Alexis Okeowo

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Alexis Okeowo’s pen is always working. Avid readers of The New Yorker will recognize the staff writer’s frequent bylines—her pieces range from election season in Alabama (her home state) and media’s lack of empathy towards Somalia’s bombings, to Mona Scott-Young’s reality TV empire and the cultural impact of Issa Rae’s Insecure. She has also written for Vogue, Time, the New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Financial Times.

The now Brooklyn resident was raised in Montgomery by two Nigerian immigrants, and this upbringing instilled in her a deep ambition and sense of discipline to achieve all that she sets out to accomplish. After graduating from Princeton in 2006 with a degree in Comparative Politics and Political Theory, she spent a fellowship in Uganda writing for a local newspaper before eventually going on to do reporting in East Africa, Mexico and Lagos, Nigeria. Okeowo, 33, has spent the last 10 years of her journalism career telling the stories of people who, she says, would otherwise go unnoticed, and exposing abuses of power to help protect vulnerable communities. The depth and breadth of her roots within the diaspora are integral to the work she produces both online and in print.

Beyond journalism, Okeowo is an accomplished author who published her first book, A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa, last year to much acclaim. While she doesn’t harp on the rigid idea of setting long-term goals, her focus going forward will be nestled in various long-term reporting and screenwriting projects. Ask Okeowo what makes a powerful woman and she will tell you this: such a woman is unafraid to go after what she wants, and uses her intelligence and talent to make some kind of meaningful impact, ideally for the good of others. She personifies this very power, and harnesses it to reach back to others as she climbs. “In the end, all African women have is each other,” she says. “So we have to support each other and lift each other up. We're the future, after all.”

LiteratureTeneille Craig