A Chat with Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue


We are very excited to have Lindsey People's Wagner. Lindsay is the editor in chief of Teen Vogue magazine and is the youngest editor in chief of Conde NAST publication. She's also the only black female editor in chief of A. Us Fashion magazine as a career journalist. Her work focuses on the intersecting world of style identity culture and politics. Lindsey thank you so much for coming on today. We're really excited for the conversation. Thank you so much for having me. So let's start out with our basic question. Skim your resume Flores. I started religious interning into. That's really how I figured out that I even want to publications and teen. Vogue was my first actual internship and my first big internship in general so after doing that in college. It became the first job that I actually got out of college and I worked in the closet basically schlepping and doing running errands. And all the not fun things that wasn't on the hills of for a couple of years and then from there. I went to style DOT COM which merged into vogue dot com eventually. And that's when I really wanted to get into more writing and more of the storytelling and more of the behind the scenes of like how all of these pieces come together to really make a feature. And then I went to New York magazine in the cut for awhile and I mean that was an incredible experience for me because I was able to be at a place where I think you learn so much about your own story and how that plays into everything that you write or edit or that you wanna cover and I think there I was able to really flex love the muscles of things that I wanted to do from styling and producing shoots to working on you know really long. Form pieces like black and fashion. It's been over a year and a half. I would say of being editor-in-chief Teen Vogue so it's been a fun full circle moment to be back now as editor in chief and I think we've really leaned into a lot of the core things what I loved about Teen Vogue but in a modern in fresh and inclusive way that I always wanted to make it. I always love talking to people in fashion when they talk about like. Oh I started off in the closet and it's this thing and for people that aren't in fashion. It's like way that it's an actual real job that requires a lot of organization. And it's how a lot of people start off but I always think that's such a funny face when people see you working in fashion in TV or films. It looks very glamorous and it looks like you're just around town shopping and everything's breezy and their champagne and it's not that at all for those of us who've actually had to work our way out so I think that's an interesting point because you actually have to do a lot to figure out even what it takes to make a magazine come together. What something that people can't find on your linked in or that is in Google about you that you want people to know the only thing you can't really do but it's not like a secret and it's something that I have on my social media how much I love to cook. I grew up in a family. We always had to be at the dinner table. There was no fast food allowed. I find it really just calming and reminds me of home and so that's something that I really enjoy and I think it's interesting because in fashion people tend to not want to talk about food or not food to be the center of any conversation. Because there's always these very stupid pressures and anxieties around body image and how much you consume and even in this time. I think it's been really disappointing for me to see so. Many people in the industry say really insensitive things about you know not wanting to gain weight during this time and it's incredibly insensitive but also just ignorant and I want the industry to move to this place of inclusivity in a real way. I'm so grateful for this body that I have and I'm grateful to be able to make food and to be able to. You know to live this life. And that's really all that I think. Cooking food conversation should be about. Yeah and it's it's especially a very relevant conversation right now as you said thinking about so. Many people that are experiencing unexpected turns poor health that thinking about food and how we think about our bodies and being thankful for it in this moment his very different on that note about covert. You are leading a team a team that is part of Conde nast which is like any major media company has had its its ups and downs. How are you leading through this with the balance of trying to keep people calm? I know from leading our own team that it's not like we have a magic eight ball of being able to see when this ends. How have you handled this environment from a leadership perspective to be honest? I think it's been really tough because it is so open ended. We don't really know what is going to happen in the future and you can make all these plans for life and then you know life happens and I think for me. It's been a lot of just having those conversations with people you know. Do you need a mental health? Day Do you not. Do you feel like you can't do this today. And that's fine and now take on that you know today if I can and I'll figure out a way that we can move forward. That feels good for everyone. I've been having so many conversations of bandwidth and what people can just emotionally and mentally handle right now as journalists in like someone who's always overly ambitious. There's so many ideas and things that I always WANNA do. But I've been very transparent with my staff of like this is a great idea and I think this would be cool but I'm not trying to pressure anyone in ad anyone's workload of this is a cool idea but like I can't emotionally handle anymore worker. I can't spend any more time on this right now and I think we all have to be understanding of that and you know so many people have had family issues and I had a family member pass away from Kovin so I'm so sorry I'm very sorry for your family. No it's okay. It's just it's emotional roller coaster for everyone. I think just trying to be understanding in that. Is You know an empathy is everything. Yeah speaking about empathy is studies and more information is coming out that shows Cova nineteen infecting and killing people of color at a disproportionately higher rates. I think that there's been a lot of conversation about how this can reveal inequalities and disparities in our society that sometimes people don't spend time or don't WanNa think about as someone that has written about the overlap between culture and politics. I'm just curious to talk about how you're thinking through this moment and the type of data that we're seeing it just sucks to see that people of color going to be affected even more in the situation because you know people have covered just disproportionately don't have access to healthcare. And I mean really what this. Kobe situation is put so much light on his problems with class. And how we treat certain people in how we give you know other people privileges and I think it's it's been really upsetting to see a lot of popular influencers. You know be able to get tested really quickly and be able to have access to be able to get any medical advice and to be able to just hop in their RV and go to some house and be able to just escape and this is a reality for a lot of people have colored. They can't get the help that they need and I think for us. It's a constant conversation that we're having of. How do we amplify the voices of people of Color this because it just spans to so many things like even in my hometown from Wisconsin and the Wisconsin primary was like Sony? My family members were saying people of color are going to be directly affected by this election. And they're not being you know comforted in this at all. The polling stations are actually safe. And there's no hand sanitizer. They're they're not able to wash their hands in the bathroom. But they're told you know you need to just wait in line here for three hours. It affects so many different things and I think the economics of it and you know this class war is just. It's crazy and I think the it makes me really upset because it's going to have such a lasting effects on people colors communities that won't even have the resources to make it better and I mean we're going to continue to figure out ways that we can help in ways that we can make those communities feel like we're at least here for them because there are a lot of people in situations that won't be able to get out of this speaking of how you grow up. You grew up in Wisconsin. Tell us a little bit about what your family was like. Oh I have a really loving family. it's weird interview. My family is the best people planet. And it's just been really hard for us but I think that I grew up in a family just has really strong faith and I think that that has been a big point in my life. My Dad is a pastor. My husband's status pastor. And I think in these times you really kind of on your faith to help you through this and so I'm regardless of you know nervous being sick and this just being a really crazy time. I think that's really stuck with me and I think that the older I've gotten the more that I'm grateful of the ways that my parents have grounded me. I'm not any of these things that people may think in fashion. That isn't really my identity and my identity is really who I am in the integrity that I have as a human being. I think that you know we are trying to just walk through this with as much grace in humility that. They've instilled in me that I can. Do you think your family than like looking back on who? You are would be surprised at what you've become today. Yes no I mean. I was always very opinionated on a lot of artistic things like my mom always jokes you know they like allowed my sister and I to pick out colors for our bedroom and my sisters chose really you know. Pale floral wallpaper very basic in my opinion and I was like this. None of this will work for me. I need a custom color and my mom was like. Who Do you think you are? Yeah I can see that being such a pain in the ass for a mob like just pick a fucking color. Your that was me. She saved like all of my art projects and she was. She's that mom and so she always has like we were really upset when the glitter spill and we. We always had to have talks with you about things. Aren't going to go your way and I mean I was always definitely into creative. Things of his incenting Lessons Piano Violin. I like to dry like those. Are I love to do all of those things but I think it? The fashion stuff didn't come 'til lot later for sure just because the nature of growing out in the Midwest. You don't know anybody really who works at a publication and so it took a while for me to figure out really how. I wanted to use all those creative

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