By Emily Weaver and Chandra Turner
We’d like to take a quick moment to interrupt the reckoning happening in media to share some of the young talent that is shaping editorial and moving our industry forward. This list highlights a handful of Black women whose strong voices, leadership, and talent are not only influencing how a new generation of editors will build content and connect with readers, but also how the industry itself should be represented.
Editor’s Note: We chose to only highlight fashion and beauty editors this time, but we would like to expand to other content specialists in future lists. Tell us who YOU think should be on our watch list in other areas of editorial. And if we missed anyone we should have featured on this one!
“I struggled so much as a young girl in Ohio getting connections in the industry. It was literally impossible. There’s so much talent we’re missing out on when we forget about those women who don’t work in major global cities.” — Nana Agyemang on Vogue.com
Her day job may be as Social Media Editor at New York Magazine’s The Cut, but Nana Agyemang is way more than your average social media manager. A fashion influencer in her own right, she is also the founder of EveryStylishGirl, a networking and job connection website for Black and Brown women in media. The group is most known for its annual Sip N’ Slay conferences in cities across the country (and virtually) that provide career advancement, support, and inspiration to women of color in media. This year Nana launched a global directory of her community of social media editors, writers, and stylists and offers subscriptions for hiring managers to tap them.
Before The Cut, Nana worked at Refinery29, Elle, the New York Times, and BBC.
Photo: Nana Agyemang, Instagram
“I’d like to think that if I continue to make these changes and continue to implement these things, and show black girls with cornrows and Afros on covers, that maybe she would feel more included than I did,” she said. “That, to me, is success.” — Lindsay People Wagner in the New York Times
Chances are you already know Lindsay Peoples Wagner as her influence on the editorial world is already well established. As the EIC of Teen Vogue since 2018 — and, ahem, the youngest chief editor at Condé Nast — Lindsay was speaking up for her Black and Brown colleagues in fashion media long before the national reckoning that is happening now. Last year during fall NYFW she created Generation Next to highlight diverse sets of designers. Her eye-opening story What it’s Really Like to be Black and Work in Fashion for the New York Times surveyed more than 100 Black talent in the fashion world — highlighting the systemic racism that permeates the industry. This spring, Lindsay launched the Black in Fashion Council with her friend and communications guru Sandrine Charles. The organization is committed to represent and secure the advancement of Black talent in the fashion and beauty industry.
Before Teen Vogue, Lindsay was an editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, Style.com, and New York magazine.
Note: This post was published before Lindsay became EIC of New York Magazine’s The Cut.
“It’s all about swag. You could be wearing head to toe designer. Or you can be wearing something from the Dollar Store, Target, or Amazon and you can make it look so super swaggy. [Living in New York] has shown me that it’s more important to invest in personal style than big fashion pieces.” — Jamé Jackson on You Tube.
Jamé Jackson is a style and beauty journalist, editor, and founder of The Blonde Misfit, an award-winning website she launched in 2015 for marginalized communities, because “I never felt like fashion belonged to me.” She is no longer an outlier — The Blond Misfit is now among the world’s top 100 beauty and fashion sites and Jamé has expanded her inclusive and inspiring message to a popular YouTube channel and podcast. Not surprisingly, in 2016, Google named this Washington-D.C. native one of their “Women to Watch.”
Jamé’s day job is Senior Beauty Editor at Verizon Media; her work has also appeared on FashionBombDaily, Refinery29, YahooBeauty, Teen Vogue, Fashionista, and Ed2010.
Photo: Jamé Jackson, Instagram
“…What does the fashion world need to be hearing? And what do I have to say that can fill those voids?’ I think based on who I am and where our industry was going, in terms of the images we were looking at, representation became super important to me, and I figured out that it wasn’t just types of people who weren’t being photographed, it was that certain stories weren’t being told.” — Gabriella Karefa-Johnson on Fashionista
Growing up in SoCal, Teen Vogue and Style.com were Gabriella’s guide to the world of fashion and styling. Today, she’s the Fashion Director of Vice’s Garage, where she has used her passion for fashion storytelling to celebrate women’s experiences, especially women of color as exemplified in ground-breaking features like Black Cotillion or The Cowboy Who Fell to the Earth. Gabriella credits her work ethic to her time spent under Tonne Goodman’s at Vogue: “I learned all about using the tools in your arsenal to create a language that’s identifiable for you, but also speaks for a wider group of people,” she told Fashionista.
Prior to Garage, Gabrielle worked at WWD, Elle, Vogue, and Wonderland.
Photo: Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Instagram
“As a darker-skinned, black, plus-size woman living in western society, I’d grown up seeing bodies like mine marginalised, insulted, fetishised and demonised. My body — and body shapes similar to mine — had never been in fashion. I grew up being told via the media and the entertainment industry that to be white and thin was to be ‘in.’” — Stephanie Yeboah in British Vogue.
Stephy Yeboah is a plus-size blogger and fashion influencer—two titles that don’t often go together. But that’s the core of why this British writer and soon-to-be author is so insanely popular. Through her award-winning Instagram channel and blog, Stephy preaches her message of body confidence and self love through gorgeous style inspiration, straight talk, and real-life advice to her legions of online fans. Her much-anticipated first book, Fattily Ever After: A Black Fat Girl’s Guide to Living Life Unapologetically, comes out this September.
Stephy’s work on the Black Lives Matter movement, body positivity, and Black culture has appeared in British Vogue, British GQ, The Guardian, Refinery29 UK, Elle UK, and Bustle.
Photo: Stephanie Yeboah, Instagram
“It’s not about you hiring [plus-size model] Ashley Graham or a Black girl or a Southeast Asian girl and paying her day rate, so that you have a photo to “prove” your commitment to diversity. It’s about who you employ day-to-day so that you don’t take advantage of any community.” — Danielle (left) on Argosandartemis.com
“I feel like fashion right now is trying to move towards just being diverse in general, but sometimes it does feel like checking a box. Like, we have our normal-size girl, we have our plus-size girl, we have our black girls, we have our Asian girls, we have our Hispanic girls. And that doesn’t feel as natural.” — Gabby (right) on Argosandartemis.com
Growing up in New York, sisters and best friends Danielle and Gabby Prescod dreamed of working in creative careers. Now as BET’s Style Director and Bustle’s Senior Fashion Market Editor, respectively, the Instagram fashion influencers (Danielle has 69K followers; Gabby, 9K), that dream is coming true.
Danielle, two years older and self-described over-achiever, was first on the scene, getting her start at Nylon as an 18-year-old intern; she went on to land editorial positions at Interview, Teen Vogue, and Elle. In 2016, Danielle was hired by BET to breathe new life into the brand’s lifestyle division where she now leads a small team covering fashion, beauty, and lifestyle for the megabrand.
Gabby quickly followed, cutting her teeth at Interview and CR Fashion Book. She now heads up the style coverage at Bustle and in non-pandemic times joins her sister at fashion shows, product launches and on their joint Instagram.
Already having a brush with burnout, Danielle uses her influence to promote finding a healthy balance between career and personal life: “Your job is not who you are, it is what you do. Do not conflate the two and lose yourself. … Do the absolute best you can, and be proud of the work you do, but if it is not a perfect situation, find something outside of work that you can be hugely passionate and excited about and use your paycheck to fund that. Don’t be in a rush just because there is a Forbes list you aren’t on. It will all come together in the end.”
Don’t miss the sisters’ joint account on Instagram.
Photo: Gabby and Danielle Prescod, Instagram.
Editor’s Note: We KNOW that we are overlooking tons of other amazing young women making their mark in fashion and beauty editorial. Please tell us about them and we can feature them on future lists, or update this one.
Emily Weaver is a freelance writer and POPSUGAR contributor where she writes about all the things ranging from entertainment and relationships to home and living and women’s health. She graduated from the University of Iowa where she studied Journalism & Mass Communication and Sport Studies. Her writing has been featured on Grandstand Central, Spoon University, Iowa Journalist and more. Follow her: Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn
Chandra Turner is founder and CEO of Ed2010 and Talent Fairy. She is a talent recruiter specializing in the content and media space. She also offers personalized career coaching for media professionals at all stages of their career.
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