More Than Enough | Elaine Welteroth

Summary of: More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)
By: Elaine Welteroth


Embark on a journey through Elaine Welteroth’s life as we explore her groundbreaking book, ‘More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)’. This summary captures Elaine’s early realization of being different, her perseverance in the face of adversity, and her meteoric rise in the world of magazine journalism. Throughout her story, we discover the pivotal moments that shape her identity, relationships, and career, culminating as the youngest editor-in-chief in Condé Nast’s history. Get ready to be inspired, as you uncover how Elaine learns to claim space for herself and compassionately challenge conventional narratives in mainstream media.

Elaine’s Journey to Self-Acceptance

Elaine, a biracial girl, realizes her racial differences at a young age and struggles to find images that accurately represent her family in a collage-making assignment. With the help of her mother, she re-does the assignment, learns of her black heritage, and gains a sense of pride and self-acceptance. Despite feelings of otherness, Elaine’s parents provide her with unconditional love and support at home.

Elaine’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Elaine and her best friend Claudia set up a backyard salon at a young age to find playmates. Despite not being able to make a profit, the experience fueled Elaine’s desire to lead a successful life. Her love for collages and storytelling further developed her skill set, which eventually led her towards a career in magazine editing.

The Power of Hair

Elaine Welteroth’s hairdos were a reflection of the social environments she found herself in during her youth. Her early hairstyles were crafted by her mother, but in eighth grade, she experimented with her natural curls and received negative feedback from her peers. Shame and self-doubt began to erode her confidence. In junior high, Elaine imitated her Mexican friends’ hairstyles and makeup to blend in. Her mixed race identity created an ethnic chameleon effect, making it difficult to fit in. At the eighth-grade winter ball, no one asked her to dance, leading to a devastating moment. These moments show the power of hair in shaping an individual’s identity.

The Ride or Die Syndrome

Elaine, a young girl in high school, falls in love with a bad boy nicknamed “First Love”. Despite their differences, and First Love’s dangerous behaviour, Elaine sticks with him due to her belief in the Ride or Die Syndrome. Their once perfect relationship deteriorates, and Elaine drops her dreams of attending Stanford to be with him at Sacramento State.

From First Love to Self-Love

Elaine’s journey from a toxic relationship to self-discovery and acceptance with the help of a mentor.

Elaine’s life took a tumultuous turn when she received a call from her First Love calling collect from the county jail during Christmas break. Despite visiting him regularly, by the summer of her sophomore year, she had enough and decided to end things.

A chance encounter with a biracial professor, Dr. Michele Foss-Snowden, became the turning point Elaine needed. M. Foss helped Elaine articulate her thoughts and feelings and interrogate the mass-media messages she had been exposed to since childhood. She helped Elaine realize how American society primes black people for self-hate by promoting whiteness as preferable to blackness.

However, the more Elaine talked with M. Foss and studied, the more she realized the importance of delegitimizing the fairy tales of white supremacy and owning her blackness. She began to embrace her natural hair and spend more time with black friends.

The journey wasn’t over yet though. It wasn’t until after a disastrous internship in New York City that Elaine identified her vocational calling. With newfound self-discovery and acceptance, she pursued her calling with a vengeance.

Elaine’s story is a reminder that toxic relationships and societal pressures can take a toll on one’s self-esteem and self-identity. Still, with the right guidance and a willingness to interrogate and challenge established norms, it’s possible to find your path to self-discovery and self-love.

Elaine’s journey to her true calling

Elaine’s internship experience leads her to discover her true calling in editorial work.

Elaine was a junior at Sac State when she began feeling the pressure of what would come after graduation. It led her to look for internships, and she stumbled on the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program, which was dedicated to finding paid internships for people of color. After being offered an internship at Ogilvy & Nash, Elaine had high expectations but was met with resentment from her fellow interns.

Feeling unseen and intimidated, she had a feeling that advertising was not her vocation. But, as she was unsure, she continued to map out her post-college plans. However, luck wasn’t on her side as Elaine found out that she had accidentally completed all her credits and would be graduating a semester early. The pressure was on, but luckily, it pushed Elaine in the right direction.

Driven by her aspirations, Elaine finally gave voice to her dreams of becoming a magazine editor in a conversation with M. Foss. She then applied for an internship at Essence magazine, and this decision would change her life forever.

In a twist of fate, Elaine saw a copy of Ebony magazine with a feature article by a woman named Harriette Cole, and something within her pushed her to contact Harriette. Little did she know that this relationship would lead her to discover her true calling in editorial work.

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