Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner believes the time is now for change in media and fashion.
“I want to see brands, publications, everyone in the industry commit to a long, sustainable change,” Peoples Wagner said on this week’s episode of the Digiday Podcast.
Peoples Wagner is a rarity in glossy media: A 29-year-old black woman from a small university in the Midwest, without connections or a rich family bankrolling her initial career. Instead, she worked her way up, moonlighting dressing mannequins and working as a waitress. In October 2018, she was named the top editor of Teen Vogue, which has made a name for itself by melding fashion with social issues.
She recognizes her path isn’t for everyone — and media and creative professions need to adapt in order to expand opportunities to underrepresented groups.
“You have to be willing to hire different kinds of people who will challenge you,” Peoples Wagner said.
Here are highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
“I don’t approach anything we do on Teen Vogue as this elitist way of telling you ‘how it really should be.’ It should be a community. Our readers have a voice. They should be able to be amplified on our site and not feel like it’s just people telling them how to think and feel. That’s the approach that we cover everything [with]. I’m not going to pretend something isn’t happening. I’d rather give you the tools and resources and knowledge to decide for yourself. I think it’s worked for us because that’s honestly the way things should be. “
Those suffering injustice often cover it best
“Even in my own position, it has to be younger people, a lot of times. There is this difference of opinions on a lot of different changes that need to be made. It has to come from people who are actually feeling hurt by things that aren’t being changed. It’s very appropriate. You see that with Greta [Thunberg], you see that with Malala [Yousafzai], with so many people that we’ve had on the covers — young people starting this revolution of saying ‘this isn’t good enough. We’re not going to just take what the adults and older people are giving us, because that’s unacceptable.’ The weight has a lot of times fallen on people and people of color, and specifically black people. If that’s the only way change is going to happen, we just have to keep doing it.”
Referral hiring can be deadly for diversity
“The hiring practice pipeline needs to be changed completely, honestly. The way we recruit people, find people — and I say ‘we’ as in people in the industry — is always too insular. Fashion can be such an inside baseball game of who you know. As someone who didn’t come from this industry, I know what it’s like to try to prove to people that you’re working hard. The hiring practices have to be reconsidered [in] how you’re even finding people in the first place. People are so lazy about just hiring a friend of a friend or someone they know. Too often in media there’s this idea that people want to hire only a person of color or black person who is palatable for white people, who they feel won’t speak out too much or cause any trouble or won’t ruffle any feathers. That bias has to change. You have to be willing to hire different kinds of people who will challenge you.”
Join us this Friday, June 12 at 12 p.m. ET on The New Normal, a weekly interactive show focused on how publishers are adapting their businesses. Chad Mumm, SVP of Entertainment at Vox Media Studios, will talk with Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey about its approach to remote video production and the future of live-streaming. Register here.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research deep dive: Twitter’s strength holds among publishers
There is perhaps no social media platform that is more appropriate for publishers than Twitter. In this Digiday+ Research deep dive, we look at why this is.
La razón por la que Google y Samsung se asociaron con la personalidad de TikTok Addison Rae para una campaña nostálgica de los años 90
Este verano, Google y Samsung han lanzado su último esfuerzo de marketing conjunto, en el que los gigantes de la tecnología y el hardware aprovechan la nostalgia de principios de los años 90 y utilizan a la TikToker Addison Rae como musa de la generación Z. En su nueva campaña publicitaria con Rae, Google cuenta […]
Las publicaciones invierten en más reporteros especializados en criptomonedas
La semana en que el mercado de las criptomonedas se desplomó a mediados de junio, Fortune envió a Jeff Roberts una oferta para convertirse en su editor de criptografía y supervisar la creación de un equipo de periodistas. Estas circunstancias llevaron a la redactora jefe de Fortune, Alyson Shontell, a hacer una pausa y a […]
SponsoredConsumers expect brands to be authentic in their DE&I commitments
Sponsored by Amazon Ads With consumers looking to brands to take stances on global and social issues that impact their lives, it’s hard to argue the important role brands play in our society. With this great opportunity also comes great responsibility, and consumers are paying attention. New research commissioned by Amazon Ads with Environics Research […]
Vox Media’s Ryan Pauley explains how expanding the CRO role beyond ad sales improves ad sales
In March, Vox Media expanded the purview of Pauley’s role beyond ad sales to also encompass consumer revenue, affiliate and commerce businesses.
Publishers invest in more crypto reporters
Publishers like Bloomberg, Forbes, Fortune, Gizmodo and Money are investing in more reporters to cover cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.