Black History Month: black model firsts

19 02 2009

donyale-lunaDonyale Luna

Claim to faim: She was the first notable Black model and the first Black model on the cover of Vogue (British edition) in 1966.

Brief bio: Born Peggay Ann Freeman, Donyale was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 1, 1945. Described as a weird child growing up, she was discovered by photographer David McCabe and moved to New York City. Donyale’s first magazine cover, a sketch of her, was on Harper’s Bazaar, in 1965. She also posed in nude photo layout in Playboy in 1975.

In addition to her modeling career, she was featured in several movies inculding Screen Test: Donyale Luna, Camp and Fellini Satyricon. Donyale died of a drug overdose in Rome, Italy.

240px-beverly_johnsonBeverly Johnson

Claim to fame: She was the first Black woman to grace the covers of Vogue (American edition) in 1974 and in 1975.

Brief bio: Beverly was born in Buffalo, NY on October 13, 1952 and aimed to be a lawyer when she was younger. She got into modeling when her friends suggested she try it while she was a student at Northeastern University.

Her first assignment was with Glamour Magazine, and her work increased from there. She has been on more than 500 magazine covers. Beverly’s appearance Elle Magazine and Vogue altered the beauty standard in fashion and by 1975, every major U.S. fashion designer started working with Black models.

In addition to her modeling career, she has written a book, Beverly Johnson’s Guide to a Life of Health and Beauty and started an acting career. Currently, she has a collection of hair wigs and extensions called Beverly Johnson Hair Products.

tyra_banks1Tyra Banks

Claim to fame: She was the first Black model to appear on Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition in 1996 and 1997.

Brief bio: Tyra was born Inglewood, California on December 4, 1973. After graduating high school, she planned to enroll at Loyola Marymount University. However, a few weeks before she began her freshman year, a French modeling scout noticed Tyra and offered her a chance to model in Paris.

In addition to her modeling career, which is now retired from, Tyra has written a book, Tyra’s Beauty Inside Out, created Tzone, a southern California camp designed to develop teenage girls’ self-esteem, produced one of the most popular reality TV shows, America’s Next Top Model and has made a name for herself as a talk show host with The Tyra Banks Show, for which she won an Emmy.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donyale_Luna, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Johnson, http://www.people.com/tyra_banks/biography

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