New York, NY – Vanessa K. Bush, award-winning journalist, editor and author, has been named Editor-in-Chief of ESSENCE, it was announced today by Martha Nelson, Editor-in-Chief, Time Inc. Her appointment is effective immediately.
As Editor-in-Chief, Bush will serve as the brand’s editorial leader and oversee the magazine’s content and vision. Most recently, Bush has served as Acting Editor-in-Chief since February of 2013, responsible for leading the editorial team.
Bush recently introduced ESSENCE’s #HeIsNotASuspect social media campaign aimed at reducing racial profiling of young African-American men. She has spearheaded numerous editorial franchises including “Guns Down”, ESSENCE’s multi-part series addressing gun violence in our communities and “Where Smart Starts”, a year-long initiative around education. During her tenure, ESSENCE launched a new Twitter program, #ESSENCEDebates, and Essence.com introduced the innovative Beauty Matchmaker tool. In addition, under her leadership, the 2013 ESSENCE Festival’s ESSENCE Empowerment Experience daytime programming enjoyed record-breaking attendance; bringing ESSENCE content to life around the pillars of family, health, relationships, beauty, careers, personal empowerment, activism, and more.
She first joined ESSENCE more than a decade ago as Beauty and Fashion Features Editor, where she directed all style and beauty sections. In 2003, Bush was named Lifestyle Editor, responsible for coverage including food, home, parenting and lifestyle. Additionally, Bush was a member of the editorial features team, writing and editing numerous impactful stories – such as Thin Line Between Love and Hate on teen dating violence and Fat Chances chronicling childhood obesity. In 2005, she was named Executive Editor, managing the editorial team to implement the brand’s creative vision, as well as overseeing staffing, systems, operations and the magazine’s operating budget.
“Vanessa’s more than 10 years of experience as an editorial leader at ESSENCE will ensure continued success for the preeminent African-American women’s media brand,” said Ms. Nelson. “She has the full support of Time Inc. to execute on her vision to honor this loyal and cherished audience.”
As Acting Editor-in-Chief, Bush recruited Dawnie Walton as Deputy Editor, Aretha Busby as Beauty Director and Melissa Kramer as Fashion Director.
“Vanessa’s wealth of knowledge about the ESSENCE brand and connection to our community of nearly 10 million readers has deepened reader engagement,” commented ESSENCE President Michelle Ebanks. “Vanessa is poised to deliver on our mission to help African-American women move their lives forward – not only through the magazine, but by meeting their needs across all of our branded platforms.”
“Prior to joining ESSENCE, Vanessa served in a variety of editorial capacities at publications such as Life and Glamour. She is also the co-author with Tyra Banks of the best-selling beauty and empowerment book, Tyra’s Beauty Inside & Out.
Vanessa received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and her Master of Science in magazine concentration from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
About Essence Communications Inc.:
Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online. The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Festival, ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood and Black Women in Music, Window on Our Women and Smart Beauty consumer insights series, the Essence Book Club, Essence.com, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD). For 42 years, ESSENCE, which has a brand reach of over 8 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information and specific solutions relating to every area of African-American women's lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at www.essence.com.