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the story behind the book | kate tuttle

A magazine wunderkind wants to pay it forward

(david wilson for the boston globe)

“I’ve spent 10 years of my career as a magazine journalist finding stories, elevating them,” said Elaine Welteroth, “and now I felt like I had to take my own advice, and I had to tell my own story, about my experience growing into my skin, growing into being a leader, finding my voice. These are all universal themes.”

In “More Than Enough,” a combination memoir and manifesto, Welteroth describes all the challenges — from racism to bad relationships to her father’s drinking problem — she faced along the way toward becoming editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue at just 29.

“I was thrust into the headlines because of a job that I was doing,” said Welteroth, now 32. “Those headlines positioned me as someone who made history just by being a black woman and being the age I was. There’s a responsibility that comes with that. I take it seriously. I think part of telling my truth is to open doors for other people.”

In writing about personal challenges on the road to professional success, Welteroth said she hoped the book would help other young women navigating life’s difficulties. It was important for her to be honest, to go deeper than the images we all curate on social media. “The whole point of writing this book was to pull back the veneer. This book is about going beyond the highlight reel, going beyond the pithy tweets and captions, beyond the beautiful pictures, to tell a real story.”

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Welteroth said she hopes her own historic tenure at the head of an iconic magazine will lead the way for others. “I want to be the first of many. I think part of telling my truth is to open doors for other people.”

Welteroth will read at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Coolidge Corner Theatre.

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Kate Tuttle, a freelance writer and critic, can be reached at kate.tuttle@gmail.com.