Her job is to manage brands, people and bring in the money! Vanessa Kingori, British Vogue’s Publishing Director, talks to ITV News’ Ronke Phillips and we were reminded again why she remains one of our best-loved role models.
To say that we are fans of Vanessa Kingori is an understatement! Hot on the heels of Edward Enninful taking up the helm at British Vogue, Vanessa joined him as the publications’ first black Publishing Director in its 102-year history last year. We were all ears when she spoke to ITV News’ Ronke Phillips, as part of their Celebrating Success series, talking about what drives her and having Oprah Winfrey on the cover of the magazine.
Kingori describes herself as a child of Windrush as her mother arrived in the UK from the Caribbean island of St Kitts, working as a nurse in London, where she met Vanessa’s Kenyan dad. After she finished University and dabbled in a little modelling, she muses that early in her career she didn’t know what direction her career path would take, but a poignant piece of advice stayed with her.
Speaking to Ronke, she talked about always seeing things through, even when you’re not sure. She said: “If you start it even if you are unsure, commit to it fully, give it your all. Enjoy it, find some joy in it. And look after the people who are giving you the opportunity and it will see you through.”
Having worked at the London Evening Standard and Esquire Magazine, she rose up the ranks to become the publisher of the GQ brands. No doubt her success at the men’s publication, helped secure her latest position at British Vogue.
With the changing of the guard at British Vogue with Edward arrival as Editor-in-Chief, it’s clear that better representation of the British landscape is a key factor in the direction of travel for the magazine.
Vanessa acknowledged that British Vogue is now more representative but goes further to suggest that the best change has been the magazine’s emphasis on acceptance of who we are. She said: “I think what’s really exciting now is the new luxury, the new aspiration is actually being yourself. Bring who you are to the table, your organisation and adding a layer of difference that excites and can move your creativity or your business forward. That’s what Edward is really trying to convey.”
Walking the talk, the latest issue of the magazine features the ultimate poster lady for overcoming disadvantage and smashing through glass ceilings, with a personality that always shines through. Oprah Winfrey looks simply stunning on the cover and in spite of all that she has achieved, it’s unbelievable that this is the first time that she has graced the cover.
Speaking about the Oprah feature, Vanessa said: “She is a woman in her sixties on the cover of Vogue Britain for the first time. She is a woman of colour and I think it’s interesting that until the last year or so we haven’t really seen that on major covers. I think she is not model size, she does not come from a privileged background and she encompasses so many of the tenets that we want to celebrate around women and it’s just…, you have to read it.”
Introducing the August issue of #BritishVogue starring @Oprah, on newsstands Friday July 6. Winfrey is styled by editor-in-chief @Edward_Enninful in a made-to-order taffeta gown by @stellamccartney and diamond and emerald earrings by @buccellatimilan for the cover. Photographed by @MertAlas and @MacPiggott with interview by Decca Aitkenhead, hair by @1malcolmedwards with special thanks to Oprah’s beauty team @nicolemangrumhair and @derrick4mkup. Read extracts from the interview now at the link in bio #NewVogue
We watched the whole interview with ‘emoji heart eyes’ and fell in love with Vanessa even more. We’ve known this forever, and say it often, representation matters.
In a world that often tells us that ‘we can’t’, Vanessa proves that we can! When asked what piece of advice she follows and would like to share with others, she said: “Strive for the things that you want to try and know that there’s no such thing as failure. That idea of ‘I can’t’ is just not something I keep in my vocabulary. I try.”