Having been at the helm of a string of fashion magazines since the beginning of her career in 2008, it is no surprise that newly-minted Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth treats Instagram like her own little mini-magazine.

“The editor in me loves the challenge of creating a beautifully curated experience on Instagram,” she said. “I obsess over captions, and I’m weirdly meticulous about my grid. Storytelling is my passion and it’s at the heart of why I love my job, so I can’t turn off those compulsions — even if it is just a silly little Instagram post.”

Welteroth began her career at Ebony magazine, where she spent three years as the beauty and style editor before moving on to Glamour magazine. She joined Condé Nast in 2012 and served as Teen Vogue’s first African-American beauty director, until making headlines this May, when she was appointed to the magazine’s leadership team along with digital editorial director Phillip Picardi and creative director Marie Suter.

Despite a busy schedule, Welteroth tries to post at least once or twice a day, giving her nearly 65,000 followers a mash-up of fun work-life moments including glimpses of her team, personal style, inspiration and workouts. She uses the platform not only to engage and interact with her followers, but also for story ideas, as her conversations often translate directly into ideas for the magazine or website.

“In a relatively short time, Instagram has become this wildly influential source for relevant beauty and fashion news,” she said. “It’s been fascinating to track Instagram’s influence on the industry, from the girls who get cast on runways and campaigns to the cast of influencers sitting front row. You see it in the beauty trends backstage, and even in how certain designers launch their collections.”

Welteroth believes that her Instagram feed is a pretty accurate extension of her work and personality, where followers get to see different sides of her life. So we asked her to pick five posts from recent weeks that give us a glimpse into her job as a fashion editor, describe the posts and ideas behind them, and weigh in on what makes a good Instagram feed. Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

Music.ly
This Music.ly video sums up why working with Teen Vogue’s digital director Phillip Picardi never feels like work. We initially bonded over a shared love of Mariah Carey backstage during fashion week years ago — and burst out into a song within two seconds of meeting each other. He became my assistant when I was the beauty director at Teen Vogue and since then we have spent many a late night together at the office, basically doing exactly this.

Behind-the-scenes photoshoot
This is a behind-the-scenes shot from a press shoot I did for contemporary photographer Meredith Andrews. It’s a really great office photo, but at the time I remember feeling really conflicted and helpless about what was going on in our world. Horrifying cases of police brutality and violence were erupting in the news, and I was reflecting on my new role as the editor of such an influential platform for young people. I was grappling with how to use my voice to spread more light in such a dark time.

#ItCouldBe
When the ongoing issue of police brutality hit a fever pitch in the media cycle, we created a silent protest video with Teen Vogue staffers. It invited allies on Instagram to participate by simply sharing the hashtag #ItCouldBe, followed by the name of someone they know and love who is at risk. It was incredibly powerful in its simplicity and effective in spreading our message.

Bella Hadid
During a recent trip to Los Angeles, I had planned to meet up with a close friend of mine for dinner who happens to work for Dior. A few minutes before I arrived, she sent me a text saying a couple of her friends would be joining us, one of whom was named Bella. Little did I know, she meant Bella Hadid. Needless to say, it was a pretty epic girls’ night.

About last night…

A photo posted by Elaine Welteroth (@elainewelteroth) on

Amandla Stenberg and Gloria Steinam
This image captures an absolute dream come true for Teen Vogue. In our September issue, as part of our new editorial series “In Conversation With,” we paired up feminist thought leaders from two different generations — Amandla Stenberg (who I’d like to nominate for president one day) and the feminist icon that is Gloria Steinem.

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