Cassia Herron, who worked as an editor on this issue’s cover project, recruited these women to interview the 26 Black women in their mid-20s. Here’s how the interviewers answered a few questions.


Photos by Charlee Black

Attica Scott

Cassia Herron

Toetta Taul

What advice would you give to your 26-year-old self?

“Be a better mother. Love on your babies more. Savor every moment.” — Attica Scott


“Don’t put boundaries and limits on yourself based on who you think you are through the interpretation of other people. You are still learning the world and who you are. Travel, meet new people, try new things. Do you!” — Cassia Herron


“At 26, I was in the middle of my master’s and doctoral work. I experienced personal and professional challenges, as well as blatant racism. Therefore, looking back, I would advise my 26-year-old self to remain focused and accept feedback and support from those who have already paved the way.” — Toetta Taul

Christian Lucas

Cynthia Lee-Stewart

Tawanda Lewis Owsley

What’s something you wish you’d known at 26?

“I wish I’d known that I could trust myself. At 26, I was three months into motherhood, I was a young wife, and I desired to write and couldn’t get rid of that hunger. But I didn’t always trust that I was good enough to be and do any of those things. Really, I had no trust in my own abilities. I second-guessed myself. I felt I needed permission and affirmation from everyone, especially other writers, before I could even get started on my goals. I thought I needed someone else’s blessing before I could follow my dreams. Isn’t that insane?” — Christian Lucas 


“I wish I’d known more about wealth-generation opportunities and business development. I feel more equipped at the prime age of 40, but starting the process of creating generational wealth can begin as early as we want it to!” — Cynthia Lee-Stewart


“Opportunities will come and go — choose wisely. Relationships matter. Work on knowing yourself, focus on exploring the world independently. You learn so much through travel. I wish I would’ve known and realized how easy it is to move and relocate.

“You are going to do great things.” — Tawanda Lewis Owsley

Katina Whitlock

Ebony O’Rea

Lorraine Wilbur

Faith Lindsey

What do you miss about being 26?

“The family members who lived, loved and have now departed. Their love, encouragement and, most importantly, wisdom is missed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of a lesson learned or yearn for an opinion. Death is part of life, but as the years move on the presence of those you loved, and who loved you tirelessly, is ultimately what is missed most.” — Katina Whitlock


“I miss being able to drink and wake up the next day like nothing ever happened. Definitely can’t do that now; maybe every now and then, accidentally. I also miss my friends and family before we went off to start our own families or careers. Shopping with my sisters, trips with friends, parties, free drinks, brunch and beaches. As I’m typing this, I realize that all of that STILL happens. Just not as frequent, I guess. But now, instead of the Mall St. Matthews, it’s Union Square and the Diamond District. Instead of heading to Atlanta, we take weekend trips to the Dominican Republic.” — Ebony O’Rea


“I have to say I don’t miss anything about my 20s. Something clicked when I turned 40. I became more fearless — more badass. I have more wisdom. I’m more comfortable in myself. I couldn’t care less about what anyone thinks about me. I feel like I was just moving through life in my 20s. I’m much more centered and self-aware now.” — Lorraine Wilbur


For more on Faith Lindsey, an 18-year-old student at duPont Manual, click here.