theGrio’s 100: Salaam Coleman Smith, the Style network’s savior

theGRIO's 100 - Smith, 42, has been running NBCUniversal's Style network for the last six years...

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Who is Salaam Coleman Smith?

Smith, 42, has been running NBCUniversal’s Style network for the last six years. During her tenure at the channel she has spearheaded channel-defining hits such as Giuliana & Bill and Jerseylicious. She graduated from the National Cathedral School in Washington D.C. back in 1987, and following a stint at Stanford University she put in work at MTV and E! before winding up in charge of Style.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

Under Smith’s leadership, the Style network has grown increasingly popular with audiences and distinguished itself as a brand. According to the Hollywood Reporter Style bested its previous record ratings in 2012 and they’re continuing to branch out with spin-offs of their already established hit series. According to a network press release, “Style has nearly doubled its women 18-34 viewership year-over-year, an accomplishment that Coleman Smith says shows how its programming ‘speaks to a next generation of women.'”

“I really felt that when I first joined the network it was very much a high end fashionista channel, and it wasn’t something that everyday women could feel represented them,” Smith told the Examiner in 2011. “We used to describe it as a size 2 network in a size 14 world. I think for me, that whole democratization of style and that whole recognition that every woman is beautiful, every woman has her own sense of who she is, and every woman wants to feel good and look good, is part of what I want the Style brand to represent. has described Style as the “fastest-growing network for women” and Smith has been consistently been ranked high on lists of the most powerful women in the media business.

What’s next for Coleman Smith?

Coleman looks to keep up her reputation as a burgeoning fashion and style icon in the new year. Meanwhile, her network will play host to an upcoming project being put together by pop star Rihanna, a fashion series called Styled to Rock.

theGrio is an NBC News website which is owned by NBCUniversal