Beverly Johnson
Photo: Redferns/Getty Images
PAGE 5
Beverly Johnson revolutionized modeling when she became the first African-American woman to grace the cover of Vogue magazine. This achievement meant so much to Beverly because for her, Vogue is "the bible of the fashion industry." Oprah remembers Beverly's cover as a "major deal" for African Americans. "It meant possibility. It meant movement. It meant hope," Oprah says.

Funny thing was, when Beverly shot the cover, she says she didn't realize she was making history. "Not until the press started calling," Beverly says. "It was such a huge responsibility for a 22 or whatever-I-was-year-old woman. I just wanted to be a model."

Being a young "it" girl had its dangers too. When Beverly was starting out, she says she had issues with body image. At one point, this 5'9'' model weighed just 103 pounds. "Everybody kept saying how fabulous I looked and how chiseled to the bone and gorgeous [I was]," Beverly says.

Beverly's mother set her straight about her weight. "It wasn't until my mom dragged me out of the bathtub and took me in front of this three-way mirror that she had in her room that I went, 'Oh,'" Beverly says. "My bones were sticking out in the back."

At 25, Beverly says she also suffered from a midlife crisis and worried that her career would soon come to an end. "At that time, the careers were five, six years, and you were in and out, and that was scary—not knowing what you were going to do after this," she says. But, Beverly pushed past her fears and became stronger. "I always feel like it was one of my things that made me grow up and made me try to start developing other parts of myself," she says.
FROM: Supermodel Legends
Published on February 04, 2011

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