MORE THAN ENOUGH: CLAIMING SPACE FOR WHO YOU ARE (NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY), Elaine Welteroth. Viking, $26.00 (336p) ISBN-13: 978-0525561583
Publication date: June 11, 2019
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) is one of those books that reminds you of why you love reading them in the first place. It is the kind of book that prompts you to crack a smile a page or two in and say to yourself, “Yeah, this is it right here.”
I remember when I learned that Elaine Welteroth was writing a book and thought it was a smart idea. And when I discovered what it was about, I knew I had to add it to my Books to Read list (or devour). Even aside from my penchant for reading memoirs by successful people who may or may not be in the spotlight, the message that the book seemed to have about believing in yourself and valuing yourself felt so personally timely.
Oftentimes, society tells us the changes we need to make–especially women–in beauty, diet, career, relationships, etc. Though it’s not always rooted in ill intent, if we are constantly being programmed to think we need to do A, B, and C different, we’re subconsciously saying we are not good enough. And then we start to believe it. And then, that belief manifests.
Welteroth, who has made history in age, race, and gender in the journalism publishing world, opens up about her compelling journey that contains fleeting bouts of confidence and low to no self-esteem. Sometimes her path was very “Elaine-has-her-ish-together-and-she-knows-it” and other times you’re wondering where that girl went. She also touches on situations she went through that would make most people doubt themselves and feel out of character.
Welteroth is not a quitter, and sometimes that worked against her. But, boy, did it also pay off, big-time. One of my takeaways from the author’s journey was her dedication to pursuing an internship at Essence magazine. She didn’t just do the standard of submitting a resume and cover letter. Welteroth spent all day and past midnight creating a magazine of her own (her childhood hobby of making collages kicked in) that represented who she was, which served as her application. That is some dedication!
It was also around this time that Welteroth had her sights on connecting with an industry professional of interest: Harriet Cole, who formerly worked as an Essence editor before leading Ebony magazine. Most people drop an email or phone call and maybe follow up once or twice, but Welteroth made a routine of calling Cole’s office and leaving messages with her assistant. She even offered to fly to New York just to bring coffee to Cole’s office.
While Welteroth humorously looks back and calls herself a stalker, her commitment to scoring that one-on-one with Cole is amazing. She was planting seeds. She didn’t stop at her elaborate Essence internship application. She put work into landing other opportunities. When you know what you want and you are determined to make it happen, you will “do the most” or “be extra.” And guess what? Both Essence and Ebony ended up wanting her.
I won’t spoil the events that followed, just know Welteroth’s dream job wasn’t glamorous, but rewarding and prepared her for her tenures at Glamour and, later, Teen Vogue (also, which weren’t glamorous but rewarding.)
There are many other valuable lessons and highly entertaining and sometimes melancholic moments to digest from Welteroth when it comes to career yes’s and no’s, as well as relationships, identity, family, and friendships. I admire her candidness about issues that are very relatable to women of color, especially black and biracial women. All of this to say that I recommend the book and can tell that Welteroth exerted 110%. We should expect no less.
Rating: Booking Cool
So Cool: Good
Booking Cool: Excellent
So Booking Cool: Masterpiece