50 years after being first Black model on cover of Vogue, Johnson takes to the stage to tell her story

Abu Mubarik January 12, 2024
Beverly Johnson's Vogue cover from 1974. Photo via CBS NEWS

Beverly Johnson has made a name for herself in the fashion world, becoming the first-ever Black model to be on the cover of Vogue in 1974. In an interview with CBS Mornings, she noted she didn’t know she would be on the cover while shooting the photo.

“In those days, you never knew if you were on the cover until you were on the cover,” she recounted in the interview. According to her, she was prompted by her agent that she was on the cover of Vogue and had to rush to the newsstand despite not having enough money.

She now reflects on that episode with pride and amazement. “I really love it. I’m so proud,” said Johnson. What is more, she noted that it took time for her to understand the history she was making.

“It wasn’t until I was introduced as the first Black woman on the cover of Vogue that it hit me,” she said. “I literally went and studied this whole thing about racism,” said Johnson. Despite growing up in Buffalo N.Y. in an all-White neighborhood, she was willing to understand the “responsibilities and implications” of her role.

“I didn’t know the depths of that. I used to watch the civil rights movement on my black and white television, and that’s why I wanted to become a lawyer. So the whole thing kind of collided,” she said.

Fifty (50) years later, she is bringing her life to the stage in her one-woman off-Broadway show, “Beverly Johnson: In Vogue.” The show takes an intimate look into her journey as a supermodel, her relationships, and her role in the #MeToo movement, according to ABC News. The play began on Tuesday and will run until January 28.

She started the show in California right before COVID-19 before she decided to do it right off Broadway.

Today, Johnson is loving life as a grandma. “It is the most delicious time of my life,” she said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: January 12, 2024

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