Letter From the Editor: Michelle Lee Bids Her Final Goodbye

collage featuring allure photoshoots Michelle Lee Dec 2020 digital cover may 2021 issue cover feb 2020 issue cover oct...Goldstein: Vicki King, 2020. CL: Peter Ash Lee, 2021. Estêvão: Richard Burbridge, 2021. Gomez: Micaiah Carter, 2020. Ly: Solve Sundsbo, 2018. Porter: Ben Hassett, 2020. Mirren: Scott Trindle, 2017. Remaining Photos: Courtesy of Michelle Lee.

I'm terrible at goodbyes. I've certainly had a fair share in my lifetime. Moving to new schools. Switching jobs. Just this fall, we packed up our house of 16 years and moved to my husband's childhood hometown. Now, after nearly six years at Allure, I'm closing this chapter and heading to a sunny new coast for a big new role at Netflix. And I'm struggling to find the right words. 

It's an exciting moment, but bittersweet because I'll miss everyone at Allure so much. This has been a dream job, where I thought I'd stay forever. I still pinch myself over the incredible experiences I've had during my time here. I've interviewed icons (Helen Mirren, Lupita Nyong'o) and trailblazers (Awkwafina, Mj Rodriguez). I sat front row at a fashion show in an English castle and soaked up skin-care history in Shizuoka, Japan. I had my nails painted by masters and rang the opening (and closing!) bell at the New York Stock Exchange. But the memories I'll hold most dear revolve around what the brilliant team here accomplished. 

When I first started this job, I did a Q&A session for about a hundred members of our revenue team. In a final, fun speed round, the interviewer peppered me with questions like, "What three words best describe you," "Favorite lip color?" and ended on: "What's your goal for Allure?" Without hesitation, I answered, "I want to change the world." 

At the time, I said it with a wink. But nearly six years later, I'm immensely proud of how much ground we moved. We genuinely shifted the way people look at and talk about beauty. We helped change the global narrative around aging. We challenged the way the industry talks about sustainability. We explored, deeply, the culture of hair and skin color and race and the many ways the traditional beauty machine has excluded people. We challenged the antiquated notion of who gets to be beautiful. We celebrated many firsts (the first man, first trans woman, first model with Down syndrome on our cover) and rejected tokenism (after having only two Asian cover stars in the first 28 years of Allure, we've featured 8 in just the past few years). We did all this while maintaining and expanding Allure's authoritative science reporting and product reviews everywhere from these pages to our Science of Beauty podcast. 

I want to thank the whole team, past and present, who made these years so special. And I'm so grateful to all of you out there who've supported what we do. This may be goodbye, but I'll be a reader and watcher and consumer of all things Allure, always. To quote Keats, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

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