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Mikki Taylor, Essence Beauty and Cover Editor

You've heard the term "living legend"--it simply means someone fabulous that we are fortunate enough to still have in our midst, but who we all fully expect to be a "legend" long after they (and we) are gone from this life.  My sisterfriend, mentor, and 2nd mom Mikki Taylor is one of those people. Mikki turns "30" today (not her chronological age, of course, but her career age at Essence) and we should honor and celebrate her for the great value she has meant to black women and the black community at large.

I first met Mikki some years ago, but her presence in my life has been nothing short of a gift of teaching, wisdom, and true sisterhood.  This should come as no surprise to the generations of black women who have read Essence for the past almost 40 years.  What I love most about my friend Mikki is that she is truly "authentic" something young black women need to grasp firmly in their lives, now more than ever.  As she likes to tell me "Sophia you have to show up ready everyday for life".  Mikki is a lot like a shot of Tequila--"straight no chaser" and I love her for that old fashioned sense of grace, charm and candor that she brings to my life everyday.  Amazingly, she is also devoted wife (of over 30 years), mother of three and grandmother of one.  She is truly a "do it all" kind of sister and she exemplifies the fact that we can have it all sisters, if we are grounded in faith, and self love and respect.

Of all the many things we long-time Essence readers have to be grateful for, Mikki Taylor may be the greatest of all (of course we all loved the soulful spirit and musings of Susan L. Taylor, Longtime former Essence Editor in Chief) beause she has had a quiet yet steady impact on the lives of black women in a way that is truly transformational.  Over the past 30 years, Mikki helped to create and shape a new image of black women in the beauty sector and she has coached companies, industry leaders and the like on how black women think, shop, and experience life differently, perhaps, than do other women.  Her impact in this area, I believe, will be felt for generations to come.

As I think of the passing of legends like Naomi Sims, and other black female trailblazers, and the impact they have had on how the rest of us as black women view our self worth and value, Mikki leaps forward to the front as one of those somewhat "unsung sister heroes" who work behind the scenes to make a monumental difference in the lives of others.  So today, we thank you and celebrate you Mikki--we wish you God's blessings and providence over your life and your great vision for the health, beauty, relational and spiritual wellness of today's black woman.

Sophia Nelson is a Regular Contributor to the Root.com & TEWW

Sophia A. Nelson is an award-winning journalist and author of the new best-selling book The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys to Unlock Your Life. Follow her on Twitter.

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