The history and legacy of Black supermodels and various fashion/beauty icons are at the center of a brand-new docuseries from YouTube and Vogue, aptly titled Supreme Models.
Per a press release sent to The Root, the six-part series, takes a look at the evolution of Black beauty and its impact on the fashion industry, the civil rights movement, the “Black is Beautiful” era and American culture. It’s also based on the book by the same name, Supreme Models: Iconic Black Women Who Revolutionized Fashion, published by journalist Marcellas Reynolds in 2019. The new project comes in partnership with YouTube Originals and YouTube’s Black Voices Fund with the first two episodes premiering on Vogue’s official YouTube channel on Monday with new episodes dropping every Monday in October.
The series will also feature commentary and personal stories from iconic supermodels from back then and now as well as fashion and beauty tastemakers such as Iman, Bethann Hardison, Joan Smalls, Indya Moore, Precious Lee, Pat Cleveland, Roshumba Williams, Edward Enninful, Chioma Nnadi, Anna Wintour, Cindy Bruna, Duckie Thot, Ebonee Davis, Halima Aden, Jourdana Phillips, Law Roach, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Marc Baptiste, Marielle Bobo, Mikki Garth-Taylor, Olivier Rousteing, Sam Fine, Sergio Hudson, Shalom Blac, Tabria Majors, Zac Posen and more.
In an interview with VoyageLA at the time of the book’s publishing, Reynolds spoke on the importance of putting this body of work together, harping on the lack of recognition of Black supermodels and beauty icons over the years and why it’s time the spotlight be put back on their contributions.
“In 1966, British Vogue was the first Vogue to put a black model, Donyale Luna, on the cover. That’s eight years before American Vogue put Beverly Johnson on its cover!,” Reynolds explained. “Angered, I wrote a scathing review of the book on Amazon; ‘Where is Veronica Webb, muse to Herb Ritts, who is one of the few black models ever to receive a cosmetics contract? Or Liya Kebede, the current face of Estée Lauder, who had an entire issue of Vogue Paris dedicated to her. And where is Tyra Banks? The model mogul! Few models have been more successful than Tyra!’ That lack of recognition of the triumphs, that’s why I wrote Supreme Models.”
“I hope that Supreme Models becomes a beautiful part of the conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion in fashion,” he concluded.