The former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue tells the story of her rise in the world of media and high fashion.
The child of a black mother and Irish Catholic father, Welteroth grew up in the largely white middle-class suburbs of Newark, California. She knew from childhood that she “wanted to be the boss.” Yet by the time the author reached puberty, her growing self-doubt began to fester. Though popular, she did not have the straight blonde hair—and more to the point, the whiteness—of girls who were the “Thing” among her peers. She also discovered that as a biracial girl, she did not have full “membership” among black students. Although she felt out of place and somehow never quite “good enough” or “worthy enough,” Welteroth eventually found the models who helped shape her path in college. The first was a young biracial female professor who encouraged the author to embrace her blackness. Internships with a Los Angeles entertainment PR firm and then a major New York advertising company followed. Ambition ignited, she courted the attention of Ebony creative director Harriette Cole and was rewarded with a job at the magazine, where she came into contact with powerful black women like Serena Williams and Michelle Obama. She then took a junior editorship at Glamour followed by positions at Ebony and then Teen Vogue. There, she caught the attention of Vogue editorial icon Anna Wintour, who helped promote her to Teen Vogue editor-in-chief. Under pressure to increase the magazine’s revenue, Welteroth came into awareness of her true mission: to celebrate diversity in a predominantly white fashion and media industry. The author’s impressive career trajectory makes for fascinating reading, but what makes the book especially worthwhile is its depiction of an emergent social and political consciousness so strong that it eventually led her to abandon corporate media for the “joy of dancing into [an unknown] future.”
An inspiring memoir by a dynamic groundbreaker.