Today, ESSENCE reveals the “The Modern Muse” duo, Keke Palmer and Sergio Hudson, as the cover stars of ESSENCE Magazine’s September/October Black Fashion Issue. This duo redefines glamour in 2023 and amplifies the revolutionary act of dressing a Black woman. ESSENCE Magazine continues to highlight stories of Black women who spark important conversations and leave impactful trails. The 2023 ESSENCE Black Fashion Issue (September/October) will hit newsstands on August 28th. 


Keke’s Quotes:

  • “I think my breastfeeding journey was also very empowering, because it was so difficult. And I wanted to give up at so many different points, but I just kept pushing myself and kept trying to figure it out. So the relationship I had with my son during that process empowered me to get back up and do things for myself again.”
  • “I’m gonna get out there and experience everything again, and I’m still gonna be there for my boy. That kind of resolve built so much confidence and so much strength in me. I just got this overwhelming sense that I can do anything.”
  • “Sergio being beside me made the whole thing that much better, because he was acting like my mom, Sharon. He was like, ‘Get out there and talk to these people. You need to work the room. These people need to see how good you look.’ He was breathing so much life into me. It makes me feel a little bit emotional now, talking about it, because I honestly feel like he brought me back to the world, honey. He really did.”

Sergio Hudson’s Quotes:

  • “Until now, the only muse I ever had a relationship with was my mom,” says Hudson. But when Keke and I first met, immediately there was this click. We were right there. She said she had this immediate trust in me, and all I really wanted was to make her look as beautiful as she is. She inspires me. Her talent is limitless.”
  • “I think the designer-muse relationship is like give and take” 
  • “She pours into me, and then I pour into her and onto her. I see a vision of who she is and where she should be, style-wise.” 
  • “She’s brought new joy into what I do—because sometimes when you get into this business, you can lose your joy in what you’re doing.” I had found myself in that place right before the Met Gala. And 
  • “I feel like my relationship with Keke is a gift. It rejuvenated me. It was like, Okay, this is what you need to be doing. This is where you need to be going. Keke got me excited about fashion again.”


Photographed by Shaniqwa Jarvis 

Styled by Corey Stokes

Keke Hair by Tamika Gibson using The Hair Diagram

Keke Makeup by Kenya Alexis using 111SKIN at Opus Beauty

Keke Nails by Rhayne Lodevico

Sergio Grooming by Ivan Castro using Le Métier De Beauté and MANTL

Set Design by Carlos Lopez at Winston Studios

Set Design Assistant: Julia Choi & Iman Jordan

Photo Assistants: Phil Sanchez, Scott Turner, and Patrick Molina

Digitech: Zach Callahan

Tailor: Shirlee Idzakovich 

Hair Assistant: Keshaun Williams

Stylist Assistant: Kristtian Chevere and Victoria Jackson

Production Managers: Alaura Wong and Christina Najar 

Production Assistants: Malek Mahones, Jai Wilson, and Sylvia Barjolo

Shot at Studios60

Post Production by picturehouse + thesmalldarkroom

Production by The Morrison Group


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