Harper’s Bazaar Hires 1st Black Editor-in-Chief after 153 Years

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By AFRO Staff

It took a century-and-a-half, but fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar, finally, has selected a Black editor-in-chief to assume its helm.

Publisher Hearst Magazines announced June 9 that Samira Nasr, most recently the executive fashion director at Vanity Fair, will head the title’s US edition from July 6.

“Harper’s BAZAAR is a leading American fashion brand with a point of view that is hugely influential in the U.S. and around the world,” President Troy Young said. “Samira’s important voice will continue to evolve the brand’s distinct position as a style touchstone for fashion’s most discerning.”

Samira Nasr, a Montreal-born woman of Trinidadian and Lebanese descent, will take over July 6 as the first Black editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar in its 153-year history. (Photo captured from Instagram).

The Montreal-born Nasr has a long career in fashion, serving as a fashion director at ELLE for five years and a style director for InStyle. She has also styled campaigns for fashion and beauty brands, including Laura Mercier, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Clarins and more. She began her career in fashion working as an assistant to Grace Coddington, former creative director of Vogue, after earning a graduate degree in Journalism at New York University.

In a video message posted on Instagram, Nasr said given “this particular moment in our nation’s history” she felt “honored” to be selected for the auspicious role.

“As the proud daughter of a Lebanese father and Trinidadian mother, my worldview is expansive and is anchored in the belief that representation matters,” Nasr said. “My lens by nature is colorful, and so it is important to me to begin a new chapter in Bazaar’s history by shining a light on all individuals who I believe are the inspiring voices of our time.”

Those voices, Nasr suggested, included the protestors all over the nation and world marching to highlight inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

“I see you, I thank you and I hope we can join forces to amplify the message of equality because cause Black lives matter,” she said.

Nasr also used the short video to give a brief overview of what she hopes to achieve, saying she would “work to give all voices a platform to tell stories that would never have been told,” and “reimagine what a fashion magazine can be in today’s world.”

“I believe that Harper’s Bazaar can deliver the best in fashion, all while being a place where community can come together to celebrate art, music, pop culture and also learn about the important issues that we as women are facing today,” she said, “such as the fight for human rights, our reproductive rights and the hurdles that we face as we fight for equity in the workplace.”

So far, the news of Nasr’s appointment seem to be receiving a positive reception.

Entertainer and fashion iconoclast Janelle Monae said on Twitter: “My gurl! But damn 153 years though?”

Vanity Fair’s editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, Nasr’s current boss, also lauded her achievement.

“She’s an avatar of chic, always ahead of the curve,” Jones wrote in an Instagram caption accompanying a picture of the pair. “I’m so happy for her and her new team. And I’m so glad at this moment in history to see this role go to a woman of color.”