Beverly Johnson is the first African-American supermodel. Her stunning features and superstardom would eventually land her on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1974, making world history as the first black model to ever grace the acclaimed magazine’s cover, and forever changing the beauty ideal in the fashion world.
As a model in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, Beverly appeared on more than 500 magazine covers from Glamour and Cosmopolitan to Essence, Ebony and French Elle. She has thousands of editorial pages, and hundreds of advertising campaigns to her credit. Her success during the 70s and 80s transcended race as Beverly became a household name. She signed with the Ford Modeling agency and was one of the highest paid models in the industry in a very short period of time. Her work wasn’t limited to print; Beverly also worked the runway for such designers as Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Halston.
In the 1970s, Beverly embarked on an acting career appearing in such feature films as Ashanti, Deadly Hero and The Baron. She continued her acting career throughout the 1990s and more recently, appearing in movies, including Meteor Man, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon, 54, How to Be a Player and Crossroads. She also added TV to her portfolio, playing guest roles on popular shows as Martin, Law and Order, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns. For two seasons Beverly appeared as a judge on the reality show She’s Got the Look, which launched in the spring of 2008.
In the 1990s, Beverly appeared in Revlon’s “The Most Unforgettable Women in the World” legendary campaign. She also penned two books, Beverly Johnson’s Guide to a Life of Health and Beauty and True Beauty: Secrets of Radiant Beauty for Women of Every Age and Color.
Throughout her career, Beverly has been active in charity work and speaking out about health issues. In the 1980s Beverly worked as an AIDS activist and continues to this day to support health issues affecting gay men. During the Clinton era, Beverly was appointed the Ambassador of Goodwill to the Fashion Industry to help with the elimination of sweatshops. In 2008 she became the national spokesperson for Ask4Tell4, a campaign that seeks to educate women about the options available to treat uterine fibroids, a painful condition that affected Beverly’s life for more than 10 years. In the fall of 2008 Beverly appeared on NBC’s Today Show to discuss the protocol for the Ask4Tell4 campaign.
A media mainstay, Beverly is often called upon to speak about beauty, fashion, style, hair, fitness and health. She has interviews with many news outlets and TV shows, including OPRAH, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and The Nate Berkus Show.
Beverly paved the way for future African-American women in the fashion industry and set the standard for models venturing outside the industry. She would eventually become the first “modelpreneur” with the launch of the Beverly Johnson Hair Collection. For 2012, Beverly will debut a new hair product line that will be exclusively available at TARGET stores across the country.
In addition to her numerous ongoing projects, 2012 will be a very busy year for Beverly. She appears in Tyler Perry’s new movie Good Deeds, which will be released in the spring. And in the second quarter of 2012, Beverly will launch her new reality show, Beverly’s Full House, on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The Jackie Robinson of modeling, Beverly’s influence truly spans the globe. The New York Times named her as one of the “20th Century’s 100 Most Influential People in the Fashion Industry.” She was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine’s 50th Anniversary issue, the venerable publication that gave Beverly her first break in the 1970s. The late Ruth Whitney, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, proclaimed that Beverly had “broken all color barriers.” In 2008, she received a Thurgood Marshall award for style and innovation, and in 2009, her historic Vogue magazine cover was featured in the “Models as Muse” exhibit at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
An avid golfer, Beverly plays to a 10 handicap and can be found nearly every day on the golf course. She lives in Rancho Mirage, California with her two collies Flame and Hollywood.