WM x HerLife Magazine
I reached peak independent woman status when I took YaYa the Pup trick or treating on the Plaza this past weekend. On our way out of our first stop at Cupcake A La Mode with a hyper puppy in tow plus my mama and niece, something caught my eye. It was me! On a magazine cover! My face, my name, me! My first magazine cover is finally out, I have joined the ranks as a HERLIFE Magazine cover feature.
If you would have told me January 1st, 2018 how this year would have panned out, I probably would have had some choice words for you. I would have given you every scientific reason as to why you’re wrong and how I would prove you wrong. Yeah, it’s been that kinda year but WM has sustained regardless of how hard the year has tried to knock me down.
Tammy Crystal McDonald, editor of HERLIFE, contacted me at the end of August to let me know I was nominated to be featured in November’s issue (Thank you assistant Rachel for the hook up!) and I’m pretty sure I said yes before she finished asking me if I was interested in being involved. Me turn down a photoshoot or press?! Never! I’m always ready for my close up.
I can typically guess what questions I’m going to get during an interview. I’ve had life long practice of developing an FAQ sheet. Questions like “How tall are you?” “Do you play basketball?” “Can you make me a such and such?” “Oh your name is Whitney, do you sing?”, seriously ya’ll all my life! Cindy McDermott did an amazing job of getting the basics but digging in and going further with the conversation. I really enjoyed that I was able to speak on the crossroads of business and art.
Photo day came at he end of September with photographer Amber J. Deery at The Drugstore Studios. As you can imagine, deciding what to wear was an absolute hassle. The pressure to be like super poppin’ for my first cover and spread was unreal. I was at studio the night before making new things just for additional options. I decided to go with a long sleeve Croqui tee that I printed the morning of the shoot and a scuba knit hand dyed mermaid skirt. We also shot another look but Amber was like nope, this is the one. Before we headed out, the white tee that I’m wearing on the cover caught her eye for a dressed down moment. Amber was really fun to work with, it can be hard to come from behind the camera directing models but I think I did pretty well.
So for a whole month, I had no idea what anything was going to look like. I had no idea what photos they would pick, how many pages it would be, etc. When I saw it in the magazine baskets I was genuinely surprised. I didn’t tell anybody about it and wanted to surprise my family, if you know my mama she lives for things like this. But I kind of made an obvious reaction when I saw it on the Plaza, I couldn’t help it!
Can I be honest? After the excitement, I of course turned into a nitpicker. Worried about my hair (that twist out took the effort of shea butter and prayers), do my eyebrows look weird, I should have stood a different way, ugh what’s with that expression and a whole bunch of nonsense. I’m over it. The cover is fab and I intend to enjoy this moment, I deserve it. As I’m typing this, I’m looking for places to get the cover printed poster size…oh yeah, this is going up on one or more walls in my house.
I studied magazines like school textbooks when I was a kid. Any extra money went to Seventeen, Teen Vogue, YM, ElleGirl and countless others. People would save fashion magazines for me and my mama would cash in leftover frequent flyer miles to have my own subscription to Vogue. I dreamt of being on the cover of Teen People and now can’t wait for the day that I’m featured in Vogue Japan. I’ve collected numerous magazines over the years featuring powerful black women on the covers like Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Serena, Rihanna, Nicki and Lupita…now I’m adding myself to the stacks.
This cover is important. This cover validation. This cover says nah sis, you haven’t reached your peak yet. So yeah, I plan to celebrate this win.