Just in time for the New Year’s inspiration we needed, ESSENCE editor in chief, Vanessa K. De Luca stopped by the Yes, Girl podcast for the last show of 2017.
Leading the helm for five years, De Luca touched on everything from her unconventional journey into journalism to the importance of Black voices and what it’s like working at the 47-year-old publication.
“I was a career changer,” she said about starting out in magazines at age 30. “I started at NYU Publishing Institute. I did that program for the job fair, to get a foot in the door. And it actually worked out that I ended up getting an editorial assistant job at Glamour magazine.”
Throughout her journalism career, she never took her eye off the ultimate goal of working at ESSENCE.
“I’ve always loved ESSENCE magazine, even since I was a kid,” De Luca confessed. “I would frame Susan L. Taylor’s ‘In The Spirit’ column and put it on my wall. I would say, ‘It would be so amazing if I could work there one day.’ Never realizing it would come to pass.”
Adding, “It just proves that what is for you, is for you. And nothing and no one can keep you from it. You have to believe that. I always believed I would find my way to ESSENCE. I took everything I learned and applied it to a brand that supports our community.”
Over the past 15 years at ESSENCE, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism alum has been behind the magazine’s coverage of Black Lives Matter, social injustice cases, women’s right issues and so many more pertinent topics. More than anything, De Luca says her goal is to create a platform for Black women to share their stories.
“It’s everything right now,” DeLuca said about Black women’s voices being amplified. “When you think about all the women who are so vocal —the April Ryan’s of the world in the White House, the Maxine Waters of the world, the Luvvie’s of the world— many of these people you’ve had on the podcast. There has to be a voice that’s courageous and always willing to step forward and tell the truth of where we are at. And Black women have always served that role.”
“Rather it’s been appreciated or not, is another thing. But it is critical that we continue to uplift those voices. And that’s part of the mission of the ESSENCE brand. We make sure those voices don’t get lost in the shuffle.”
To hear De Luca’s full interview and a fun chat with Yvonne Orji, listen to the full episode above or subscribe (for free).