Can we talk about my Grandmothers for a moment? I'm the oldest of all the grandchildren in my family, on both sides. I had a solid 5 years of undivided Grandparent attention before my little brother even entered the picture. Don't get me wrong Mom's are great. My Mom is my best friend, but there's nothing like the love of my Grandmothers. Their love was unconditional, deeply supportive and I think they ACTUALLY believed I could be anything I set my mind to even if I couldn't see it... unlike my Mom who is supportive, but realistic about my abilities. lol
My Dad's Mom passed away when I was 11. I was heartbroken, but she seemingly left this earth and became my Guardian angel. I feel her spirit daily and just when it looks like things aren't going to work out, magically things flip and work out in my favor. When my Mom's Mom passed away last September, I have to admit I felt a void like I'd never felt before. I'd spent 35+ years on this earth know that if no one believed I could, Grandmother's got me! The world felt cold. Again, I was heartbroken but through my tears, I knew I needed to find a way to honor them and share their love and their stories with the world.
For years I'd had this idea to create a fashion-forward magazine that highlights the beauty and stories of women of color. It was in my grief I realized it was time to put this idea at the top of my to-do list and honor them by naming the magazine after them. Welcome to the world Mae Jones Magazine. Named after my Grandmother's Gloria Mae Roberts Melton (my Mom's Mom) and Deloris Beatrice Jones Turner (my Dad's Mom). The Mae and the Jones to this project. Names are important to me, especially family names. It allows me to bring a little of my history with me to the future.
Who were my Grandmothers? They were similar in so many ways, but with very different personalities. Two women from Texas that believed in strong family units, had a deep sense of community and were both strong believers in education. My Mom's Mom (the Mae) was spent her years as an educator in the Houston area public school system. She was a quiet and graceful woman with a strong presence. The personification of that saying "speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." As for her style, she was a chic dresser always with a bold red lip, a Ferragamo shoe and smelling of Chanel No. 5 perfume. My Dad's Mom (the Jones) was a nurse by day but as the wife of a saxophone player, she had the personality and style to match. Leopard prints, kaftans, costume jewelry... her closet was what dreams are made of. Two women that walked this earth with great purpose and in great heels. I'm happy to be able to carry on their legacies with Mae Jones.
What will Mae Jones Magazine be? Click here to view the website. It officially goes live next Tuesday, February 11th. I invite you to join the community online via the newsletter (click here) and Instagram (click here). It will run like a traditional with articles, interviews and of course fashion editorials. It will live on a digital platform with plans to print one annual issue. More on the mission to follow and how I plan to change the conversation withing the fashion/ luxury space, but just know that at its heart, the goal of Mae Jones magazine is to inspire and educate. There are so many wonderful things in the works for the future including a plan to bring creative education to inner-city schools across this nation. My Grandmother's would want it no other way.
What does this mean for me, specifically?!? Nothing much changes as it relates to work other than my to-do list just got a little longer. As the magazine continues to grow I'll still be hitting the Creative Director/ Prop Stylist pavement and working with my list of clients, but I'm so excited to bring this creative project into orbit. I've spent years in the fashion industry literally developing the skills I need to execute this project. Photo shoots, PR, marketing, etc... I'm a strong believer that all of your past experiences will come in handy at some point in your future, but that's a conversation for another day.
I wish you'd all had a chance to meet and be loved by my Grandmother's. They truly were incredible women and I am the woman I am today because of them. Mae Jones Magazine is a love letter to them. I hope that it inspires you. I really appreciate all the love and support you all passed in my direction over the years so I wanted to be sure I shared this news with you FIRST! If you're as excited about this content as I am, please share with a friend and feel free to reach out regarding anything Mae Jones related at MJ@MaeJonesMagazine.com. The site and new content go live on the 11th. Looking forward to sharing more with you then.