When it comes to celebrating all things Black and stylish, ESSENCE has been a pioneer. Despite the unique challenges Black creatives face, our fashion teams have crafted sumptuous spreads that honor our beauty and magic while inspiring the masses.

Throughout our 50 years, ESSENCE has been unapologetic in our celebration of Black talent, staying true to our legacy of serving Black women. To commemorate our golden anniversary, we invite you to journey with us into the past as our former fashion editors share the inside scoop on some of their fave looks.


Beauty and Style Director, 2014-2016
“Spirited Away,” August 2015

“We actually shot ten fashion and beauty stories during that trip to Africa, including a cover with Erykah Badu. We did the first fashion shoot in the Serengeti, and we had Maasai warriors protecting the perimeter of the shoot with their spears. Baboons opened the sliding doors into hair and makeup’s hotel room. They took down the entire makeup table and then peed in the team’s shoes in the closet.”


Fashion Editor, 2015-2018
“The Drama of Spring,” March 2017

“I loved styling and shooting Ebonee Davis because she was fresh and it was exciting. The mansion we shot in was said to be haunted. I believed it.”

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Fashion Director, 1999-2004
“The Fall Lineup,” September 2002

“While shooting the ladies of Girlfriends, we learned that Persia White was opposed to wearing leather. There was a mad scramble to find vegan accessories. We ditched the leather gloves and created accessories from socks, leg warmers and grosgrain ribbon à la Saint Laurent.”


Fashion Director, 2006-2009
“Island Spice,” June 2007

“Being back in Rihanna’s homeland helped make this shoot special. We had the pleasure of meeting her mom, baby brother and uncle, and we even set up dance and pool scenes with her gal pals.”


Fashion Editor, 1991-1995
“Soul in Ice,” April 1995

“Working with photographer Ruven Afanador was a dream. We had an ice sculpture made and placed on the beach in Bermuda. Our model, Lois Samuels, was to pose next to the sculpture. It was so hot outside that it melted within minutes.”