Beverly Johnson Was Always: The supermodel has recalled being the only Black woman on a number of sets and even horrifyingly remembered how when she got in the pool on the set of a fashion shoot, everyone was asked to get out and the pool drained at the five-star hotel.
She said: ”When I started my modeling career in the 1970s, I wanted the top modeling agent. That was Eileen Ford. She said, ‘You’ll never be on the cover of Vogue magazine.’ So I moved to the rival Wilhelmina agency. I got the cover.
I had worked for it and prayed for it, and now I had to honor it. What you have to realize is that I was the only Black girl on every shoot. Once in the 1970s, we were at a five-star hotel.
Beverly Johnson Was Always ”The Only Black Girl” On Fashion Shoots
I got into the pool. And all of a sudden, the editor came out and made everybody get out. They drained the pool. 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.”
And the 67-year-old supermodel revealed that behind the scenes, it was much the same too – with few, if any, Black makeup artists or Black hairstylists.
She added to People magazine: ”Back then, there were no Black makeup artists or Black hairstylists. 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.
Same with make-up – I’d do my own. At one shoot, the makeup artist was so stoned, his hands were shaking. I went to my editor and said, ‘I don’t want this guy around my eyes with a Black pencil.’ I recommended Joey Mills, a Black makeup artist.
They couldn’t believe I could book someone so easily. He was extraordinary and went to do makeup for women of many skin tones. You have to have championed.”