Elaine Welteroth is a superstar journalist, editor, author, and graduate of the university where I work! We are incredibly proud that she is our alumna.
Elaine was born in Newark, California, but grew up in Fremont. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 2007 with a degree in mass communications and a minor in journalism. After graduation, she worked as an intern with Ogilvy & Mather. She entered the magazine industry through an unpaid internship (UNPAID INTERNSHIPS SHOULD NOT BE LEGAL) with Ebony magazine. Elaine secured the internship by tenaciously contacting the Editor in Chief, Harriette Cole. She was given the chance to assist with a cover shoot for Serena Williams (CAN YOU IMAGINE).
Elaine made such an impression on Harriette Cole, that she flew her out to serve as her intern. Elaine quickly moved up to be her assistant. Her next step up was as the Beauty & Style Editor from 2008 to 2011. This all happened in like a year because Elaine is a STAR.
In September 2011, Elaine was hired by Glamour as their Beauty & Style Editor and was quickly promoted to Senior Beauty Editor. In October 2012, Elaine became the first African American woman to hold the position of Beauty & Health Director at Teen Vogue. Her first article for Teen Vogue encouraged readers to embrace their natural hair texture. She is a glorious looking woman.
In 2016, she was named editor of Teen Vogue. Elaine was the youngest person to be named editor (she was only 29!!) in Condé Nast history. She was only the second person of African-American heritage to hold that title in their entire portfolio and in 107 years of existence. Under her tutelage, the magazine has expanded focus and increased their political and social justice content. She chose rising stars Rowan Blanchard and Yara Shahidi to serve as the first-ever guest editors for the publication. She established the “Teen Vogue Book Club” that featured Their Eyes Were Watching God as the first selection. In December 2016, she featured an interview by Zendaya Coleman of Michelle Obama on the education of girls around the world.
Elaine has pushed the magazine toward increased digital content and has decreased the printing of magazines. Since the 2016 election, I have become a regular reader of Teen Vogue thanks to their content shift. I love how they have balanced serious political coverage with information about fashion, self-image, sex, and health. Unlike their sister publication Vogue, Teen Vogue has blossomed into something truly representational and modern under Elaine’s leadership.
This year, Elaine published her first book, More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are. I can’t wait to read it!!
In her personal life, Elaine is engaged to Jonathan Singletary. They met as children at church and that if that is not just the cutest damn thing ever then I don’t know what is. LOOK AT THEM.
Please note that Elaine is only 32. She is doing ALL OF THIS at only 32!! I wish her many more decades of trailblazing and industry disruption.
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