Vanessa Kingori: The Rise of a Star
A couple of days ago, the internet flooded with news about the appointment of Vanessa Kingori as a British Vogue Publisher. She is among the slow but steadily rising number of women who occupy seats which would have otherwise been deemed inaccessible to them a while ago. Throughout her life, she has achieved what many would only dream of.
A British citizen of Kenyan and Carribean origin, Vanessa Kingori and her sister were raised by a single mother who was an NHS Nurse. She studied Management and Sociology at the Royal Holloway University of London. Just as many University graduates, she went on an experimental phase which led her to become a model. According to We Are The City, she was always taller than her friends which she perceived as a disadvantage until she was scouted to be a model.
This saw her start her journey that has led her to become a role model to many. During her university life, she had worked in luxury retail stores to support herself. Here she made friends with her high-profile and successful clients. One of these clients included Marcus Gay who set her on the path that saw her organize parties for clients such as BBC. Her friend Kristy Cocker, who worked at BBC at the time, tried to organize a job position there but she settled on a role at an Associated Newspaper, working for The London Evening Standard.
‘At the time they sponsored London Fashion Week, my events background meant that I became involved in coordinating small events related to fashion week and I loved it! In addition to my everyday tasks in the advertising department, I also became very involved with the launch of the Evening Standard’s first glossy magazine – ES Fashion. The now defunct title gave me my first taste of working on a luxury magazine and was a seamless move into what I do now,’ she told Unruly during an interview.
Her first milestone saw her become the first black publisher at the prominent magazine, Conde Nast UK where she worked for 7 years. Her journey did not stop there. In March 2015, she was appointed as a publisher in GQ Magazine. Working in men magazines has seen her break gender barriers while proving that the colour of her skin does not define her success. Her unique work ethic and great insight in her line of work has seen her run one of the most successful and influential brands in the world. Her new position brought fourth the redesigning of the GQ magazine website, leading to the launch of ‘GQ Video’ and ‘mobile first’.
When it rains, it pours. This was barely the end of the road for Vanessa. In 2016, she was listed among the Most Influential Black Britons in the UK. She was then awarded an MBE on the Queen 90th Birthday Honors list.
Her role as an influencer saw her take a keen interest in youth development. As a Visiting Fellow at the University of Arts in London, Vanessa supports these young students with discussions, evaluation and mentoring. The cherry on top to crown her achievement has been the appointment as British Vogue Publisher. She takes over from Stephen Quinn who is set to retire at the end of the year.
According to The Voice website, she says she appreciates her family’s support. ‘They are all so supportive of how passionate I am about my work and the sometimes insane hours I put in. It’s an especially big accolade for my mother who brought my sister and I up as a single parent working all the hours she could as a nurse. My mother strived to give my sister and I the very best education and cultural exposure. She was a huge advocate of expanding our understanding of the world beyond what was immediately and easily available to us. She was sometimes criticized for her intensity of drive. I think this honour, along with my sister’s success as a doctor of sociology at Oxford University, is extremely vindicating and exciting for her,’ she adds.
Vanessa Kingori serves as a lady young women should look up to. They should strive to admire her drive and know that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to achieve it. They should not let gender, skin colour or whatever barrier they face be a deterrent to achieving their dreams.
Featured image via http://www.vogue.co.uk.