Teen Vogue editor-in-chief talks inclusion at Embracing the Woman
Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief talks inclusion at Embracing the Woman
Careers, fashion, the state of journalism and inclusivity in media were among the topics Lindsay Peoples Wagner discussed on Thursday night at “Embracing the Woman.” Peoples Wagner sat on a stage in Schine Underground accompanied by moderators Vanessa Ortiz and Katie Coss of Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority.
Peoples Wagner started off the night by talking about her early days at Teen Vogue as an intern, leaving and then getting called back to be editor-in-chief.
“My first internship was actually at Teen Vogue, I started right out of school and spent 2 to 3 years thereafter a position opened up,” said Peoples Wagner. “I came back because I felt like I had something to offer to the world.”
On the topic of internships, Wagner mentioned that it has become much harder to get a job in journalism as there are fewer internship programs such as the one she started in. This changes the pipeline of students of color being able to have these experiences, she said. However, she applauded that people are becoming much more outspoken in the industry and are starting to demand the respect they were once so timid to ask for.
Peoples Wagner admitted that she was the only black executive in all of Condé Nast as well as the youngest. She said the industry still had a lot of work to do in regard to inclusion, diversity and what is considered acceptable.
“When you get a seat at the table you realize the people you thought were speaking up actually aren’t,” said Peoples Wagner. She preferred to use the word inclusion over diversity because diversity often times refers to something like a checkbox for companies and brands. Inclusion, she argued, is making a space for others in all levels.
The event, in Schine Underground, was hosted by the Eta chapter of Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority Incorporated, a Latina-focused sorority on campus. This was their third edition of “Embracing the Woman” and symbolically held on their chapters 27th anniversary.
“This event is designed to highlight women of color and inspire others through their success,” said Denisse Rosario-Reyes, a senior and vice president of the sorority.
When the event, “Embracing the Woman” was first introduced to campus it showcased women within the Syracuse University through a photo gallery. However, the sorority became motivated to do more to inspire campus and brought guest speakers. In the past SLU has brought actress and TV personality Adrienne Bailon and actress Tatyana Ali, best known for her role in Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Embracing the women was part of their week of events.
“We decided to bring Lindsay because we realized that journalism and especially the fashion industry are experiencing a great shirt in representation and diversity,” said Katie Coss, a senior and current president of the sorority. “As the second woman of color as Editor-In-Chief of Teen Vogue, we knew she’d be the perfect person to discuss her struggle between this shift and what this means for the future of fashion and journalism.”
SLU is dedicated to uplifting traditionally marginalized groups, specifically Latinos and women, by serving as a voice and means for empowerment. Embracing the woman is one of the ways that the sorority upholds their mission and serves the community said Coss.
“Although SLU is Latina based, a lot of the work we do is not Latina exclusive and it’s focused more on uplifting all women,” said Coss.
Though this is currently an annual event, the organization hopes to make it into a semi-annual event.
The night ended with Peoples Wagner leaving the audience with pieces of advice on following their dreams and achieving their goals in the future. Coming back full circle on the topic of diversity she reminisced on how she didn’t really see anyone in her current position when working her way up the ranks.
“One of my bosses had asked me, well who do you look up to right now? Whose job do you want? And I said no one.” reminisced Peoples Wagner. “But just because someone isn’t doing what you want to be doing right now doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You make that role for yourself.”