Tyra Banks and Beverly Johnson: Black Supermodels
Renowned supermodels such as Tyra Banks and Beverly Johnson and Tyra Banks have come forward to share their experiences of transforming the fashion industry’s runway.
In the September 2023 edition of Vogue magazine, the cover showcases today’s fashion industry models. It features a diverse lineup of Black models like Anok Yai and Precious Lee, alongside prominent figures such as Bella Hadid and Lourdes Leon. However, it was less than half a century ago, during the 1970s, that the first Black model ever graced the cover of Vogue.
Reflecting on the significance of this milestone, Johnson, who became the inaugural Black woman to appear on Vogue’s cover in 1974, expressed, “I am fully aware of the profound impact that Vogue cover had.” Her reflections were part of a collection of stories presented by The Cut on Tuesday as part of their fall fashion issue. Johnson’s appearance on the Vogue cover showcased her wearing a turquoise turtleneck with a tucked-in scarf.
Bass received feedback that she was too thin to walk on American runways, so she decided to showcase her talents in France during the 1970s. Givenchy, a renowned French luxury brand, extended an invitation to her to become one of their house models.
Reflecting on her experience, Bass mentioned that the designers in France and Italy admired certain qualities in Black American girls. They appreciated our carefree and vibrant spirit, which was new and captivating to them.
Even today, black women continue to break new ground in the world of magazines and modeling. Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom made history as the first rapper and transgender woman respectively to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition in July. Additionally, Nadine Ijewere achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first black female photographer to capture a photo for the cover of Vogue.
Johnson, when discussing her journey, emphasized the weight of being a trailblazer. The responsibility of being the first is always at the forefront of her mind, influencing her approach to anything she undertakes.