Barbara Cheeseborough, ESSENCE’s First Cover Model, Dies At 67

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Essence Barbara Cheeseborough

Barbara Cheeseborough, best known as the first model to cover ESSENCE magazine in 1970, has died from colon cancer.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the 67-year-old beauty was living in Pomona, Calif. at the time of her death on Thursday, October 24. She is surveyed by her her husband, photographer William Edward Cheeseborough, and daughter, Sia Suon Cheeseborough Bey.

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Barbara left behind a legacy of excellence in the fashion world. She started modeling in Philly after graduating from South Philadelphia High School, and shortly after tying the knot in 1966, she took her big dreams to New York City.

“Well, I tried New York and it wasn’t easy,” she said in an undated early interview. “No one wanted a new girl. But I kept trying and began to get booked more and more.”

She went on to land the covers of Vogue, Bazaar, Redbook, Cosmopolitan and many other high-fashion publications during 20-year career.

Cheeseborough’s sister-in-law, Carrie Heard, described her as “a beautiful person, kind, very giving.”

“Everybody loved her,” she told the Philadelphia Daily News.

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Funeral services were held on November 8th at Mount Airy Baptist Church in Philadelphia.

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