In this part-manifesto, part-memoir, the revolutionary editor who infused social consciousness into the pages of Teen Vogue explores what it means to come into your own—on your own terms
Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. In this riveting and timely memoir, the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an unlikely interracial marriage in small-town California to finding herself on the frontlines of a modern movement for the next generation of change makers.
Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlight reels to share the profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across so many intersections. As a young boss and often the only Black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her—and all women—they’re not enough. As she learns to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward, we’re ultimately reminded that we’re more than enough.
Elaine Welteroth is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist and judge on the new Project Runway. She is known for her groundbreaking work at the helm of Teen Vogue where in 2017 she was appointed the youngest Editor-in-Chief at a Conde Nast publication. She’s now a leading expert and advocate for the next generation of change-makers. She was recently appointed Cultural Ambassador for Michelle Obama's When We All Vote initiative. She has written for the hit show Grown-ish and has appeared on-camera for a range of media outlets including ABC News and Netflix. Her debut book More Than Enough became an instant bestseller in 2019 and received an NAACP award in 2020.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are is a memoir by journalist Elaine Welteroth. While it’s her story, there is a plethora of advice for anyone seeking more, who may doubt themselves from time to time. Welteroth uses her own experiences to highlight the points she makes about trusting yourself, knowing your worth, and making big decisions in life.
I wasn’t familiar with Welteroth prior to Bravo’s reboot of Project Runway last year. As a long time fan of the show, I quickly became hooked again. Elaine currently serves as one of the show’s judges. She is the former editor of Teen Vogue, which I didn’t realize, is no longer published. It’s been years since I would have read or had an interest in this magazine but I do remember enjoying the occasional issue as a teen in the 2000s.
It was interesting to hear about Elaine’s entry into, and ultimate rise in, the publishing world. She worked for Ebony then broke into the Condé Castle (as she refers to media conglomerate Condé Nast) with a role at Glamour before moving on to Teen Vogue. Welteroth accomplished a lot there, changing to direction of the magazine and its voice to encompass the growing social topics the Gen Z audience has come to care about.
While this is not a YA book, young adults — particularly young professionals early on in their careers — are likely to gain the most from More Than Enough though there are takeaways for everyone. 3.5 stars (rounded up).
”I realized if we aren’t vigilant, we can move through our entire lives feeling smaller than we actually are—by playing it safe, by unconsciously giving away our power, by dimming our radiance, by recognizing there is always so much more waiting for us on the other side of fear.
But when we are brave enough—to go there, to grab what we want, to tap into who we are—damn, it feels so good.”
As a writer and editor, I've read a lot of memoirs by legends, icons, and giants in the industry over the years; hell, that was half of my reading diet back in college. I've read even more articles and interviews on the internet chronicling the lives and careers of the women I wanted to be.
I can say without a doubt though that Elaine Welteroth's More Than Enough is one of my favorites to date. Not only is her story line clear and her writing breezy, but she offers so much more than just some vague advice and "you can do it" platitudes. She's real about topics like misogynoir, codependency, burnout, and everything in between.
I've also been a Teen Vogue contributor on and off since early 2016, so it was equally dishy to read about some of the stuff I never got the full story on at the time. We love that insider! knowledge!
This book really put some things into perspective for me. Some which I knew already, being a woman, and the challenges we face everyday in the work place and life and even touch on the #MeToo movement. It also really helped open my eyes to some amazing pieces I wasn't aware of for the Black community. There are so many beautiful inspiring stories in this book, I recommend it to all my friends. It has also helped me, as I am starting up at a new company, to find my voice and speak up for what I don't agree with, and where I see change needs to happen. I even want to see about getting shirts made for our staff or in our store that say: #BetheChange We all have an impact to make in this world, and we can all be allies to one another. I hope many of the people who were shared about in Elaine's life have found the way to correct their course, and deal with that inner being which seeks to blame others for their hardships, mistakes, or misunderstandings. I still cannot believe what happened to Jonathan in the west village, but now I want to be more awake to the fact that these things are happening, all the time. And we need to change. We can all be a part of the change in our worlds.
I really liked the first half, maybe first 2/3 of this book. I loved hearing about Elaine’s experience growing up as a biracial woman. When she started to talk about her experience at Teen Vogue is when she lost me. I respect her so much, am so grateful that she is basically responsible for Teen Vogue “becoming woke,” and admire the work she put into the magazine. However, I saw a lot of missed opportunities in this section of the book and they really rubbed me the wrong way. She talks about how her job was extremely stressful, causing her to develop anxiety and lose weight, but then went on to blame herself instead of the toxic “grind” culture that is so prevalent in NYC and the magazine industry. She even mentions that the quote “there is no glory in a grind that grinds you down” was very life changing for her, but does not explore what this meant in her life. Elaine’s doctor diagnosed her with anxiety, and instead of advocating for therapy or mental health awareness, she said she would just look up at the sky and thank God because he had a plan for her. Because this book is marketed so heavily as a book that serves as an inspiration for young women who are starting their careers, I just couldn’t get comfortable with these aspects of the book.
"There is more honor in losing a battle with dignity than in winning a war without it" - Elaine Welteroth
*** "Claiming Space For Who You Are" is a book that had been on my to-read list ever since i saw a Youtube commercial with Elaine Welteroth on a Masterclass about designing your career. I just thought this lady so charismatic, smart and stunning that i directly made a research and found this title.Turns out she is the former editor-in-chief for the Teen Vogue magazine and she was the one the persons who was the mastermind behind the revolution of it. This is about her story.
What a story it is. So honest, gripping and inspirational. Despite being from different countries (and different backgrounds) i just related so much to some of Elaine`s characteristics especially the young Elaine. Her self-awareness and how her view of the world slowly changed with her growth. How she really wanted to do something about it. How fiercely she chased after her dreams and her trust in the Almighty One.This is such a spiritual journey. A total eye opener. It is just so hard to put into words how this book made me feel. How it made me think. But it made the trick happen, i do feel the world is waiting for me in some way. I do feel born enough. Thank you so much for that, Elaine Welteroth.
I went into this not really knowing who Elaine was (I know, shameful) but after reading her memoir I'm now a HUGE fan (cue me immediately following her on Twitter and Instagram). Her story of following her passions – and the struggles that come with it – especially as a woman of color, was honest, inspiring, and entertaining. Her narration was perfect, and I loved that her parents' narrated things they said. Definitely pick this one up if you love a good memoir.
I inhaled this book, it was easy to ready and so good to get into. What I loved was how relatable Elaine Welteroth is. She offers really great advice to young persons who are starting a career and a reminder to know their worth.
It was really interesting to read about her climb of the corporate leader and I enjoyed every bit of it!
“We went through what we went through so that you could live, baby girl. So you gotta live. Run after it. And know that we are all with you.”
I was tearing up at the first chapter. This book was easy to read and Elaine passes on so many little gems and life lessons. I loved how she made sure to talk about the many challenges she faced while trying to achieve her goals. Watching someone’s life play out on social media can make things appear more prefect than they really are. Looks can be deceiving.
I related to her on a professional and personal level. Totally understood her mixed feelings concerning how she first got the “editor” position at Teen Vogue. Having to paste on a half hearted smile for every one who is happy for you but doesn’t know the real situation. Feeling like you should be grateful for the opportunity but also like you are being taken advantage of by people who know they are doing it. Also that sting of micro aggressions from people who you consider friends. Having to constantly hold your tongue because you would rather spend your time and energy on more important things.
There are so many good takeaways from this book and I highly recommend it. Everyone can benefit from reading it, especially young girls.
Never has a memoir made me feel so seen and motivated. More Than Enough is a book that will resonate with any minority who has ever felt invisible, any woman who's ever been in a shitty relationship, and any young budding millennial activist trying to pave their way through their professional field. Elaine is nothing short of an icon. I could easily read this book a thousand times over.
Elaine Welteroth is an icon. Full stop. I first learned of Elaine through her work at Teen Vogue and her stint on Project Runway as a judge, which is what inspired me to check out her memoir. * More Than Enough follows Welteroth from her childhood up through her time at Teen Vogue. It's an incredibly honest and thoughtful look into her life as a biracial woman, as she deftly handles her experience with issues such as colorism, imposter syndrome, racism and ageism in the workplace, and the trials of going through her experiences with her "First Love" and then the man she thought was her "Future Husband." I loved that the book centers on both her love life and her career ambitions -- making it clear that sometimes those twin tracks in her life were at odds. She owns her success in a way that is gratifying -- it's empowering to see a badass own being a badass. * While I think this memoir is a fairly in depth look into her life, it's clear Welteroth holds back about the internal struggles with hierarchy and power she dealt with at Teen Vogue. I get it -- this isn't a tell all, and she's not trying to burn down bridges with Anna Wintour. But it's clear more went on that what she's putting on the pages. I also wish she had dug in a bit more to how she dealt with burn out -- and more importantly what she's doing (or thinks others in positions of power should do) to combat the workaholic culture that causes so many people to burn out. But these are minor quibbles in a book that, in total, is very, very good. * If you read this, I highly recommend the audiobook. The format is innovative, as Welteroth reads the book herself, but it also heavily features her mother and her father, who actually read many of their lines throughout the book. It really drives home the relationship between Welteroth and her parents (particularly her mother) and is such a cool approach to narrating a memoir. There's also a great interview between Welteroth and her parents at the end that is very charming. Overall, a great read!
Solid highs and lows. Nice voice. Tries a smidge too hard to be empowering. Lots of focus on race—even when it’s not relevant. I found myself wondering who she was beyond her color. The book really picks up when she talks about her career, but lags in the relationship stuff. There is nothing special, extraordinary, or profound about the dating stuff or her early life. Maybe if it was explored in the book differently? She definitely is a go getter, but I still don’t know who she is after having read this book. Maybe this book was written too soon in her life and should have waited to be written in another 20-30 years.
I really liked this book. I have so much in common with the author (same age, both mixed, exes went to same college, from the same area, husbands went to same HS) so I could relate deeply to her. I wasn’t deeply moved but enjoyed her stories. The book felt a little sanitized or too polished for me. Perhaps the thought of a you get audience played a factor. Without the commonalities I’m not sure how I would’ve felt about the book overall.
This is my first read of 2021, and it will set the tone for my whole year! I literally devoured this book as it seemed like Elaine was speaking into my life’s experiences. I had so many moments of pause and reflection and sending texts to @kaliesbookshelf about issues we have both experienced and talked about a lot!
Growing up, and even now some, being pretty much the only brown body in a lot of white spaces makes you do things to cope that I really didn’t fully realize I had done until June of last year. That constant feeling of never being black enough because of generally not being accepted by your black female peers pretty much does a number on you. There’s always this tension that’s there when you walk into a room that causes you to instantly pump yourself up internally to be on guard and protect yourself. Last June sucker punched me in the gut allowing me to take all my blinders off, and unpeel all my bandages off that I applied to protect myself over the years. I had gotten comfortable being the “token black girl” everywhere I went..it was all I knew. I remember looking into the mirror and finally seeing myself, my true self and all it’s flaws and realizing the real raw beauty that was there. I’m not talking about physical beauty, but black beauty. Black Girl Magic, and for the first time I was not ashamed of it! Now this will not make sense to most, and that’s okay. This is my experience as a black women from the Deep South of Mississippi, and now SC.
I was recently made to feel these “not black enough” feelings again in the book community, and I immediately confronted it and slammed the door in its face. I am who I am, who God made me to be, and uniquely myself in that. Thank God I don’t have to be anyone but me. Korrie. I will NOT conform to what people think or say I should be. What you see is what you get, and if you don’t like it then get gone, girl! I love who I am, and that is truly all that matters.
“The place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it” —James Baldwin 👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾👆🏾
Thank you @elainewelteroth for such an incredible book! You have a Fangirl for life!
Quick review for a wonderfully inspiring read. Elaine Welteroth's "More than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are" is an inspiring, honest, sometimes humored and sometimes candored look at the life of the author as she navigates her early years to her journey to becoming the first African American editor of a Conde Nast magazine (Teen Vogue). She takes a detailed look into her family history - how her parents met and their struggles - to navigating her own enthusiastic pursuits and interests, stepping stones and setbacks. Along the way, she gives so many insightful life lessons that include building self worth, making room for self-discovery, navigating self-identity (with an emphasis on navigating her own biracial background), finding relationships and opportunities that work, among other helpful life bits. I noticed some typographical/factual errors through the book that probably could've been caught before the narrative was published, but it didn't affect my overarching enjoyment of the read. On the whole, I really liked learning about Welteroth's life and journey to success and found so much inspiration to take with me. It's a book that I wish I'd had earlier on in life when I had the most trouble navigating some of the same roadblocks and life events as the author, though I find I appreciate its messages and affirmations even now for reflection.
As a mixed raced woman hustling hard, Elaine Welteroth spoke to my soul in this book. My deepest fears, my biggest dreams, my highest hopes were all in these pages and I’m grateful for her work and her powerful storytelling and soul baring.
More Than Enough is a love letter to young women navigating their way through life's challenges in an ever-changing world. Elaine Welteroth lays bare her story of heartbreak, racism, badassery, and soul-reviving dreams that become reality. This book should be required reading for every woman - young and older. When she cried, I cried. When she won, I cheered for her. I am here for all of it especially the fact that she, too finds solace - to read and send emails - sitting on the toilet. I love everything about Elaine - she´s a change-maker who changed so many lives. I will quote Elaine Welteroth for the rest of my life. I think you'll enjoy her story (her parents are amazing - read the book to find out why). I can't wait to see what she publishes next. I'm a fangirl forever.
I was apprehensive at first when I was reading this book. I questioned what message I would get out of this but Elaine's story is captivating, inspiring, and amazing to read. I deeply enjoyed this book and definitely will recommend!
I'm disappointed. I may have had too high of hopes for this book and it just didn't meet my expectations.
I've seen Elaine in interviews, read her writings. She's normally not afraid to go there. But this book felt lukewarm. She never fully let's herself discuss really hard topics - instead, she would lightly touch upon things like racism, colorism, ageism, sexism, but never take it the full mile. To me, it read more like a book for teenagers or young readers -- not adults.
The book illuminated how fame obsessed and materialistic Elaine can be. Elaine came off boujee to me. I don't mean it as an insult -- rather, that she likes nice things and wealth. And good for her. I love women who know what they want (even if it's fame or wealth) and aren't afraid to go after those things. So color me shocked when Elaine herself calls her ex (a Black Harvard grad) and HIS other Black Harvard grad friends boujee AS AN INSULT. I was very disappointed by this. Harvard is only 5% Black. We should applaud Black individuals who are able to jump up a class or more -- not turn our noses at them or judge them. It felt hypocritical to me. Was he a terrible person... Yes! But criticize him for his manipulative and misogynistic actions, not him and his friends' wealth and success.
It was a memoir but, for lack of a better word, a boring one. I think she made it too much about her and her life story. I wish it was less memoir, more of a collection of short stories of her life and her opinions about the world.
I wish she talked about her involvement with the Lower East Side Girls Collective instead of repeatedly mentioning she wrote an episode of Black-ish. I wish she talked about why so many young Black men are incarcerated at young ages and high numbers in America -- instead of spending the chapter complaining that her incarcerated ex kept her from Stanford. I wish she talked less about how her rich ex bought her x, y, and z and talked more about toxic, misogynistic relationships.
It could have been more but it wasn't, so I give it 2 stars for lack of effort :-(. I still admire Elaine despite not enjoying her book and will read anything she releases next because I do have faith she can write something impactful.
2.5 stars. I liked some aspects of this better than the whole.
Me gustó: the vivid writing about growing up biracial in the Californian suburbs and making terrible mistakes in romantic relationships (ah, sure brings me back to my early 20s!), the directness with which she addresses what it was like to make inroads in the extremely White world of fashion magazines, and the many other parts where the writing felt honest, raw, and real.
No me gustó: the parts where the writing felt a bit too generic and bland for my tastes—like copy pulled from a press release. Or writing where you can't really tell if it's sponsored content or not. There a few too many parts where the tone was just too glowing—I am drawn to memoir writing that has lots of dark humor, bitterness, anger, and weirdness (a la "Heart Berries"), and there is none of that here. So I'm afraid those aspects of the book just weren't for me.
Lo que realmente no me gustó: I was just really not in the mood for the "self-help"/"manifesto" aspects of the book. It just felt way too on-the-nose for me. Each chapter begins with an inspirational dicho by a person of note (James Baldwin, Obama, etc), and ends with a pull-quote of an inspirational dicho taken from the chapter itself, reprinted in massive text. God, I just found this so in-your-face and a bit.... underestimating of the reader's intelligence/ability to discern the most important points of the chapter? I literally had to cover up the pull-quotes with my hand each time I finished a chapter, that's how grating I found them.
The struggle with Conde Nast corporate messiness and her fight to get fully promoted to editor-in-chief was def the most fascinating part of the book for me. Really inspiring to read about the author standing up for herself and going after the promotion she felt she deserved.
I wish she had more explicitly stated at the end, "I left the world of magazines for the world of TV because I wanted to make more money!" Own it, Elaine!!!
Forgive me for the hastags and @'s, I'm copying and pasting from my Instagram. Why reinvent the wheel?
I just finished this gem of a book. It's about identify, race, belonging, confidence, courage, leadership, and so much more. I saw @elainewelteroth speak at the @uofdenver Women's Conference and the woman was dripping with poise. Her voice shines through in the book the same way it did from the stage.
What struck me most was the courage she drew on in every stage of her illustrious career (from beauty/style editor at @ebonymagazine to beauty editor at @glamourmag to being the both the youngest and first woman of color to hold the position of senior beauty editor at a @condenast outlet at @teenvogue )... Every time she faced a challenge (and there were many), Welteroth thought not about hersel, her insecurities, or her ego but instead, the contribution she wanted to make. She was always confident that she had a message that women and girls (and WOC in particular) needed to hear. She felt a responsibility to pull other WOC up along with her as she rose, to be a role model, and to use her platform to change the national conversation about beauty. She talks about #impostorsyndrome some, and it seemed clear to me, it never held her back because she always knew, (like in her bones) that if she pushed through her fears, there was a chance to be a changemaker, a way to inspire and uplift others, on the other side.
I’ll give this a 3.5. Respect to anyone who writes a memoir, I’m sure my own would be a solid 2, so take this review with a grain of salt.
I’ll start with what I liked. I listened to the audiobook, so it was a plus listening to Elaine share her experience with feeling and animation- in the way she wanted it to be read. It was also a nice touch to have her parents do their own voiceovers. Her come up was interesting, but this starts to crossover into what I didn’t like as well…
80% of the books beginning was her talking about being mixed race and trying to find where she fit in, it got redundant after awhile. Now I’m not saying she didn’t work hard to get where she is, but the racially ambiguous look didn’t hurt. That’s not her fault, but it was hard for me to drum up sympathy in some respects. This book was presented as inspirational and flirted with self help, but I wish she would’ve given me more of her life story, without the “profound” wrap up at the end of each chapter, just give me your story. For example, she stayed on “first love” and “future husband” soooo long and just skated over her story with her fiancé/husband, sis this was what I was waiting for! Give me the details!
Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Yara Shahidi HAD to get paid with as many times as she mentioned them. And where did her brother go? Has anyone checked on him? After reading this I DO like Elaine, I just didn’t love the book.
Holy shit, go read this book. Welteroth is a formidable talent and her memoir is raw and honest, equal parts confession and advice. Totally inspiring and bad-ass. Ending the first day of the #24in48readathon at 6 hours and 20 minutes, not too shabby!
Just another spectacular memoir I’ve read in the last year. I keep feeling that I’ve read enough of them but folks are writing and sharing the thought-provoking, inspiring stories of their lives. Another read I’d definitely recommend for any FOD (look it up) in any field.