Starting a magazine is no easy feat — but that’s just what Lindsey Day, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CRWN Mag decided to do following a rooftop conversation with a friend. The stunning magazine is dedicated to celebrating and discussing natural hair and the women who wear it. CRWN is for the black woman beyond the #blackgirlmagic hashtags, a woman that is very much like Day herself.
I recently caught up with the Editor-in-Chief at Create and Cultivate’s inaugural beauty summit to talk CRWN Mag, fearlessness and what beauty means to her.
Makeup.com: What inspired you to start CRWN Mag?
Lindsey Day: So many things. I was inspired by the void in the marketplace and the void you [personally] feel when you’re flipping through magazines your whole life and don’t see yourself — which so many black women are very familiar with. Whenever I went to get my hair cut I could never find a shape with natural hair, there was never any inspiration or reference. When this concept came to us at the end of 2014 there was this burgeoning natural hair movement and all this activity in the social media space but it wasn’t being immortalized. We really wanted to immortalize the story in print in a beautiful and tangible way.
MDC: I think there’s definitely a need. It’s so important as black women for us to see ourselves and people really underestimate the value of representation in a lot of ways.
LD: Yes, and taking it beyond seeing ourselves on a cover but representing the depth and dynamism of black women. We could never capture every facet of black women [even] if we did this for a hundred years but we’re going to do our best. It’s not a win to have one type of black woman or two types of black women represented when the diversity could never be contained.
MDC: What does it mean to be editor-in-chief of a magazine whose goal is to alter the narrative of beauty surrounding black women?
LD: It’s truly humbling to be able to have a concept that [started as] a conversation on a rooftop in Brooklyn about what it would look like to dedicate our time, talent and resources to serving our people and really seeing what it would look like. When you think about it, our ancestors didn’t have the opportunities to say “that should be bigger” and actually be able to do something about it. We’re a platform that’s reflecting what’s always been there. We just didn’t have the means because there was such a barrier to entry. Growing up I avoided hair conversations because it was divisive in the community so it’s beautiful to be able to have these conversations and create safe spaces where you can find sisterhood and camaraderie without judgment.
MDC: What do you hope the CRWN reader gains from reading your publication?
LD: I want black women and black girls to flip these pages and see themselves. You can’t be what you can’t see. In CRWN magazine you see entrepreneurs, creatives, pastors, photographers — it runs the gamut. I never thought about entrepreneurship as a kid. I didn’t know I could do things other than a doctor or a lawyer. We didn’t see that growing up. We aspired to work at white-owned corporations and go to predominantly white institutions. But that is being shaken up in a lot of ways right now. [For us], it’s always about how we can give more value. How can we give the woman something she didn’t know she wanted yet but will be so happy to see?
MDC: How did you gain the courage to start a magazine?
LD: It was a very long time coming. When I look back at my life, so much prepared me for this. I truly feel that I’m walking in my purpose. It [started with] my career in the music industry and not finding my place without compromising myself. In 2009 I [also] co-founded a digital platform for professional women. In this new world [I was] able to wield these tools, start a blog platform and hire writers. It really woke up something in me. I also worked for a startup that [focused] on women’s empowerment and helped students find internships. I helped the founder grow from two employees (Day was the first full time hire), to five. I realized, “wow I could do something like this and I’m a lot more entrepreneurial than I give myself credit for.” The courage came in doing.
MDC: What are your wildest dreams for CRWN Mag?
LD: I want CRWN Mag to be the most honest and beautiful representation of black women in the history of print. We are a storytelling platform, so telling more of our stories visually through various mediums. I want to tell more of our stories through various mediums. I want to have more impact.
MDC: What does beauty mean to you?
LD: [Beauty] has been so narrowly defined for a long time. I think it’s beautiful to see the definition of beauty expanding and that we’re all part of that. By us saying “I’m going to wear my hair this way” and know that we’re going to have to face criticism and people asking questions, there’s a power in doing it anyway. Whether you take on the role of educating or not, choosing to be you is revolutionary. Beauty can’t be confined.
MDC: Any makeup looks you’re loving right now?
LD: Beyonce’s entire life.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lindsey Day