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Beauty Icon Mikki Taylor: My Time at ESSENCE Epitomized #BlackGirlMagic

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Photo Credit: Michael Rowe

Former beauty director and cover editor Mikki Taylor is ESSENCE. So she naturally had a lot to say when we asked about her favorite #BlackGirlMagic moments over the course of her 30 years at the magazine.

Taylor says it's the impact that she's been able to have that's meant the most to her. "The ability that I've had to impact the lives of Black women—that's a Black girl moment that I live every day," she says. "I remember shortly after I became beauty director in 1981, and I was very excited about the position. As I had started to cast models, [former ESSENCE editor] Susan L. Taylor said, 'Remember that that's why we reached out to you, and used you in the pages of Essence Magazine—because there were no brown girls. There were no chocolate girls out there at modeling agencies that looked like you.'"

From then on, Taylor was charged with reaching beyond modeling agencies to choose women who were beautiful, but not part of the status quo. With the power to pick Black women off the streets, Taylor says she was able to celebrate Black womanhood in all its glory.

"That was huge, and that was Black girl magic for me. To be able to have a say so about the magnificent truth of who we are. All shades, all shapes, all sizes, and call us beautiful," Taylor says.

When it comes to what she learned from her experience, Taylor has one unforgettable takeaway: "There's no use in having power if you don't use it, and you're not aware of it, and if you're afraid. There's no use in having power if you don't understand it, and you won't let others know that you have the courage to use it."

Now that's #BlackGirlMagic at its most powerful.