Out today on Look Books is an interview I did with the legendary supermodel Beverly Johnson.
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Beverly Johnson: Proud to be a Legend
Many people are iconic but only a few are legendary and not many of these legends are alive to tell their stories. Today, Beverly Johnson is more active in her professional and personal life than ever. With a career that spans more than 40 years of history, Mrs. Johnson is a shining beacon of the modeling industry.
Being the first African American woman to be featured on the cover of Vogue, Beverly was given an opportunity to make a difference in the world not only for women of color, but to women in general. Proving that a successful modeling career goes beyond good looks, Beverly became the first “modelpreneur” launching books and a hair care and beauty line in partnership with Target.
Most recently Beverly added to her credits her very own reality TV show, entitled “Beverly’s Full House”, in which the development of her company and the relationship with her daughter Anansa are open for public viewing in what has become OWN’s second most watched show of the season.
What drove you to do this docu-series on OWN?
It was the perfect opportunity to have my daughter around me. I knew that my daughter would never consent to going into therapy or any of the other things I had been involved with all these years, and she loves reality shows, she got me into reality TV, so she was thrilled with the whole idea, and that’s why I pitched Oprah , it was a great way to get closer to my daughter and work in our relationship.
So, now you are working on this docu-series on your life and company, but looking back on your career you have been in film, now you are on TV, you’ve done runway, you’ve done advertising and more. What are the mediums that you worked with throughout your career that excite you the most?
Today digital media is something that really excites me, I love the podcasts, I read several blogs, I tweet, I Facebook; it’s really about sharing your feelings with people and there is a connection there. I believe that the internet has really made us able to connect with each other like we never have before.
Can you point out a moment in your career in which you look back and you say “this is it, now I have everything I could have asked for and I am happy!”?
I knew that being the first woman of color in the cover of Vogue was something that nobody would ever be able to take away from me because I was the first and Vogue was and still is such an important media, not only in fashion but in the culture of America. So I always said that if I never get to do anything else, I have achieved a huge accomplishment! And that was in the beginning of my career, so it was all uphill from there.
How did it make you feel; were you blown away? Because when you went to shoot the editorial, did you know it was going to be a cover?
No, in those days you never knew you would be the cover until you saw yourself in the stand. But I knew it was a big deal, it still is a big deal to be on the cover of Vogue, but I didn’t know what it meant to be the first woman of color on that cover, and what it meant for people of color around the world. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of responsibility to be thrust upon me at such a young age, but it gave me a purpose and kind of a road map of where I should go and how I should honor that achievement.
How do you feel about being called a legend, are you proud of the title?
What's not to like!? It's an honor to be acknowledged for your passion and work in life.