She may have made her name as an ‘Awkward Black Girl’ but Issa Rae is awesome and alluring on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine‘s April 2019 Issue aimed at celebrating diverse beauties.

Serving up black girl magic, she looked ethereal in seriously glowy makeup, a plunging white PatBo maxi dress with a matching headwrap tucked over long braids.

The Little star sets the tone for the summer beauty trend we’ll be seeing all over Instagram soon – subtle lips, bold coloured eyeshadow smeared over and below the eyelids with a soft dewy finish.

In the other photos, she looked bold and beautiful styled by Jason Rembert in Marc Jacobs Spring 2019, in another shot, showing skin in a neon orange Versace number and finally a bright rainbow Valentino dress, all paired with fancy accessories and a rumor-sparking princess cut diamond that resembles an engagement ring.

Inside the issue, Issa talks about how she perceived beauty when she was much younger and not valuing physical appearances.

Read excerpts below:

On growing up dark-skinned
My parents helped me and they hurt me. My mom was extremely pro-Black, and I believed her. My dad is Senegalese, and I grew up around my dark-skinned cousins and just thought that they were the most beautiful women in the world. I was surrounded by beautiful dark people. And then middle school hit, and I was like, ‘Oh, they think I’m ugly.’ They think I’m big. They think I’m unattractive. I went back to my mom like, ‘What the f—k?! Y’all lied to me my whole life. What is this?!

On not valuing physical appearances
As corny as it sounds, I want you to just like my mind,” she says. “Learning that early on made me realize there’s no point in valuing the physical, because it wasn’t going to get me anywhere.

On being becoming influential in the beauty industry
I’ve definitely thought about middle school me looking through magazines and being perfectly content with the fact that my face wasn’t going to be used to sell makeup; that wasn’t my future. I just didn’t imagine that. So the fact that it happened is like, you just never f—ing know. And you should never discount anything. I think so many of us tend to be comfortable with what we’re not and complacent with what we’re not. You really don’t have to be. I didn’t solve world peace or anything—it’s not like that. But something that felt so small and intangible ended up being tangible. And that’s just the coolest thing in the world.

Read more from Issa Rae on

Photographer: Itaysha Jordan –@itayshaphoto 
Stylist: Jason Rembert – @jasonrembert
Hair: Felicia Leatherwood – @lovingyourhair
Makeup: Joanna Simkin – @joannasimkin
Manicure: Vontrell Jiles – @sparklev789 and Katalina Mitchelle – @katalinadoesnails