The first black model to appear on the cover of U.S. Vogue shares her experiences with racism, recalling pool being drained after she got into it during a photoshoot.
AceShowbiz –Beverly Johnson has spoken about about the racism she’s experienced throughout her modelling career.
The 67-year-old model, who made history as the first black woman on the cover of U.S. Vogue in 1974, told People about one instance where, after a fashion shoot, a pool was drained because she is black.
“What you have to realise is that I was the only black girl on every shoot,” Beverly shared. “Once in the 1970s, we were at a five-star hotel. I got into the pool. And all of a sudden, the editor came out and made everybody get out.”
Remembering that they immediately “drained the pool,” Beverly said, “Twenty years later, one of the models told me it was because of me. But I had blocked it out. In order to survive, I would make myself not react. Like Teflon.”
Draining pools is a historic racist practice, with pool attendants historically asking Black Americans to provide “health certificates” proving they were disease-free.
Beverly, who recently got engaged to partner Brian Maillian, also opened up about how she used to do her own make-up and hair on the shoots because there was no one trained to work with black skin and hair, an issue many modern day black models still battle with.
“The people they hired had no idea what to do with my hair. So I’d go to the bathroom and wet my hair or slick it back with Vaseline and put it in a chignon,” she recalled. “Same with make-up – I’d do my own.”
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