The NYC Essence Beauty Carnival Experience

Hey Cuties,

Last weekend Te [The Style Medic] and I ventured to our favorite city of New York. Although we are two BX girls we spent the weekend in the BK to attend the Essence Beauty Carnival.  Shoutout to the Brooklyn hospitality.

essence beauty carnival NYC

The Essence Beauty Carnival was a two-day event at Pier 36 in New York. It is advertised as the precursor to the larger event taking place in New Orleans, July 5 – 7. Essence describes it as an opportunity to Hear from your fav beauty influencers and wellness experts live on stage, indulge in curated shopping experiences and more! This ultimate celebration of black beauty will get you ready to step into the world with an inner calm and an outer glow!

essence beauty carnival NYC

This was the scheduled line up for the two days.

Celebrity Guest + Influencers

The main draw to the event were the speakers. They had a great lineup of dope folks. I wasn’t committed to seeing everyone but I will share those I captured. On Day 1 they had Grammy Award Singer + Songwriter Ciara but I missed her.

essence beauty carnival NYC

Misa + Dapper Dan

Slay with Style Panel

Misa Hylton: Mother, Lifestyle Architect, Fashion Designer, Founder of Misa Hylton Fashion Academy, Certified Life Coach, Global Creative Partner For MCM. This is what her bio says you likely know her as the mother of Diddy’s son Justin Dior Combs. Oh, and she was in the Biggie Juicy video with her blonde buns.

Dapper Dan: Is a legendary fashion innovator and designer who pioneered high-end street wear, from a storefront in Harlem to the red carpet in Hollywood, dressing everyone from Salt-N-Pepa and Eric B. & Rakim to Beyoncé and JAY Z along the way. Back in the 80’s Dapper Dan designed clothes using the Louis Vuitton and Gucci print without permission. He created designs that would change history, Harlem, and the rap game. Now Gucci has partnered with Dapper Dan and paid homeage to some of his “stolen” designs. Talk about full circle. Also note Dapper Dan is 74 years old still killing the fashion game.  There are no limits on your talents.

Model Iman

Iconic Iman

A Pioneer Still Trailblazing

Iman: Beauty Icon + Mogul

It was an honor and a pleasure to be in the same space breathing the same air as Iman. She was beautiful and regular, she shared her journey as an immigrant in the US. As beautiful and amazing as she is she had to fight to be paid just as much as white models. *Pause* Iman is 63 years old, let that sink in for a minute while you stare at this picture. She is a very proud Somali-born fashion model, I always adore people who educate and inform people of their culture. We should always be proud of who we are and where we come from. She was also famously married to David Bowie for 24 years until his death. Iman has been blazing a path in an industry that was not built for her and she has been successful at doing so.

“You don’t have to compromise to be invited to have a seat at the table. You can buy your own table,” she said. “We don’t have to be at the mercy of anybody. I’m fine eating alone.” – Iman

“Don’t shy away and belittle yourself. Don’t take whatever you’ve been given. Ask for it,” – Iman

Jackie Aina

Jackie Aina

No Shade

Jackie Aina: Beauty Icon + Influencer

Jackie is an Army veteran and professional makeup artist turned YouTuber, she is proudly a Nigerian-AmericanShe started her YouTube channel in 2009 out of frustration due to the lack of women of color in the beauty industry. Jackie has had some instrumental wins in the beauty industry such as a partnership with Too Face for their Born This Way Line that expanded their 24 shades to 35. The shades now include colors for black women. She also worked with  e.l.f. Cosmetics to create an eye shadow palette, and has a few others. Kudos to her for seeing a problem and providing a solution.

Yandy Smith Neijae Graham-Henries

Yandy + Neijae

Glow While You Grind

Yandy Smith: If you a reality junky than you recognize her from Love and Hip Hop, New York. On the show we see her working with new artist by way of artist development. Now she’s helping ladies get their hair and skin together through her brands Yelle Beauty, and now, YELLE Skincare.  “When I first got on the show I had acne bad. I was popping pimples so I had a bunch of acne scars. I went to Sephora and they threw all this stuff in the bag. It worked, but it was expensive”.  Instead of giving someone else her money she created her own brand. She was spending about $600 a month. Ummm, where they do that at?

Neijae Graham-Henries: AKA The World’s Youngest Female Barber is pictured with Yandy above. Neijae is a talented cutie from Philly, at age 7 she was the youngest person at age 7 and the old girl enrolled in a Barber Academy class. Originally her Mom wanted her brother to do the class but he wasn’t interested. Neijae figured it would be fun and took the class. Her story went viral and now she is booked, honey.

essence beauty carnival NYC

The Exhibits

They had a ton of similar displays that shared a message. The messages varied from empowerment to the history and legacy of Essence. After this picture, I added my name to this dope black girl.

essence beauty carnival NYC

This Eden Bodyworks display was so cute. They only had a handful of vendors so I didn’t do any shopping. It would have been nice if they had at least 10 more. That way we have more to do besides take pictures between the speaker/panel discussions.

essence beauty carnival NYC

This display was dope, I’ve used all of these products to style my hair in some form of fashion.

Photo Activation(s)

essence beauty carnival NYC

They had a lot of dope stations to take photos, so I indulged in them all.

essence beauty carnival NYC

This was another dope one that came was affirmations that we all need to say to our-self every time we look in the mirror.

essence beauty carnival NYC

I won’t post them all, but they were really cute.

essence beauty carnival NYC

Sevyn Streeter hit the stage and performed a few jams.


I’m not going to lie and say I know all of this girls jams because I don’t. But, I do know It Won’t Stop and she did perform that song. It is my job to know the songs that require maximum body rollage. I’m just saying. The remix with Chris Brown is a vibe.


essence beauty carnival NYC

Essence Eats

They didn’t offer food inside but they did have about five food trucks in the parking lot. They were only available to those in attendance. I can’t tell you what the others were but let’s talk about this Jamrock Jerk joint. It was slap yo mama good. I had the Jerk chicken with rice and peas, plantains and a lemonade. That shit was so damn good. Before coming to the DMV I lived in the Bronx for 7 years and there is where I developed a love and affection for Caribbean food.

Mimi Robinson, Media Correspondent recaps the Essence Beauty Carnival NYC. Features Model Iman, Dapper Dan, Misa Hylton & Jackie Aina. #EssenceCarnival

Chat with me in the comments below or FBIG, and Twitter.


Article written by:

Mimi Robinson is the Lifestyle Media Correspondent and editor behind MimiCuteLips®. She is a wife and mother of two. You can find Mimi working media at your favorite events, traveling and trying out new adventures, or working on a dope DIY project.

Join the discussion

  1. Angela

    Wow! This looks like it was such an awesome event. First of all, Iman simply doesn’t age. I LOLed when you were talking about the jamrock food truck. I don’t know of too many good Jamaican or Caribbean spots in the dc area besides Jamaica Gees or Jerk Pit. Where do you usually go?

  2. Kita Bryant

    This looks like so much fun! Essence is doing it up big and I have never been to any of their events I gotta go to essence festival next year

  3. Lauren Floyd | Honeycomb Moms

    I haven’t been to a single Essence event. I’m still trying to make it to the Essence Fest. smh

  4. Maria

    Looks like a wonderful event, I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from Essence. I think I remember that this event was in a few major cities, maybe Chicago, maybe not, but next year if they run the event I would definitely. Nice!

  5. Kiwi

    This is like a Beauty Essence Fest and I love it. I would love for them to come to Atlanta this was an amazing event!!!

  6. Holly

    Oooo I was excited to check this out. I found out about this too late. I love your look! It looked like a fun event with a lot of great guests.

  7. Nanekia

    This looks like an amazing time. Those colors popped for you. I was curious about Yandy’s skin care line still deciding.

  8. Terri

    Everything about this event sounds amazing. I wanted to attend but I had a family function to go to. It would have been amazing to see Iman.

  9. Stacie

    Okay that settles it. I need to move to DC! I’ve never been to an Essence event because folks don’t like the cold up here. Maybe I’ll make it to one of these one day.

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