What is #BlackGirlMagic exactly? Well, you just might find Lindsay Peoples Wagner's photo next to the definition. The world wide web describes Black Girl Magic as a concept and movement popularized by CaShawn Thompson in 2013. It was designed to "celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of Black women", as described by Julee Wilson from the Huffington Post – essentially it is all about congratulating Black women on their accomplishments.
So, of course, when I heard that Lindsay Peoples Wagner, former Fashion Market Editor at The Cut, was named the new Editor-In-Chief at Teen Vogue, I just had to learn more about this young mogul. In many realms, she is known for using her voice to change the beauty and fashion world. From her countless interviews on the truth of being Black and working in fashion to her keeping it more than 100 when calling out photographers and platforms for making thin white women the nucleus of street style, Lindsay simply says what we are all thinking but can't always find the words to say.
When we asked her what it means to be a Black woman navigating through a predominantly white space, she countered confidently, "For me, I think it means just being my unapologetic self."
In this exclusive interview with xoNecole, Lindsay talks about her goals as EIC at Teen Vogue, what self-care looks like for her, and how she has consistently created space for her redefined lens of beauty and fashion.
xoNecole: You started in the fashion closet of Teen Vogue years ago. Did you ever in a million years think you would be the Editor-In-Chief of a giant glossy brand like Teen Vogue?
Lindsay Peoples Wagner: No, honestly I never thought it would happen but I'm so grateful that I am! I am really passionate about what I do, and I'm looking forward to using this platform to further conversations on inclusivity, diversity, and the future of fashion.
What are three things you believe are a part of the recipe for success?
Hard work, decisiveness, and a hunger for excellence in anything you do.
Fashion icon Anna Wintour said you are a gifted talent who can equally inspire and challenge audiences. How did this make you feel?
I felt incredibly honored, and just eager to do the work.
What does self-care look like for Lindsay?
On the weekends, I'm usually very quiet on social media because I just need to not be scrolling so much. I like go to museums, read the paper, draw out random ideas, and catch up with my family back home in Wisconsin.
You are widely known for creating space in relation to fashion and beauty but you aren't afraid to take it on through the lens of culture, race, and politics. How did you come to be interested in these large topics?
I was always interested in fashion and beauty, but I think as a Black woman it just took time for me to really develop the lens in which I talk about those things. I've had a lot of conversations with mentors over the past couple years about who I want to be when I 'grow up', and I realized there were bits and pieces of a lot of different people and career paths that I wanted to mold into one, even if it didn't exist already.
What are some of your goals in your new role as EIC?
Teen Vogue has really built up a space in the community to talk about relevant issues in politics and culture, so I'm excited to continue to do that and just elevate the content even higher.
There's a new narrative that "Fashion is changing," do you believe this? Please explain.
I think it's possible for any industry to change--as long as those who have a seat at the table are using it to push the culture forward.
Can you share some challenges you have faced on your journey? What got you through those moments?
It's no secret that a lot of people in creative industries come from privileged backgrounds--whether it be economic or just having connections to get a job, it really does change the trajectory of your career. Fashion doesn't have a timeline--it's not like going to medical school and being broke for a while but once you leave and start working, you start making a lot of money, so it doesn't matter that you've accumulated a lot of student loan and credit card debt. So while I was working at Teen Vogue as an assistant, I also changed mannequins at DKNY after work, and I worked the brunch shift on the weekends at a Jewish restaurant to make ends meet. And even after that job, I always had multiple freelance jobs on the side, which was incredibly challenging to juggle but it was worth it.
"It's possible for any industry to change--as long as those who have a seat at the table are using it to push the culture forward."
What advice would you give to young women vying for a seat at the table or looking to land a similar position?
Stay true to who you are and push yourself to do the work. A lot of people have great ideas, but few put in the time and effort to make them come to life.
Keep up with Lindsay by giving her a follow on Instagram.
I don't know about you but I can't wait to see how this gem continues to change the world. With her responsibilities of overseeing content in forms of video, digital, social plus events including the Teen Vogue Summit, we are in for something spectacular.
Especially the 2018 Teen Vogue Summit, which took place in Los Angeles on November 30 and December 1. The new Teen Vogue EIC will be there leading several sessions. The lineup included heavyweights like Serena Williams, Cara Delevingne, Storm Reid, Eva Longoria, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Terry Crews, Kiersey Clemons, Arlan Hamilton, Noor Tagouri, among others.
Lindsay Peoples Wagner, thank you for your light. We are all rooting for you.
Featured image by lev radin / Shutterstock.com