The world of fashion has a reputation for being exclusive. Lindsay Peoples Wagner, the ­29-year-old editor in chief of Teen Vogue, wants to open it up. The Wisconsin native held several style-related jobs in New York City — including at the Cut, where she wrote her celebrated piece about what it’s really like to be black and work in fashion — before becoming the youngest editor in chief of a Condé Nast magazine. Under her watch, Teen Vogue has continued to mix fashion, politics and social issues, with an emphasis on inclusion. And, unlike some other names atop glossy mastheads, Peoples Wagner gives her almost 100,000 Instagram followers a peek behind the curtain. “Growing up, I remember always thinking that people weren’t as transparent about how they get things done,” she said. Here’s how she stays well. (This interview has been edited for clarity and space.)

Q: What do wellness and self-care mean to you?

A: I think that wellness and self-care are the buzzy, trendy words that we use, but I think it really has to do with making sure that I feel good and that there’s this harmonious rhythm of me finding some kind of balance between my work and my personal life and my health. When I first moved to New York, it was so stressful, and I thought, “How am I supposed to handle all these things?” I started going to therapy, and I think that’s been a huge help for me. It may seem like a common-sense thing for New Yorkers, but I think when you grow up in a black family and a family that goes to church, the rhetoric is: “Why do you need to go to therapy? God fixes every problem.” It wasn’t discouraged, but it wasn’t discussed.

Q: What's your day like?

A: On a good day, I’m up at 7 a.m. I do my guided prayer and meditation when I wake up; if I have to do it on the go, I’ll do it when I’m in the car on the way to work. I usually go to a workout class at 8 a.m. at a black-owned studio that’s not far from me in Bushwick. It’s a HIIT class; it’s always intense and different kinds of movement and cardio and weight training. I usually have appointments I have to attend to in the morning. Then I go to the office.

In these kinds of jobs, you’re always on in some capacity, and there’s always something happening. There’s always somebody Slacking you, texting you, so it’s really important for me to have silent mornings. When I get to work, I usually sit there, have a coffee and read something — the New York Times, the New Yorker — that’s not necessarily work. I enjoy reading, and I don’t want to lose that. Then I let myself check Slack and email and make sure nothing urgent is happening. My afternoons are always packed.

I really don’t go to many meetings or events after work. I’m a firm believer that if it’s 6 or 6:30 p.m., it’s time to be off. As the boss, I have to do that so my staff feels like they can have a life.

When I walk into the house, I go kiss my husband, then I go in the bathroom and wash my face. New York is disgusting, and your face is getting all this dirt and grime and other things on it. At night, I hang out with my husband, figure out food and answer a few emails. My wind-down is my skin-care routine. I don’t usually go to bed until around 11 p.m. on a good day. I’m definitely not getting enough sleep, but I try to make up for it on the weekends because I don’t make plans on the weekends.

Q: Tell me about your skin-care routine.

A: Some nights I’ll pull out my steamer and I’ll do a sheet mask, and some nights I’m using different rollers and tools. It just depends. But that helps with stress relief.

I think skin care gets a bad rap because it’s not necessarily a wellness technique, and it does feel like a lot of the time people are trying to sell you more products. But I really do love it. I started doing it because I wanted to figure out something for my acne. I went to Rescue Spa [a day spa with locations in New York and Philadelphia] and saw Danuta [Mieloch, its owner], who helped me understand what my skin needed, rather than just reading an article and buying something because someone else uses it.

Q: You had three jobs when you first moved to New York: an assistant in the fashion closet at Teen Vogue, dressing mannequins at a store and waitressing. How did you avoid burnout without spending a lot of money?

A: I was perpetually exhausted. I would just walk the block I lived on and cry the whole time. (Laughs.) But honestly, it really helped. I think when you’re working all these jobs and you’re hustling so hard and trying to stay focused and saying, “Keep it together, do what you need to do,” it really helps to let yourself go and have those feelings, then move past it.

Cooking has always been relaxing for me. Even if I didn’t have a lot of money, I really enjoyed making home-cooked meals. Cooking doesn’t have to be highbrow and prestigious. I’m very much from a family that is like, “Look, when our ancestors were slaves, they made all of these things without all the fancy tools and thermometers and gadgets that people have today, so you should be able to cook without those things as well.” I used to make a lot of pasta recipes; I spent time perfecting my cacio e pepe and Bolognese recipes because they were easy and cheap to make.

Q: What do you like to eat and drink now?

A: I don’t have time to eat breakfast, so it’s usually a black coffee right after the gym when I get home and then a green tea and hot water with lemon as soon as I get to my desk. I’ve been meal planning for lunch, so it’s been roasted chicken or salmon and vegetables.

A lot of it is based on mood. It’s winter, so I’m into Crock-Pot dishes. I’m a very intuitive cook; I never really make anything super exacting. I only started sharing my cooking on Instagram because I really enjoy cooking. There’s this stigma of not liking food in fashion because people are so concerned with not being sample size. I started to share my food stories in a little act of resistance.

Q: Was there pushback on the food stories? What do you aim to do by being open with your routines on social?

A: Some people have said rude things in the comments or in direct messages to me, like, “I can’t believe you eat all this stuff and still wear designer.” It’s all the more reason for me to show that this is something that I really enjoy. A few years ago, I probably would’ve taken it personally and cried in a corner, but now I’m like: “I like food, I don’t care what you have to say, and if you’re not enjoying this, then you can unfollow me.”

I don’t want to overshare, but I do want people to know I have a full routine of things that I have to do to make sure I’m a fully functioning human being.

Q: How do you unwind?

A: I need time to just be off. My rule of not going anywhere on the weekends has been the best wellness hack for me. I was committing to a lot of things with people during the week, and by the time the weekend would come, I was exhausted. Then you’re perpetually exhausted. It’s a big thing for me to have that space where I’m not engaging and I can just sit there and watch “Law and Order.”

Q: What role does fitness play in your life?

A: Fitness plays a super important role, but in the past few years, I’ve really put in an effort to find a balance and be positive about it without being so hard on myself. I’m hyper aware of eating anxieties and disorders that fashion can encourage and of wellness trends that really just promote diets. It’s all unhealthy and makes you feel bad about yourself. Now I work out because I want to take care of myself and because it helps me have energy.

Q: What would you tell young people about self-care and wellness?

A: We really want to make sure that people know that it’s okay to not feel okay. I think that the key is having some level of transparency: Here’s Lindsay, the editor in chief, and she’s tired today and she doesn’t feel like working out and she’s over it today, but she’s still going to try. There’s power in people knowing that it’s okay to feel like you’re not living your best life and being your best self all the time.

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