Monday, September 20, 2021

Beverly Johnson Talks about being the First Black Model on the Cover of Vogue

Marking the 40th anniversary of becoming the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Vogue Magazine, Beverly Johnson tells WWD’s  about the moment she first heard news of her cover, saying;

“I was in my first New York apartment on the East Side – mattress on the floor, candles. I threw on my jeans and ran to the newsstand. All these people were rushing to work trying to buy their papers so I had to wait.

Of course, I didn’t have any money on me. I told the guy that it was me on the cover and he kind of rolled his eyes like, ‘Oh lady please, if you were on the cover you would have enough money to buy the magazine.

I had to go to the phone booth …to call my mother collect in Buffalo. We were both screaming [with excitement], but I’m not sure my mother knew what I was talking about.”

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Beverly’s ’74 cover shot, lensed by photographer Francesco Scavullo, who said of the model: “Beverly Johnson is one of the most beautiful women I’ve had the privilege of photographing.”

Johnson had been told by her former modelling agent Eileen Ford that she’d never land a Vogue cover, so left the agency to sign with Wilhelmina Models. After working on a beauty shoot for the magazine, the model then received a call from her agency’s founder, Wilhelmina Cooper, who told her she was actually on the cover of the August 1974 issue.

Beverly, who is currently working on a number of projects, including a book, a documentary series, a handbag line and range of mineral makeup, also told WWD of today’s lack of diversity in the industry, saying;

“Sometimes we live in this very elitist bubble called the fashion industry. We have become really oblivious to what’s going on in the world… I like to think that is the reason.”

We at SPICE wish the history-making model a Happy 40th anniversary on her bench-marking success and will look out for her upcoming ventures.

Image source: Huffingtonpost.com, Kwekudee-tripdownmemorylane.blogspot.com

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