We were pretty shocked when we heard that Teen Vogue‘s beloved beauty and health director Eva Chen would be leaving the magazine. Not to mention curious as to who would take over what is probably considered by many to be the dream job of dream jobs. And we just found out!
Elaine Welteroth, who’s now finishing up at Glamour, where she was Senior Beauty Editor, will officially begin her new position as Teen Vogue’s new Beauty & Health director on October 15.
It’s exciting news not just for Teen Vogue, but also for Conde Nast, who, following Keija Minor‘s appointment as EIC of Brides, will see yet another African-American editor rise up the editorial ranks.
Despite probably being extremely busy, Welteroth was nice enough to chat with us about how she landed the ultimate dream job, what her new role will entail, the advice Eva Chen gave her, and her thoughts on diversity in the magazine industry.
Click through for our interview with someone we think is going to do a pretty fantastic job. (And yes, she will be doing lots of tweeting and Instagraming.)
Can you first talk a little bit about what your new role will entail and how it might be different from your position at Glamour?
I will be responsible for the direction of the beauty content in the magazine and online. Much like in my current role, my days will be filled with writing, editing, shooting, market work and, of course, lots of instagramming and tweeting. It’s a very creative job, naturally, but one of the differences between a senior beauty editor role and a director role is that it will require the business side of my brain as well.
How will you approach the readers differently?
It’s been fun switching gears to think like a teenage girl again–what she’s into beauty-wise, what she’s inspired by, what makes her feel good about herself and ultimately what she’s craving that she can’t get anywhere else. That’s what I’ll be thinking about incessantly in a couple of weeks. So, I’m super excited about events like Teen Vogue University’s editor panel on the 20th, because it puts you face to face with the reader. I think teens come to get inspired, but I’m positive I’ll be the one walking away completely inspired by them.
You’re about to start a lot of people’s dream jobs. How does one land such an amazing job? Why did you decide to take it?
It’s all about preparation meeting the opportunity at the right time. I couldn’t step into this role with the confidence I have if I hadn’t been the intern slugging away or the editor who had to pull a ton of late nights. My mentor always said: “work like you’re making millions, even if you’re making pennies.” It’s worth it when you love it. And I had the chance to learn from some really talented people who have taught me a lot. So, this next step is sort of the culmination of a lot of work, great mentorship, and perfect timing. It’s an incredible opportunity, so saying yes was a no-brainer.
Did you always want to be a beauty editor?
Not necessarily. I knew I loved to write, I loved magazines, I loved interviewing people, and I have always had a knack for beauty and style. I think I was lucky enough to find a career that ties up all of those things that I’d do for free into a real job and a real paycheck.
You’re also filling some pretty big shoes. Did you talk to Eva Chen at all about the position beforehand? Did she give you any advice?
I sure am. Eva is incredible! I couldn’t be following up a better act. We’ve definitely spoken about the role—she’s been incredibly supportive through and through. As far as advice, she’s said to find my own formula for balancing it all. She encouraged me to say yes to the dinners and the galas and the important industry events even when it means making up the time at the office later—but to make time for pilates, too! She’s also told me that Amy Astley is one of the best editors to work for in the industry.
Your appointment comes at an exciting time as Keija Minor recently became Condé Nast’s first black EIC. She mentioned that she’s noticed more people of color moving up the ranks in publishing. Is that something you’ve noticed? Do you think there needs to be more diversity in the industry?
The Brides announcement has been really inspiring for a lot of people, including me. I’m so thrilled for Keija! I think the goal should always be to find the right person for the job, and skin color should never be a barrier to that. We live in a multi-cultural world, so embracing diversity is important in every industry. As it related to publishing, I think magazines really benefit from having a staff with a range of different perspectives and cultural references so that any reader can feel like there is someone on the masthead they can relate to, someone they can trust to speak up for them. It’s great to see that idea being embraced more and more.