Fashion publishing phenomenon Vanessa Kingori has a lot more on her mind than the latest catwalk show — for starters, pushing things forward for mothers and women, she tells Rebecca Newman
Vanessa Kingori is a smasher of ceilings. First female publishing director in British Vogue’s 105-year history; British GQ’s youngest and first female publisher (running the commercial side of the company — ensuring it turns a profit) and the first publisher across the Condé Nast magazine empire who is black.
Unusually, in those hallowed spaces of boardrooms, money and power, she is an out and fiercely proud mother. And she’s a campaigner, throwing her considerable clout into issues of race and gender equality — for example, taking over Kourtney Kardashian’s Instagram to raise awareness of how black women are four to five times more likely to die during childbirth.
‘It was really terrifying,’ Kingori recalls over Zoom, sleek in red lipstick and Emilia Wickstead double denim. ‘I’m not afraid of a big audience, but Kourtney has over 100 million followers [114m to date] and I had big, heavy things to say about black maternal mortality.’
Kingori met Kardashian through Share The Mic, a campaign she helped bring to the UK in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. ‘I was inspired by all the black squares I saw on Instagram,’ but wanted ‘to move from talking about black experience as racism and trauma and forefront incredible, talented black women.’ Share The Mic invited 70 white women to give their Insta for a day to black women, including Bernardine Evaristo and June Sarpong.
“There’s a little something in me that responded: right, I’m going to do a brilliant job, and very visibly be a mother”
“You have to leave imposter syndrome at the door, you have to be strong”
“It’s been a rough time but being able to see Charles has been magic. I feel he was meant to be in my life to help me be in the moment, and attempt… attempt to slow dowN”