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Teen Vogue Summit 2023 is in full swing, and this year, it's extra special. The publication is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and what better way to honor that than a trip down memory lane? Today, current editor in chief Versha Sharma sat down with former editor in chief Elaine Welteroth to chat all things Teen Vogue throughout the years.
In 2016, Welteroth became the youngest person to helm Teen Vogue, and took a prominent role in advocating for youth involvement in political and social issues. Now, Teen Vogue is led by Sharma, the first South Asian editor in chief. The dynamic duo discussed navigating the post-2016 changing media landscape, especially as women of color.
Welteroth talked about studying social media to guide her leadership, deciding to branch out into politics, wellness, and more. The political scene during her time as editor in chief, she said, was the worst of times, which informed the brand's direction at the time. But the current climate, she noted, has been just as difficult.
Sharma said that her approach to creating editorial content at this time is based on the readers and the issues they have been fighting for. She also talked about her endeavors to further diversify magazine covers, build awareness on social issues, and highlight intersectionality, as exemplified by one of Sharma's first acts as editor in chief.
In conversation with Welteroth, Sharma reflected on making a statement at the 2021 Met Gala with a clutch that read, “Protect Roe.” Said Sharma, "Fashion is political. Art is political."
The editors also discussed the day's theme: “Dream your future,” including the significance of dreaming big, imposter syndrome, and ultimately, being “that girl.” Welteroth revealed that she felt she had “big shoes to fill” following Eva Chen as beauty director and felt the need to assimilate. With time, though, she naturally fell into her roles at Teen Vogue.
Sharma recalled watching Welteroth in action as editor in chief, never thinking that she would one day take on the same role. Welteroth then encouraged the audience to journal, find a mantra, and focus on building a purpose rather than a title.
This was just one of many exciting panels at Teen Vogue Summit 2023, and fortunately, there are plenty more. If you're not able to attend in person, don't worry — we've got you covered. You can livestream the event and keep refreshing teenvogue.com for more live updates.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue
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