Cover image for More than enough : claiming space for who you are (no matter what they say)
Title:
More than enough : claiming space for who you are (no matter what they say)
ISBN:
9780525561583
Physical Description:
xvi, 320 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents:
Introduction: Intention -- Born enough -- White paper family -- Brown girl boss -- Pretty or butt ugly -- Ride or die syndrome -- Black enough -- I am not my hair -- A different kind of white -- The college crisis -- Your dreams are calling -- Started from the bottom -- Are you my husband? -- When it all falls down -- A seat at the table -- New world order -- Disturbing the peace -- New highs, new lows -- Lemonade -- Weight of the world -- The ones we've been waiting for -- Burning out -- End of an era -- A dream realized -- Brave enough -- Conclusion: Just the beginning.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Summary:
Part memoir, part manifesto, [this book] explores what it means to come into your own--on your own terms. By age thirty, Elaine Welteroth had climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. When she became the youngest and only the second Black editor-in-chief in Condé Nast history, Welteroth helped infuse Teen Vogue with social consciousness, amplifying youth voices on key issues and proving there was more to the selfie generation. Yet as a young boss and the only Black woman in the room, she faced the unspoken consequences of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. Throughout her life and career, Welteroth has had to contend with the notion that she wasn't enough. As a young girl: not pretty enough, not smart enough. As a mixed race person: not Black enough, not White enough. As a professional: not old enough, not 'fashion' enough. But now she's had enough of the world telling women they are not enough. In her riveting and timely debut, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks profound lessons on race, identity, power, ambition, and love--from forging her own path as the determined child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California, to finding her voice on the front lines of a modern movement. Welteroth goes beyond the headlines and highlight reels to offer an honest portrait of what success really looks like for a leader who is what Shonda Rhimes calls an FOD: 'First. Only. Different.' Brimming with vulnerability, humor, and hard-earned wisdom, More Than Enough is, fittingly, much more than a memoir. It is a moving affirmation for anyone who's ever faced fear--and persevered anyway. --
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Summary

Summary

In her motivational memoir, groundbreaking magazine editor Elaine Welteroth unpacks the lessons in her liberation from limiting labels, relationships, and beliefs - from her life as a confident child in California to being the first in her interracial family to graduate from college, from transforming the Teen Vogue brand into a revolutionary political vehicle to interviewing luminaries like Michelle Obama and Oprah. As Welteroth learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we're ultimately reminded that we're not only just enough, but more than enough.


Author Notes

Elaine Welteroth is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, producer, and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. In 2017, Welteroth broke new ground as the youngest person and the second African-American to ever hold this title at a Condé Nast publication. She has been credited for reinventing the magazine as the go-to source for socially conscious young people. Prior to Teen Vogue, she held senior editorial positions at Glamour and Ebony . Her writing appears in The New York Times, British Vogue, and The Hollywood Reporter. She has written for the hit show Grown-ish and has appeared on-camera for a range of media outlets including ABC News, Netflix, and Bravo's new Project Runway where she appears as a judge. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Welteroth's inspiring debut follows her personal and professional trajectories as she unpacks her ascent to becoming editor-and-chief of Teen Vogue in 2017 and details her experience as a black woman in media. From humble beginnings as a "brown girl boss" running a makeshift hair salon out of her Newark, Calif., cul-de-sac home, Welteroth built an illustrious editorial career as she worked her way up through increasingly substantial roles at Ebony and Glamour magazines. She tackles intimate details of her past--family skeletons (such as years of dealing with her father's drinking and depression), heartbreaks, and solidifying her sense of identity--with an equal mix of personal vignettes and existential musings. Welteroth's many revelations of romantic missteps, including a relationship with a Wall Street banker that ends calamitously after she receives an email about his philandering, and career pitfalls and triumphs, as when she is recruited from Glamour to Teen Vogue, are delivered in a conversational voice: "I was beginning to carve out space for conversations about identity and race at the magazine... and the intersection between fashion, culture, and later, politics." Explaining her many experiences being "othered," by coworkers at largely white Condé Nast magazines and just generally out in the world, Welteroth offers a narrative of empowerment to any reader who has had similar experiences. This affecting tale of claiming one's space and refuting biases will encourage readers to believe in their own worth and demonstrates Welteroth's mantra of "First. Only. Different." (June)


Booklist Review

In this inspiring memoir, journalist Welteroth outlines her meteoric rise to success. Welteroth was raised in northern California, the confident, driven child of a Black mother and white father. As early as grade school, she was sure of two important truths: she was born to be the boss, and the fact of her race would be with her every step of the way. Detailing her professional journey, Welteroth tells of the break she caught at 20 that launched her into journalism; the mentor who steered her into an editorial position at Ebony; her first job in the mythical Condé Nast headquarters; and the implicit biases she encountered along the way. At 29, Welteroth became editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, charged with diversifying and electrifying the wilting magazine. Threaded throughout are tales of her more personal life: toxic relationships, burnout, and a struggle to claim space for herself and deserving, under-represented others. With lyrical prose resonant of Jacqueline Woodson's, Welteroth shows what it truly means to be a leader: to elevate others and challenge systems of oppression, without ever sacrificing a job well done. Now writing for television and judging on Project Runway, Welteroth is proof that living the dream is an ever-changing, ever-satisfying journey to behold.--Courtney Eathorne Copyright 2019 Booklist


Kirkus Review

The former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue tells the story of her rise in the world of media and high fashion.The child of a black mother and Irish Catholic father, Welteroth grew up in the largely white middle-class suburbs of Newark, California. She knew from childhood that she "wanted to be the boss." Yet by the time the author reached puberty, her growing self-doubt began to fester. Though popular, she did not have the straight blonde hairand more to the point, the whitenessof girls who were the "Thing" among her peers. She also discovered that as a biracial girl, she did not have full "membership" among black students. Although she felt out of place and somehow never quite "good enough" or "worthy enough," Welteroth eventually found the models who helped shape her path in college. The first was a young biracial female professor who encouraged the author to embrace her blackness. Internships with a Los Angeles entertainment PR firm and then a major New York advertising company followed. Ambition ignited, she courted the attention of Ebony creative director Harriette Cole and was rewarded with a job at the magazine, where she came into contact with powerful black women like Serena Williams and Michelle Obama. She then took a junior editorship at Glamour followed by positions at Ebony and then Teen Vogue. There, she caught the attention of Vogue editorial icon Anna Wintour, who helped promote her to Teen Vogue editor-in-chief. Under pressure to increase the magazine's revenue, Welteroth came into awareness of her true mission: to celebrate diversity in a predominantly white fashion and media industry. The author's impressive career trajectory makes for fascinating reading, but what makes the book especially worthwhile is its depiction of an emergent social and political consciousness so strong that it eventually led her to abandon corporate media for the "joy of dancing into [an unknown] future."An inspiring memoir by a dynamic groundbreaker. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Welteroth's debut memoir is an insightful, eye-opening chronicle of her rise from wide-eyed intern to editor in chief of one of the top U.S. fashion magazines. Born to an African American mother and white father, Welteroth explains how feelings of "otherness," high ambition, and love of fashion led to a revelation at age 19, when she realized she wanted to be a fashion magazine editor. The author achieved this goal by her late 20s, becoming the first and youngest African American editor at Condé Nast, assuming the role of editor in chief of Teen Vogue in 2017. However, her rise to the top was fraught with perils, including racial bias, fractured romances, and pay disparities. She recounts these challenges, along with her struggles with finding a reliable life partner and creating a work/life balance. While the title may lead some to consider this a self-help book, it's not; at least not in the traditional sense. VERDICT An inspiring memoir of a remarkable journey that shows of the power of faith, friendship, family and dreams.--Leah Huey, Dekalb P.L., IL


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter 1   Born Enough   I am my ancestors' wildest dreams. Brandan Odums, aka Bmike   THANK YOU, JESUS!" My mother's multi-octave praise assailed everyone within earshot of her hospital bed. She is a gospel singer-a rare female contralto in a traveling church quintet called the Angelic Voices. Those lungs could project. Her booming voice moved like a praise dance down the long hallways of the Good Samaritan maternity ward, sweeping my aunts, who were anxiously awaiting my arrival, into a kind of contagious joy only she can conjure-we had our very own chorus cheering from the waiting room. I was conceived in love, born into celebration, and it seems almost prophetic now that the first words I'd ever hear were filled with the unmistakable delight of a woman getting exactly what she wanted. But let's rewind for a second, to the moments before my mother's cry of joy. Shortly after I was born, I was rushed off to the baby ICU with an oxygen-deprived face the color of a Smurf. The umbilical cord strangled me during delivery, so even during those first celebratory moments on planet Earth I appropriately had more pressing matters to tend to than listening to my mother. To this day she jokes that I was busy putting people to work right out of the womb. Meanwhile, the frenzy around the circumstances of my delivery was so great that it distracted even the doctors from fact-checking one very critical piece of the birth story before reporting it: "It's a boy!" they proclaimed as I was whisked away. "Joseph Tyler!" My dad rejoiced, halfway hoping his excitement would distract my mother from the panic of not being able to see or hold her newborn. My mom will tell you her prayers were simply to give birth for the second time to a healthy baby, but her heart's desire was for a baby girl; a daughter with a gang of hair to braid; a little sister for her firstborn son to protect; a woman to guide throughout her walk in the world. Luckily for her, just as the pigment was returning to my skin and as soon as the doctors could stabilize me, all that baby boy business went out the window-right along with my mom's coy charade. The delivery nurse took a closer look at me and immediately filed a correction. "Um, excuse me, ma'am. I've been doing this a long time and I know the difference between a girl and a boy when I see it," the nurse said, placing me into my mom's arms. "This is a baby girl." My mother's life was now complete. She finally had the boy and girl she had always dreamed of. As a newborn I looked like an exact replica of my older brother, Eric Charles, who was born two and a half years earlier, but Mom was quick to spot one distinguishing characteristic: "You see this jawline?" Her finger traced the only visible bone structure on an otherwise puffy mound of flesh. "She gets that from her mama. This ain't no Joseph Tyler. This is Elaine Marie." And that's when she let it rip: "THANK YOU, JESUS!"   As any family legend goes, the earliest stories of our lives are passed on like hand-me-downs, stretched in some places and covered in the owner's loving fingerprints. Are they always true? Mostly. Are there some exaggerations? Knowing my mother, no doubt. But regardless of what drama actually went down in that hospital room that day, what I've known for sure every day since is the profound impact of a mother's love. And for as long as I can remember, it has always been there to remind me that I was born enough.   When a girl is born, a universe of possibilities is born within her. When a little Black girl is born, she is born with the promise of a better future; her life represents new hope for breaking generational chains-of systemic oppression, of discrimination, of abuse-that have plagued our lineage. And it is because of the struggles of the strong women who came before that she is born with the potential to dream beyond what any of them ever could. We are all born with a sense of possibility and limitlessness. This is before the labels are placed upon us, those social stratifications of race, gender, sexuality, and status that start to shape our idea of who we are and that often erode the dreams of what we can become. We are also born with a certain indestructibility that can withstand every one of those tests-if only we recognize it. And it is the power of our own possibilities that keeps us fighting to get back to who we were born to be. Throughout my childhood, my mom often reminded me that I was born to go further than any woman in our family: in school, in work, in love, in the world. She was certain that I would get to go deeper into my purpose than she was able to in her own life. And she was insistent that I should never settle for anything less. "Because you won't have to," she'd say. "We went through what we went through so that you could live, baby girl. So you gotta live. Run after it. And know that we are all with you. All of us-are all right there with you."   I was born on December 10, 1986, and according to the card I found in my Easter basket one year and taped up onto my bedroom wall, Elaine means "ray of light." Combine that with "world of fire," the translation of my German surname, and you get what my mom describes as a girl with a 'sho 'nuff fire in her belly. I was two years old when my parents bought our family home in Newark, California, just thirty-five minutes south of San Francisco. It is a very small, middle-class town: one freeway exit on I-880, one mall, one junior high, one high school. Green lawns, four-bedroom ranch-style homes, and a flagpole that kids pledge allegiance to every day in public school. Suburbia, USA. It was the quiet city where my parents were able to afford a home and lay down roots. To me, it was the city where nothing ever happened. My dad saw Newark as a diverse place to raise us. My mother disagreed on the diversity front, but she always found his optimism to be one of his most redeeming traits. Even with its smattering of first-generation Mexican, Indian, and Asian families, Newark was then and is still a predominantly White town. As an interracial family, we were in the slim minority, though we never felt like an oddity in the Bay Area. Even in our diversity, there was a sameness to all of our lives then. Economically, we were all a part of a similar blue-collar existence in middle-class America. No matter what color kid you were, we all had parents who were just trying to hold on to jobs that promised pensions and the security of a full-term retirement. That was the American dream I came from. Yet I yearned for the bigness of a life elsewhere. Someplace where people dreamed bigger and walked a little faster. Where houses came with winding, custom staircases and fancier cars. Where men carried briefcases to boardrooms and women wore power suits to work. I didn't know anyone who was even remotely a part of that world back then-but I knew from an early age that was the world I was desperate to live in.   My mom never thought she would wind up on the West Coast. She was born the eldest of three in Macrae, Georgia, a tiny backwoods town where she spent her summers pacing dirt roads with her cousins and mastering the art of soul food in her grandmothersÕ kitchens. She is a self-professed down-home, southern girl at heart--and she has the cooking chops to prove it--but during the school year, she was raised fifteen hundred miles north in Rochester, New York's bustling, blue-collar city life with her two brothers, Tyrone and Tyson. To pay for their private Catholic school education, my grandfather worked backbreaking shifts driving trucks for Kodak and my grandmother served in the cafeteria at the University of Rochester. My great-grandmother Maggie, who has skin as smooth as butter and is still vibrant today at ninety-eight, was a domestic worker all her life-she was the first generation removed from slavery on my mother's side of the family. While our people were still being pillaged and suppressed at polls down South, up North my mother was elected class president at Nazareth Academy, a private, all-White, all-girls high school. She grew up in the postsegregation duality of the 1960s and '70s, in a country that promised more for Black people than ever before. She had the privilege of being raised in a two-parent dual-income household, where James Brown's transcendent message of being Black and proud reverberated. Meanwhile, her strict parents instinctively shielded their children from the racism they still faced daily-even in integrated working-class neighborhoods in New York. Young Debra Elaine Southerland (never call her Debby--trust me) was a sheltered, overachieving student with a smiley, preternaturally joyful disposition. Genetically blessed with high cheekbones, a megawatt smile, and a naturally slim, tall frame, she was the kind of woman you might hate if she wasn't so damn sweet. Her plan was to attend the University of Rochester; marry her high school sweetheart, John; have a couple of Black babies; maybe become a teacher; and live happily ever after, close to family on the East Coast. But you know what they say about God and plans--we make 'em, God laughs. Life managed to get in the way of my mom's girlhood dreams coming true. At the age of eighteen, after a family dispute she was shipped off to San Jose, California, alone, where she struggled to start over. The painful details of that journey are hers to share, but my mother's story isn't one of victimhood; she managed to do more than just survive the blows life dealt her-she was always determined to thrive. She got a job bagging groceries, then became a temp receptionist at San Jose State University, and by twenty she landed a gig as a temp typist at a Fortune 500 aerospace corporation. On her first day of work an older White man escorted her to her desk, leading her through workstations where lewd pictures of nude women hung in plain sight. The year was 1979, and she was a single, young Black woman with no family and no friends in a new city, entering into a male-dominated industry of engineers who swore like sailors and ogled titty magazines at their desk. Even so, my mother felt entitled to her dignity. With more to lose than anyone, she turned to look into the eyes of a man who seemed utterly oblivious to the assault on her morning routine, and said plainly: "If I have to come into this room every day to do my job, can you please take down those images?" The man laughed nervously, taken aback by the audacity of her request, but the images were gone the next day. Word got around that my mom was the "snitch" who made the men clean up their act around the office, but the OG office matriarch warmed up to her right away. Mary Patricia Welteroth was a little old Irish lady with big blue eyes, and in a pod of lily-white typists, she was the queen of the roost. Over daily lunch dates, she taught my mom everything she knew about life, love, family, and putting men in their place. One day at Frankie, Johnnie and Luigi's pizzeria in Mountain View, she said: "Well, you know, Deb, you really should consider dating my son Jackie." My mom told Pat she loved her to pieces but that she wasn't having any of it: "Patty, my life is hard enough," she retorted. "Ain't no way I am gonna make it harder by going out with a White man. No, ma'am." "Oh, now, Debra, what does any of that matter?" Pat responded, as if race were just a bump in the road you could simply sidestep in a relationship. Clearly, my grandma Pat was way ahead of her time. Or perhaps just as naive as her son.   Patricia Welteroth was an avid reader who studied social justice and literature at University of California, Berkeley. She was head of the debate team and the pep club. Which is just to say you couldnÕt win an argument with this charismatic, pint-sized woman if you tried. She married her college sweetheart, a stoic, second-generation German American boy named Chuck, who wrote her romantic letters after serving as an Air Force lieutenant in World War II. He worked as an executive at the same aerospace company where she was a typist. Together, they raised a family of four kids in a liberal, Irish Catholic household. Their youngest son, Jack, was then a thirtysomething-year-old blue-eyed boy; a carpenter at the same company his parents held office jobs. According to my mother, he spent his workdays "looking like a dustbowl." He lived in a bachelor pad in the foothills of Cupertino with two cats, Lumpy and Blondie, and an acoustic Gibson Gospel guitar named Maple. To let him tell it, he's always had "soul," for a White guy from Saratoga. Growing up in the 1950s in a scenic town in Northern California with beautiful, rolling hills and sprawling orchards that go on for miles, Black people were merely figments of his musical imagination. He claims as a kid he was the only one in his whole milk-white neighborhood racing home after his paper route to listen to B. B. King and Dionne Warwick records. Over long lunches with chatty Patty, my mom came to know every intimate detail of Jack's and his siblings' lives. When tragedy struck the Welteroth family with the sudden passing of the eldest son, Bobby, my mom sang at his funeral. Afterward she showed up on Jack's doorstep with a home-cooked meal--a gesture she still offers anyone in crisis. She knew from Pat that Bobby was not only Jack's brother, he was his bandmate and his very best friend. That day my mom and dad formed a friendship, rooted in vulnerability and honesty, and eventually he even found his way into her heart. It was a relationship they both say was beyond skin deep right from the start--and it had to be in order to sustain the inevitable blows of any lifelong, interracial love affair. Decades later, at my mom's fiftieth birthday party, there wasn't a dry eye in the room when my dad described seeing my mom sing at his brother's funeral: "The way the light from the church's stained--glass window shined on her--it was just like an angel came down to remind me that there was a God in a godless moment in my life." He ended the tribute holding up a glass of water, barely making out the words: "She's the best thing that ever happened to me." Excerpted from More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) by Elaine Welteroth All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.


Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Introduction: Intentionp. xiii
Chapter 1 Born Enoughp. 1
Chapter 2 While Paper Familyp. 15
Chapter 3 Brown Girt Bossp. 23
Chapter 4 Pretty or Butt Uglyp. 37
Chapter 5 Ride or Die Syndromep. 45
Chapter 6 Black Enoughp. 63
Chapter 7 I Am Not My Hairp. 75
Chapter 8 A Different Kind of Whitep. 87
Chapter 9 The College Crisisp. 95
Chapter 10 Your Dreams Are Callingp. 111
Chapter 11 Started from the Bottomp. 123
Chapter 12 Are You My Husband?p. 143
Chapter 13 When It All Falls Downp. 165
Chapter 14 A Seat at the Tablep. 181
Chapter 15 New World Orderp. 193
Chapter 16 Disturbing the Peacep. 207
Chapter 17 New Highs, New Lowsp. 225
Chapter 18 Lemonadep. 239
Chapter 19 Weight of the Worldp. 249
Chapter 20 The Ones We've Been Waiting Forp. 259
Chapter 21 Burning Outp. 269
Chapter 22 End of an Erap. 281
Chapter 23 A Dream Realizedp. 291
Chapter 26 Brave Enoughp. 307
Conclusion: Just the Beginningp. 315
Acknowledgmentsp. 317