With a New Memoir, Elaine Welteroth Reminds Us That We’re More Than Enough

Elaine Welteroth attends 10th Annual DVF Awards at Brooklyn Museum on April 11, 2019 in New York City.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images for DVF Awards)

She’s known as an arbiter of millennial cool-girl style, but as Elaine Welteroth told Refinery29, she started out just like the rest of us: “a hot mess.”

Specifically, she was speaking about the video application she prepared in a long-ago attempt to score an internship at Essence magazine. Notably, it featured “India.Arie replaying in the background. I was so extra,” Welteroth recalled. “That video is a hot mess.”

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Questionable video aside, she’d eventually score entry to Essence, which she calls “the magazine that raised me, that gave me examples of the kind of woman I could be.” And, in the years to follow, as editor at Teen Vogue, Welteroth would become the youngest and only second black editor-in-chief of a Conde Nast title; a red carpet regular; a judge on Project Runway; and now, a new memoirist. On Tuesday, she celebrated the release of her first book, More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say).

As Yara Shahidi writes of the new release:

Elaine gifts us all with a beautifully intimate and powerful retelling of her ever-unfolding journey. In sharing her joys, pitfalls, adventures, self-doubt, and successes, she reminds us that through uncovering and discovering the many facets of ourselves, we are more than enough.

To celebrate her latest achievement, Welteroth put together another video; this time telling her story with the help of several black ballerinas, Erykah Badu and the Brooklyn Library’s landmark hub as the backdrop. In a world too fond of telling black women and girls that we’re “extra,” Welteroth is reframing that narrative with a timely reminder that we’re More Than Enough.

The Glow Up tip: More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth is available in all formats at booksellers now.

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Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.