Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. The special courage it takes to experience true belonging is not just about braving the wilderness, it’s about becoming the wilderness.

~Brené Brown

When I was 13 years old, I remember sitting in my classroom back in the Dominican Republic, talking to my best friend about our future. I recall saying out loud, “I’ll be in NYC, writing for a magazine.”

In that moment, I could literally see myself, sitting at a desk, typing and looking out a window, watching the sun fall on the Manhattan skyline. It was so clear in my mind back then.

I had just read Paulo Coelho’s book, “The Alchemist.” I can now understand and connect the dots from his powerful words, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The way Courtenay Hall [BELLA founder and former editor-in-chief ] and I met is, in itself, a series of what I will always call “God-incidences.” Joining #TeamBELLA was an honor, yet owning it was not in the cards. When the amazing opportunity arose, however, I took a leap of faith— and here we are! I am grateful for everything I learned from Courtenay and Dan Hall [BELLA’s former publisher].

Fashion Feast, our Fashion Issue cover inspiration, came to me in a dream. What better way to bring amazing designers together than when it’s fashion that’s being served? I wanted to showcase fashion by going to the source—the visionaries and creators of wearable dreams.

My first pair of designer sunglasses was by Nicole Miller, so you can imagine what a treat it was to work with her on this cover. And then there’s the grace and elegance of CD Greene’s creations, which left us in awe of Tracee Ellis Ross’ AMA 2018 gown, and who has dressed music icons like Tina Turner, Beyoncé, and Mariah Carey. Marc Bouwer designed Whitney Houston’s wedding gown and was recently noted for one of the 50 most iconic red carpet dresses. Jill Martin, an Emmy award-winning TV personality, brings fashion to the everyday woman. From our hair and makeup team to our photographer and venue, this cover was one collaboration after another, and it all came together perfectly.

BELLA has always produced fabulous content, and everyone who has contributed to this issue has done so with much love and excitement. My hope is that with every page you flip in this and our upcoming issues, you are left feeling encouraged to believe and belong to yourself. BELLA’s ideal is that you see a bit of yourself reflected in these pages, because in the end, how you see beauty, life, and fashion is truly defined by you.

I cannot end this without thanking my husband Joshua, and our children Tomás + Samuel for carrying me through this new chapter in our lives. To BELLA’s new publisher, Cheryl Devine, and our entire team, here we go…

Here’s to much more braving!

With much love,

Vanessa Coppes

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