For many writers, 41-year-old Essence is a dream publication. Long legacy of compelling features, excellent pay rate, prestige — but how the heck do you actually break in?

“The first thing you think about is what are Black women thinking about. What’s important to Black women? And that is really the crux of what we do at Essence, and therefore if you’re pitching us, that’s what you should be focused on too as a writer,” says editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White in our latest Media Beat interview.

And, although it isn’t easy to nail the mag’s voice, it is possible for newbies to score with the right pitch.

Maya Angelou, Terry McMillan, Alice Walker, a lot of them got their start, had their early careers in Essence and are now writers that we turn to,” says White. “At the same time, we want the new Alice Walker. Who is the new Maya Angelou? They are in the pages of the magazine as well, and we’re looking for them.”

You can also view this video on YouTube.

Part 2: Constance White: ‘Essence has always had a diverse staff’

Part 3: Want a Job at Essence? Be Curious.