Another major magazine can now boast a Black editor-in-chief! On Wednesday, Condé Nast was announced that it had found its replacement for longtime Allure magazine EIC Michelle Lee, who announced earlier this summer that she’d be departing for Netflix. Fashionista reports that Lee’s replacement will be none other than Jessica Cruel, who has been at the 30-year-old imprint since 2019, most recently as its content director, helming the development of its new Black-focused platform, The Melanin Edit. With a decade of experience in the industry, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate has also held editorial roles at Refinery29, SELF, PopSugar, and New York magazine, according to Condé Nast’s announcement.
“As a long-time beauty editor, working at Allure is a dream. It has always served as an unparalleled source of beauty journalism, as well as my personal mood board and shopping guide,” said Cruel in a statement. “I am thrilled to shepherd Allure through the next chapter—one focused on making industry-wide impact, spotlighting the many communities that use beauty as a form of self-expression, and celebrating how these practices connect us all.”
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Cruel already has a strong list of accomplishments under her belt from the past couple of years, including spearheading the launch of The Melanin Edit, a new Allure platform exploring all things relating to Black beauty, skin care and wellness. Her role has involved developing content across all forms of media — print, digital, video, a podcast, a subscription box — making her the sort of well-rounded leader that a glossy editor-in-chief role requires these days, especially a title that’s expanding in many different ways, including opening a store.
Cruel’s appointment, which will begin in earnest on September 8, also signifies a further commitment to elevating qualified Black voices and talents within Condé Nast. That commitment came in the form of an admission made in June 2020 by the media company’s Chief Content Officer and Global Editorial Director of Vogue, Anna Wintour, who wrote in a memo to Vogue’s staff: “I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators.”
Since that time, Condé Nast imprint Bon Appetit named author and publishing exec Dawn Davis its new editor-in-chief, and the company hired Yashica Olden as its first-ever global chief diversity and inclusion officer, among other major hires.
“I am so thrilled that Jessica is Allure’s new editor-in-chief,” said Wintour of this latest development. “It is no small feat to follow in Michelle Lee’s footsteps, but I have no doubt that Jessica can do just that—she is a natural leader and a brilliant journalist, and she exudes a positive energy that is felt by all those lucky enough to work with her.”