The insides of my soul literally screamed when supermodel Beverly Johnson walked into our office. She was just as regal, poised and stunning as I had imagined her. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 40 years since that groundbreaking moment when Beverly appeared as the first Black woman on the cover of American Vogue. Most people don’t know that just a year later, she also became the first black woman to appear on the cover of the French edition of ELLE.
Before Hollywood celebrities stole the crown as cover girls, models were the most important cover stars and were once the only ones who landed the covers of top publications. No other model is quite as important as Beverly Johnson. She broke barriers in the modeling world at a time when models of color were nonexistent. Beverly set a bar of excellence for todays’ Black supermodels, like Joan Smalls, Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn.
Beyond her modeling career, Johnson has branched out entrepreneurially with her Legendary Wavy line of 100% Virgin Remy Indian Hair which has received rave reviews, and has further established her brand as an leading influencer in style, especially among women of color.
In the video above, I had the pleasure of chatting with Beverly about all of her accomplishments. From the phone call about the Vogue cover that started her outstanding career, to her soon-to-be released tell-all memoirs that she says we will all be surprised to read–Beverly Johnson reminds us all why she was the first to do it.
Check out Beverly’s iconic magazine covers.