Since 1995, Jada Pinkett-Smith has been fearlessly tackling the covers of ESSENCE with style, grace, and the utmost confidence as only she could.
Between the year of her lead roles in both Jason’s Lyric and Set It Off, the Red Table Talk host has racked up a total of 11 covers since her January 1995 cover celebrating the 25th anniversary of ESSENCE. Pinkett-Smith has not only flown solo to demonstrate the embodiment of Black girl magic, but her ESSENCE covers have also included appearances with her husband Will Smith, daughter Willow Smith, mother Adrienne Banfield Norris, and Girls Trip co-stars Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, and Tiffany Haddish.
The NAACP Image Award-winning actress has done it all on our covers, from showcasing the nuances of Black love with an intimate shoot with her Academy Award-winning husband, to baring it all in a body confident cover shoot.
As we celebrate her fearlessness and triumph in the entertainment industry, here’s a look back at Jada Pinkett-Smith’s 11 ESSENCE covers.
Just before the premiere of ‘Set It Off’ in 1996, Jada Pinkett graced the cover of ESSENCE in a baby blue satin dress with her iconic blonde finger waved cut.
In a mustard yellow power suit, a young Jada Pinkett-Smith covered ESSENCE Magazine for the March 1998 issue, the same year that the actress starred in ‘Woo’ with Tommy Davidson.
For the 30th-anniversary Collector’s Edition, Jada Pinkett Smith was joined on the May 2000 ESSENCE magazine cover by Queen Latifah, Regina King, Vivica Fox, Loretta DeVine, Michael Michele, Halle Berry, and Elise Neal.
In an exclusive interview with Sistah Souljah, Pinkett Smith covered the June 2003 issue of ESSENCE with a fresh face and sweet smile.
“It’s hard to express our connection,” Jada Pinkett Smith says about her relationship with her husband Will Smith. “I can only say it was a freak thing that was meant to be. I knew he’d kill to protect me. But I also knew he’d do everything in his power to talk his way out of ever having to.” She sighs.
“Look. I need a man who can take me to the Ice Cube concert one night, and then parley with President Clinton the next. Brainiac, thug—it’s hard to find both in the same guy. But I’m that type of chick, so I need a guy who can deal in many different circles. I like all those aspects of Will.”
In a green satin corset-style dress, Jada Pinkett Smith blessed ESSENCE readers with a beautiful photo and tell-all interview about her “painful struggle” with self-love and how Will saved her life.
Gracing the cover with her husband Will Smith, Pinkett Smith covered the December 2008 issue of ESSENCE to discuss love and how to “create what you want in a relationship.”
Pinkett Smith was also granted her own solo cover for the December 2008 issue of ESSENCE.
““When I walked out there and disrobed, I felt like a queen,” said Pinkett Smith. I felt like the world was mine. Like there was this power just emanating from my person. Like there was nothing I couldn’t do.”
“When something speaks to you as brightly and as strongly as this particular issue speaks to me, you just put every resource that you have to move things forward. That’s what we do, we move fast. It’s the entertainment business. You have to move like a rocket. We’re talking about people’s lives,” Jada said in our September 2012 issue about Hollywood and then-circulating rumors about her marriage.
“Because of our history in this country and how we’ve been labeled, I think we, as Black women, tend to be a little hard on ourselves,” Pinkett-Smith told ESSENCE about letting go and having fun in the July 2017 issue.
“That feeling of always having to be on point has prevented us from being expansive in how we see ourselves and how we allow ourselves to be entertained, but I think we’re getting to a place where we’re afforded the opportunity to kind of cut loose and see all the wonderful colors of who we are,” she continued.
“Everybody has a place at the table because there’s not just one perspective,” Pinkett Smith says in our March 2019 cover story with daughter Willow and mother Adriene, titled Talk Is Chic. “That’s what makes the show awesome to me.”