The category is: Image. We often say “representation matters,” but few truly take the time to investigate and appreciate those who do who the work of making that representation possible, gatekeepers be damned. In fact, just like Madam C.J. Walker, the legendary subject of Netflix’s highly anticipated Self Made (premiering March 20), our ten inaugural honorees in The Glow Up 50's Image category have broken barriers and paved ways of their own en route to prominence in the beauty and fashion industries. Now, they’re bringing other talents of color along with them, whether by featuring their faces in the pages of the world’s most prominent magazines, defying beauty standards to depict blackness in all its authentic glory, or reminding the multibillion-dollar bridal industry that black women make beautiful brides, too.
Yes, representation matters. The Glow Up 50's ten Image honorees are doing the work to represent our wonder throughout the world.
From intern to Editor-in-Chief, Lindsay Peoples Wagner has moved up the ranks of the fashion industry like a G. Her talent, ingenuity and drive are unparalleled.
For nearly a decade, Lindsay Peoples Wagner incrementally paid her dues while paving her way to the top of the fashion editor game. Seven years after London College of Fashion graduate started her career as a fashion intern at Teen Vogue, she became editor-in-chief of the popular subsidiary of Vogue Magazine. In the interim, her tenacity and constructive criticisms of the fashion industry landed her the role of fashion market editor at New York Magazine’s The Cut, where she interviewed 100 black fashion insiders for 2018's groundbreaking and instantly viral “Everywhere and Nowhere: What It’s Really Like to Be Black and Work in Fashion.” Three months later and still under the age 30, Wagner came full-circle, succeeding Phillip Picardi at Teen Vogue and growing its audience for the magazine’s unique blend of fashion and social justice.
Aside from making history, Nadine Ijewere infuses fashion photography with profound authenticity.
In 2018, Nadine Ijewere became the first black woman in British Vogue’s 104 years—or any Vogue edition in the magazine’s entire 125-year history—to shoot the cover of fashion’s best-known publication, working under the helm of the magazine’s first black editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, and publishing director Vanessa Kingori (both runners-up on our highly curated inaugural list). Abandoning studies in medicine to attend the London College of Fashion, the 28-year old Londoner of Jamaican and Nigerian descent developed her now-signature style by eschewing the glossy images typically fancied by the fashion industry in favor of using non-traditional models. Ijewere’s outside-the-box approach not only led to numerous editorials, campaigns and subsequent covers but also her latest project Tallawah, a reflective homage that embraces the beauty and grandeur of Caribbean glamour.
As a purveyor of black urban life, Carter’s stunning images capture an aesthetic not always celebrated or appreciated.
There are few photographers who reach acclaim in the industry before the age of 25, but Micaiah Carter is already an exception. The 24-year-old California-bred, Brooklyn-based photographer has the innate ability to powerfully capture the essence, vulnerability, and passion of his subjects; a talent evident in his images of both everyday people and celebrity subjects like Taraji P. Henson, Missy Elliott, Zendaya and Serena Williams. Carter’s instinctive eye for creating and capturing nuanced images has also earned him an impressive roster of big-name clients like Nike, Pyer Moss, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Pepsi. Next up, the prodigious young master of the lens will release a very personal project—a book of images inspired by his father.
In a world where diversity and inclusion are often just buzzwords, Candice Marie Stewart is one of few breaking barriers and glass ceilings in luxury fashion.
Candice Marie Stewart is a self-proclaimed “advocate and curator of minority creatives in the luxury and digital space.” What does that mean? As head of social media at Prada, it signifies being privy to the conversations from which black creatives have been alienated, and making an impactful change in the world of fashion. Stewart’s resumé is impressive, and not just for a black Oklahoma-born, Arkansas-raised, Seton Hall-educated fashion expert. While her curriculum vitae boasts publications and designers such as Vogue, People, Essence and Alexander Wang, Stewart is proudest of being a conduit for opening doors in the fashion industry to other talents, including more young black creatives.
The loving lens Itaysha Jordan casts on fashion and beauty is the driving force behind her stunning images.
It’s been 15 years since Itaysha Jordan began her career as a photographer, during which the New York City-based photographer has literally made it her business to understand and cultivate her extraordinary skills. Jordan, a native of Boston, Mass. fell in love with photography during her sophomore year in high school. Now well-versed in the art of taking traditional photos, Jordan’s ability to flawlessly merge art history and pop culture results in exquisite images that set her apart from the rest. Take, for instance, Issa Rae’s breathtakingly gorgeous cover for Essence, where Jordan’s images of beauties like Tracee Ellis Ross, Solange, Tina Knowles-Lawton, supermodel Iman and Taraji P. Henson earned her the honor of the magazine’s 2019 Photographer of the Year.
Between writing, filming, scouting models and capturing stunning images, Campbell Addy has the creative world on lock.
Campbell Addy is swiftly becoming known as a master of all things media in the world of art and fashion. The 26-year old British-Ghanaian is a photographer, filmmaker, agency owner and publisher, changing the game of high fashion through inclusivity and redefining societal ideals of beauty. Addy’s spellbinding aesthetics, coupled with his goal to center diverse subjects remain a labor of love. To date, he has photographed Tyler, The Creator, Joey Bada$$ and supermodel extraordinaire Naomi Campbell and recently also became the first black man to shoot the cover of Rolling Stone as he captured the beautiful, brown-skinned, hot-girl trinity of SZA, Megan Thee Stallion and Normani.
Style critic Antwaun Sargent is committed to keeping contemporary black art front and center.
Antwaun Sargent has shaken up the modern art world with a fresh, global perspective that highlights blackness in all of its glory. His book The Black Vanguard quashes the idea that beauty, photography and fashion must be viewed from a Eurocentric lens to be relevant. Perhaps Sargent’s previous job as a kindergarten teacher has fueled his penchant for schooling the masses, as his book centers young, gifted black photographers from around the world; a demographic often ignored in the worlds of fashion and art. Sargent is also an ardent critic of racism within cultural institutions; in an essay for Vice he fervently called out the lack of representation in museums around the nation saying, “The overwhelming whiteness of museums has discouraged communities of color from visiting their galleries.”
Kyle Hagler’s keen eye for talent development has made him one of the most powerful forces in the modeling industry.
Kyle Hagler knows the business of beauty; the Morehouse alumni and president of Next Model Management New York has been industry influencer for almost 25 years. Landing his first gig with iconic New York agency IMG in 1996, the business-savvy South Orange, N.J. native quickly rose to the top of his industry. In the process, Hagler has represented supermodels like Liya Kebede and Tyra Banks while also discovering and developing the freshest new faces, like stunning college student-turned-supermodel Anok Yai. In 2018, his agency booked the Sudanese beauty to open the coveted Prada show during Milan Fashion Week, only the third black woman to do so behind Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn. Yai is currently on the cover of American Vogue’s spring fashion issue, proving Hagler always knows who’s got next.
Fatima Jamal is the “Fat, Black and Trans” powerhouse here to let the children know that this is not a game.
When it comes to issues of identity and representation, the multitalented Fatima Jamal (also known as Fat Femme) isn’t here to play. The interdisciplinary artist, author, activist and legend-in-the-making is confronting marginalization in the sometimes slow-progressing art and fashion worlds through both her powerful presence and unapologetic advocacy. A staunch voice against fat-phobia and queer and racial injustice, Jamal uses her growing clout to highlight “spaces that people are afraid to occupy.” The Morehouse alum’s striking beauty and steadfast self-awareness compelled Italian fashion designer Stefani Pilati to use the incredibly open and vulnerable artist in his most recent runway show for his independent label Random Identities.
Jacqueline Nwobu’s vision and daring allowed her to carve out a colorful niche in the bridal market.
There are many sides to Jacqueline Nwobu: She’s a wife, mother of three, former scientist and CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Munaluchi Bridal Magazine. Nwobu’s decision to become an industry disruptor opened the floodgates for brides of color, black women in particular, who were otherwise underrepresented in the $200 billion wedding and events market. Launched with a self-published issue in 2010, today Munaluchi is one of the country’s leading bridal publications and the first nationally-distributed bridal magazine centering women of color, also giving multicultural vendors a platform for their services. Nwobu’s courage to diversify an industry that had historically ignored women of color made her an early champion of inclusion.
The Glow Up 50 is presented by Self Made: Inspired by the Life Madam C.J. Walker. Watch Self Made on March 20, only on Netflix.