“I’m absolutely thrilled. This truly is my dream job. I’ve loved Essence since I was a kid,” Vanessa Bush, the new editor-in-chief of Essence, told theGrio. The new head of the black women’s lifestyle bible has worked for numerous publications over the course of her career, including Life and Glamour, but none other has drawn her passionate devotion. In her new role, Bush is thrilled to take her decade-plus years of experience in journalism and apply it in service to African-American women, at a magazine that inspired her both as a black woman and budding journalist as a child.
She even remembers her first encounter with the glossy. “It’s something that I will never forget. I can remember creating mini-magazines with my mom,” Bush reminisced. “One of the few places where I could actually cut out pictures of women who look like me was Essence magazine. So to be able to bring that full circle decades later is just a dream. Essence is the embodiment of the quintessential black woman who is empowered and that’s an achiever, that’s looking for inspiration, that’s looking for wise counsel. That’s always trying to be the best that she can be. Essence has always been that guide book that shows us how to do that.”
The backstory of the new Essence chief
The Columbia School of Journalism graduate began her career as a staff writer before moving into editorial duties. In 2000, Bush began working at Time, Inc., now the parent company of Essence Communications. Simultaneously, after operating independently since its founding by Edward Lewis in 1970, Essence began its initial partnership with Time in 2000. Bush made her move at that time, and joined the Essence team as a beauty and fashion features editor.