Elaine Welteroth is just 32 years old, but she’s already done more than a couple of people would do in a lifetime. Since her birth in Newark, California, she had a pretty normal childhood competing in track and field and graduating from California State University-Sacramento with a major in mass communications/media studies plus a minor in journalism.
Some might have thought that her first job didn’t show much promise. Wearing a bird suit, she was the mascot for “Hometown Buffet.” How wrong they were.
Elaine then fast-tracked her career plan by becoming a Multicultural Advertising Intern at Ogilvy and Mather, a content producer for SomaGirl.TV and becoming an unpaid intern at Ebony magazine.
Following some advice — “Bite off more than you can chew. And then chew as fast as you can” — she pursued Ebony editor-in-chief Harriette Cole with a letter asking for an informational interview, emails and calls to Harriette’s assistant. Cole was impressed with not only her persistence but her first assignment — assisting with a cover shot of Serena Williams. Elaine ended up being Cole’s assistant and eventually earning “a permanent position as the magazine’s Beauty and Style Editor from 2008 to 2011.”
It was in 2011 that Elaine hopped over to Conde Naste to become Glamour’s beauty and style editor and eventually the senior beauty editor.
When she debuted as beauty and health director at Teen Vogue in 2012, her first article — “Natural Wonder — “encouraged readers to embrace their natural hair texture while also sharing her favorite natural hair products.”
Just four years later, Elaine was editor of Teen Vogue and on April 29, 2017, she was named Teen Vogue’s editor-in-chief. Under her leadership, Teen Vogue expanded its content to cover subject matter including politics and social injustice.
Elaine’s going against the traditional media earned her praise from feminist writer Lara Witt, who penned “Vogue Magazine Has a Race Problem, and It’s Getting Tired.” To quote Witt, “Rather than participating in the blatant erasure of people of color and our cultures, Vogue’s younger sibling has included features celebrating indigenous, South Asian, East Asian, black and Muslim teens. Thanks to their radical push to be unafraid to represent more than just white, heterosexual, cisgender women, Teen Vogue is providing more readers with representation.”
In her spare time, Elaine had the time to write the bestseller, “More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) and ventured into all the worlds of social media.
According to TWF CEO/President Roslyn Dawson Thompson, “We are so excited to welcome Elaine Welteroth, who has risen through the ranks and broken glass ceilings in fashion and media, often infusing a social conscience in the conversation. A trailblazer, she is a passionate advocate for telling women that they are more than enough.” Ros added, “She will inspire us with her stories to what we anticipate will be a sold-out event. The support we garner through this 34th Annual Luncheon will further drive the momentum around our expansion and impact as Texas Women’s Foundation.”
Event Co-Chairs Janiece Evans-Page and Virginia Rose-Harris reported that Elaine will address an estimated 1,500 guests on Thursday, November 14, at the Hilton Anatole, with proceeds supporting TWF’s “work to advance women’s economic security, leadership, education, health and safety in Texas through research, advocacy, programs and grandmaking.”
* Photo provided by Texas Women's Foundation ** Photo credit: Goldenlight Creative