Samira Nasr Is The New Editor In chief Of Harper’s Bazaar, The First Black EIC In The History Of The 153-Year-Old Publication

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NEW YORK, UNITED STATESSamira Nasr is the new editor in chief of the American edition of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, overseeing both print and digital as of July 6. She succeeds Glenda Bailey, who stepped down from the Hearst title in January 2020 after 19 years in the role.

She is the first Black EIC in the history of the 153-year-old publication. Nasr joins from Vanity Fair, where she has worked as executive fashion director since 2018.

Nasr is no stranger to Hearst Tower, though, having worked as Elle’s fashion director for five years. Prior to that, she was style director for InStyle and has also styled campaigns for fashion and beauty brands including Laura Mercier, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Clarins and more.

Originally from Montreal, Nasr has spent her decades-long career as a stylist and editor working in and around fashion magazines in New York. She began her career in fashion working as an assistant to Grace Coddington at Vogue.

The appointment of Nasr, who is well thought of in the industry, will widely be viewed as a move to attract a younger audience to Bazaar and also marks the first time a black editor will lead Harper’s Bazaar, the oldest continuously published fashion magazine in the country, a milestone in an industry where there is little if any diversity in the highest levels of leadership.

It also comes at a time when the police killing of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests grew in the US and Europe, have led many former and media staffers to call out media companies for their record on diversity and treatment of people of color. Already, this has led to the ousting of Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport and Refinery29 editor in chief Christene Barberich.

In her recent role at Vanity Fair under editor-in-chief Radhika Jones, Nasr has been part of a rebirth of a title that highlights a much more diverse slate of contributors than is typically seen in mainstream magazines.

As the proud daughter of a Lebanese father and Trinidadian mother, my world view is expansive and is anchored in the belief that representation matters,” said Nasr in a video announcing her appointment. “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. I will work to give all voices a platform to tell stories that would never have been told.”

She also used the video to thank the protesters, community organizers and activists currently involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and said, “we can join forces to amplify the message of equality.”

In a separate statement, Nasr touched on some of the changes she plans to make to the fashion glossy, which include making it more inclusive. “Fashion and Bazaar are synonymous,” said Nasr, who unlike Bailey will oversee digital in addition to print. “It is a tremendous privilege to be entrusted with moving this legacy brand into a new era — one that is colorful, inclusive and celebrates the beauty of fashion on every platform — while carrying on the tradition of innovative art direction and great style that the Bazaar audience loves so much. The most beautiful part of working in magazines is the teamwork and creating a community. I can’t wait to get started.”

In a statement, Troy Young, the president of Hearst Magazines, added that Nasr’s “important voice will continue to evolve the brand’s distinct position as a style touchstone for fashion’s most discerning.”

As for her soon-to-be former boss, Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones, she wrote on Instagram: “She’s an avatar of chic, always ahead of the curve. 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. We are a small club, but growing. Samira, thank you for being an excellent editor, adviser, travel companion, and champion of our vision for Vanity Fair.”

As well as Nasr, rumors have also circulated for weeks that Nina Garcia, editor in chief of Elle, could be brought on as editorial director overseeing both Elle and Bazaar. If such a move did happen, it would make her Nasr’s boss. This is something that Garcia has in the past denied.

Hearst did something similar recently with Stellene Volandes, naming her editorial director of Elle Decor, expanding her role as editor in chief of Town & Country.

As for Bailey, who led Bazaar for almost two decades, she’s not going far. She is to work with editorial teams and fashion and beauty marketers “to develop partnerships and portfolios,” Hearst said. “In addition, Bailey will produce two special reports each year.”

The average age of Harper’s Bazaar print reader is 42, according to its 2019 media kit, with an average household income of $248,320 and an average net worth of $1.6 million — making it one of the wealthier audience groups in print.

Harper’s Bazaar is led on the revenue side by publisher Carol Smith, who has had a long career at Hearst and spearheaded the launch of ShopBazaar, the magazine’s online shopping arm, in 2011.

Bazaar.com, which is led by Joyann King, has a younger focus on celebrity culture and entertainment and is known for its royal coverage. Its correspondent on the royal family, Omid Scobie, has close ties to Meghan Markle’s representatives and has broken news on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

In print, Harper’s Bazaar’s circulation is 760,000, smaller than that of other mainstream fashion magazines. Newsstand sales have decreased in recent years as they have across the magazine industry, down 67 percent since 2009, while circulation has increased slightly in the same period.

But regardless of its estimated reach, Bazaar is facing the same challenge as its competitors: it still relies on advertising, not subscriptions, to drive the majority of its revenue. And in the wake of the pandemic, brands have further cut the advertising budgets that magazine publishers depend on.

Photos Credit: Instagram Reproduction

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Donovan

Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.