. My work primarily explores how sexuality and relationships are depicted in entertainment, and how that shapes our experiences. I was initially trained as a sex educator, and started writing about that knowledge for a personal blog. Once I realized I could tell more stories than just my own, I started picking up reporting skills, and, gratefully, they’ve led me here.

A piece of yours or project (in any medium) that you'd like to share.

I’m really proud of this article I wrote recently about the secretly censorious nature of the Motion Picture Association of America. For decades, the MPAA has used the ratings system to derail the distribution of films that depict sexuality, especially if they center the pleasure of people who are female, queer, and/or trans. It hits all of my journalistic sweet spots: sex, history, pop culture, and social justice.

What draws you to storytelling?

Storytelling is this ancient human impulse that I think of as the thread in our social fabric. Stories help us make sense of who we are, individually and collectively, so that we can create and pass down culture. It’s my bottomless curiosity about the human experience that draws me to storytelling, and my stubbornly optimistic sense that it can shift us all into a more harmonious frequency.

What excites you the most about being a New Voices Scholar?

Having such direct access to other audio creators, emerging and established, is just incredible. Audio can be such a solitary craft, which is part of what I love about it, but it’s also important to me to feel like part of something collective. The sense of community offered by this program has made me feel so hopeful about my ability to grow a sustainable career, in part because I can witness others growing and thriving in the field.

What’s playing on your radio/audio streaming service right now?

I’ve really been enjoying Labyrinths, from exoneree Amanda Knox and her partner Christopher Robinson. Surviving an ordeal like Amanda’s would, understandably, make a lot of people hide from the public forever. But instead, Amanda meets the world with an unfathomable degree of courage by sharing stories about other extraordinary life experiences, in her own life and in those of others. It’s moving to see her reclaim her power by broadcasting her voice, after having been silenced for so many years. Plus, her candor and unique perspective make for fascinating interviews.

What’s the most underrated tool (technical or not) that you use in your creative process?

I’ve always found that analog writing tools can most easily unlock my creativity. My best ideas come to me when I’m sitting outside with my notebook and staring at trees, phone far away. My inspiration knows when I’m distracted, and waits patiently until I’m not.

What is something you want to see more of in the industry?

I’d like to see more programs like this, which cater specifically to emerging talent. In other forms of media, it seems like you’re expected to come into entry-level positions with years of experience and connections to prestigious outlets, which, of course, just keeps power and wealth concentrated where it already is. Audio seems anxious to disrupt this pattern, and I’m very much cheering it on.

Who/What are your radio/audio inspirations and why?

Anna Sale, host of the podcast Death, Sex, and Money, is probably my biggest influence. Her show explores life experiences that are terribly taboo, and Anna navigates these topics and the challenging emotions they bring up with so much grace. She does occasionally hit a nerve, but the fact that those moments make it into the final cut says so much about her willingness to wade through discomfort in order to forge deeper connections. There’s a fearlessness about Anna that I seek to emulate.