Cori Murray is a veteran and a force to be reckoned with in the media world. After joining the ESSENCE family as an assistant health editor in 1999 under editor-in-chief Susan L. Taylor, and soon after Monique Greenwood, she’s worn several hats.
Now, as the publication’s Entertainment Director and co-host of the Webby nominated Yes, Girl! podcast, she’s someone that celebs and influencers keep on their speed dial. And with 20 years under her belt in this world of red carpets, A-list events, tea spilling and champagne-sipping, she’s never lost her focus.
“When I started, Susan Taylor would start large edit meetings reminding us of our editorial purpose: to uplift Black women because they were in crisis,” she says.
“Sometimes hearing that was jarring but over the years, I see why we needed that reminder because it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of having a job in media. As much as we’ve celebrated our wins and our beauty, the heart of what we do for the Black community is to be a source for change, healing and affirmation.”
And this is exactly why Cori embodies the true essence of leadership. So to celebrate her wins, and her recent 20th anniversary with ESSENCE, we’re sharing 20 beauty questions with Cori Murray. You’re welcome.
1. What is your go-to lipstick color and brand?
MAC’s Ruby Woo.
2. What is your favorite beauty/body feature to accentuate?
If I’ve been working out so I love to show off my arms, and neckline.
3. Do you know the difference between 4A and 4C hair?
No I don’t and I don’t care to know.
4. When did you first start discovering your go-to beauty look?
When I started doing more TV appearances. If I didn’t have a MUA, I became pretty good doing my own make up and discovering what worked on me: dark eyeliner, gold shadow and my Ruby Woo.
5. At what age do you think girls should be able to start wearing makeup?
Before I had my daughter I would say 16, but now that I’m a mother, I’d say no make up until prom night.
6. What’s one of the most important things your mother taught you about your beauty?
Always have on lipstick because you never know who you’ll meet.
7. What’s one beauty trend that’s gone out of style but you’ll never give it up?
Dark lip liner and gold lip gloss. It was very mid 90s, but I still love it.
8. Eyebrows, thin or thick?
In between. I’ve had an eyebrow scar for as long as I can remember so my eyebrows have always had one look. Since I discovered threading, which I’ve done for about 15 years, I only ask for a clean up.
9. What’s one beauty trend that you wish would go out of style or never come back?
Razor thin eye brows.
10. Who’s your celebrity beauty crush?
Beyoncé. Seems obvious because the world idolizes her. Her beauty is very simple because she’ never in a ton of makeup. Also when she laughs, she lights up even more.
11. Name one celebrity that was more stunning than you could have imagined when you met her?
I hope he doesn’t take this the wrong way but Larenz Tate. He’s not really stunning, but I’ve been watching this man since Menace II Society and he looks exactly the same. THE SAME. Every time I see him in person, I’m always shocked how good he looks.
12.What’s your beauty “thing?”
Hair. I can go years without a facial but my hair needs regular attention.
13. When day is your wash day and how long is the process?
Sundays. My process is greatly shortened since I’ve been wearing my sides shaved. Wash to twisting could take less than an hour.
14. What’s still your beauty woe?
After pregnancy, I developed eczema on my face. It’s not so severe but it’s there and I know I must use serums day and night to keep it under control.
15. What’s one beauty application that you still can’t master?
Applying eye liner to my left eye. On my right, I’m like Pat McGrath! But that left one is always a struggle.
16. Why is representation in the beauty industry so important from your perspective?
Working for 20 years at ESSENCE has taught me one valuable lesson: Black women want to be seen. When you look around at billboards, magazine covers, TV and movie posters, the number of Black women staring back at you can feel dismal. But when you see someone looking like you, with your skin tone and hair texture, smiling back at you in a subway ad, it puts a little pep in your step.
17. What’s your favorite brand for skincare? Hair care?
I’ve tried all kinds of skincare, but recently I was really impressed with Drunk Elephant. For hair, with my blonde highlights I really rely on color-treated products only like Redken. I do love Curls leave in conditioner for wash-n-go looks.
18. If you were stranded on a desert island, what beauty device would you have to have?
One that vibrates (winks). But also some lip balm because I hate chapped lips.
19. Finish this statement. When it comes to beauty and fitness…
I find drinking lots of water can keep my skin clearer than any fancy serum, and although I’m not losing pounds when I work out, the ego boost that I get something goes a long way.
20. What do you think it the most important thing for women to do on self-care Sundays?
Spend some time reminding yourself what you love about you.