Susan L. Taylor, the beautiful, flawless face of Essence Magazine for 25 years was synonymous with beauty, intelligence, grace and even as some may describe now, “black girl magic” before the term was ever thought of. Susan was the editorial director of Essence for six years, and before that was editor-in-chief for 19 years. In her monthly column, “In the Spirit,” she used the platform to speak to millions of black women on a personal level. And her message to all was simple: “Love yourself.”

But little did the general public know that the now 70-year-old Taylor’s journey success and self-love, was filled with her own personal struggle: a deep-rooted depression that crippled her as a child and continued into adulthood, even while being the face of Essence.

“I began spiraling downward, downward, downward and further and further into a depression that I couldn’t pull myself out of,” says the former executive.

“I felt like everything coming out of my mouth was incorrect. I’m out there speaking in front of thousands of people with a smile pasted on my face but dying on the inside.

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