This week on Every Skin Has a Story: Creatives of Color Take on Beauty, we welcome author, speaker and executive producer, Mikki Taylor. Current Editor-at-Large for Essence Magazine and former Beauty and Cover Director at the publication for over 30 years, Mikki has earned her place as the leading authority on inner and outer beauty for women of color. She shares her fun, informative and nuanced perspective on purpose, empowerment and style in three critically acclaimed books: Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner and Outer Beauty; Commander-in-Chic: Every Woman’s Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady and her latest offering, Editor in Chic, How to Style and Be Your Most Empowered Self. It is, however, her work supporting the style journey’s of America’s leading women in politics that has us especially honored to speak to the style authority in our first post-election IG LIVE conversation. Join us LIVE Wednesday November 18th at 12pm PST / 3pm EST or watch the playback ANYTIME on Instagram at @officialretrouve.
Mikki talks about her journey introducing our country’s first African American First Lady Michelle Obama to the national stage. The two met in 2006 at the beginning of the historic 2008 campaign on the set of Essence. “I remember she walked in camera-ready, and I was quite impressed,” Mikki shares. She would continue to work with the then senator’s wife in her home and overtime witnessing first hand Ms. Obama’s transformation as First Lady. What stood out to Mikki, even as the First Lady rose in prominence, was her relatability. “I understood, after working with First Lady Michelle Obama, that every woman could embrace and relate to her.” That relatability was something that inspired Mikki to write her second book, Commander-in-Chic. It was also something Mikki knew needed to be protected and amplified as Ms. Obama became the target of racialized attacks on her appearance.
As we spoke to Mikki, she reminded us how First Lady Obama really pushed our country’s understanding of beauty forward. She allowed women of color to feel proud in their skin and to feel seen nationally. Ms. Obama was intentional, elegant, and right there in terms of style. We’ve mentioned before in our blog that in the US, the appearances of women of color are often policed and deemed unprofessional. In telling Ms. Obama’s story through style, Mikki took up the important task of reifying our country’s relationship to black womanhood, expanding what’s embraced in terms of beauty, and ushering in a new moment of visibility for women of color.
Mikki is able to draw clear lines between 2006 and our current election cycle in 2020. She speaks to the central role women of color have had in this election cycle while highlighting how empathy and emotional intelligence have proven to be core values the country has chosen to uphold and honor. Mikki relayed beautifully about her relationship to Stacey Abrams, how she spent time supporting Ms. Abrams’ campaign for voter registration in Georgia. She gushed at the victory of Kamala Harris as the first African American and Asian American Vice President, and she is hopeful that we are moving in positive directions as we look ahead to the next several years.
We are excited to discuss Mikki’s newest book, Editor-in-Chic, in which she shares hundreds of her favorite secrets, from beauty and complexion products; tips for living in heels; practical tips for how to be frugal and look fabulous; unexpected drugstore buys that can push your everyday look forward; rules for mastering eye-catching makeup and the perfect red lip. She also deep dives into lifestyle including: what really has the power to motivate or defeat you; why being “risk adverse” is akin to being “success adverse,” and much more.
Take a look inside Editor in Chic with a few “Mikki-isms” we love below!
“If the Creator thought His vision of you was so masterful that He created only one like you, then you’d better give evidence that you know how amazing you are!”
“Don’t become adept at doing more while running on less. Press reset!”
“Don’t follow where you should lead!”
“You need to learn how to lovingly accept compliments because folks are really bragging on God, your architect, when they compliment you!”
“Your self-esteem should be so on point, you wake up every day excited to be you!”