Beverly Johnson: Brains and Beauty Mattered in the 1970s

Beverly Johnson (Mark Davis/Getty Images for WIN)
Beverly Johnson (Mark Davis/Getty Images for WIN)

Beverly Johnson, the "first black supermodel," tells Glamour in its November issue that brains and beauty mattered when she started in the fashion industry in the 1970s, according to the Daily Mail.


Johnson, 60, recalls failing a typing test at a casting call in 1972 because she acted "like she couldn't even type," but won the job because of her natural and wholesome looks. She even landed on the cover of the magazine. 

Ms. Johnson went on to appear on 15 Glamour covers and made history as the first black woman to appear on the front of Vogue in August 1974. 

The New York native said that she received a lot advice from Naomi Sims at the beginning of her career.


Besides Glamour and Vogue, she has graced more than 500 magazine covers, including French Elle and Cosmopolitan.

As one of the highest-paid models in the world at the time, she transcended racial barriers with her work on the runway for Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Valentino.

She acted as a spokeswomen for Avon cosmetics in the late seventies and continued to branch out — publishing an advice book in 1981 and later moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. 

In 1995 came her first successful foray into the cosmetics business: the Beverly Johnson Skin Care System and was followed in 2012 by the Beverly Johnson Hair Collection, created for Target. 

Read more at the Daily Mail.

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