October 7, 2009 at 11:13 am , by Sonia Harmon
Thirty-five years ago, Beverly Johnson was the first Black model to grace the cover of Vogue. Since then she’s been on more than 500 magazine covers, acted in films and television shows, started a best-selling wig and hair extension line and penned two books. That’s a pretty impressive resume, but what we love about Beverly is that throughout her career she’s used her celebrity to bring awareness to a number of issues, including AIDS prevention, the elimination of sweatshops and Ask4Tell4, a campaign that educates women about treatment options for uterine fibroids.
What’s even more refreshing is that despite her supermodel status, she’s just like us; she’s a proud mom (her daughter, plus-size model Anansa Sims, has an MBA and works in finance), her favorite sport is golf, and she loves to curl up with a good book.
What makes me a lady: Every time I’m met with adversity—whether in a relationship or in the business world—my very first impulse is to remind myself that I’m a lady rather than blow up at someone. My mother, my true beacon of femininity, always taught me to carry myself with elegance and class in a difficult situation.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Knowing that I have something to do, but first putting in a round of golf before actually conquering the task. I reward myself before I actually do the task.
Three things on my life list: 1. To really learn French. I took French for five years, lived in France and I had a French boyfriend who didn’t speak English, but I still can’t speak French fluently. I can read it pretty well, but I really want my French to be fluent. 2. To shoot under par. Par is 72 and I currently shoot 75. I’m getting close! 3. To win the club championship at my course, PGA West in La Quinta, CA or at Rancho Park in Los Angeles.
If I could have a superpower, it would be: I would want to be able to spread love. Not like a Cupid, but in more of a hippie sentiment where we are all really “into” one another and have good things to say.
Ladies I admire: The late Naomi Sims was a huge role model to me. A true trailblazer, I wouldn’t have had my career in modeling if it wasn’t for her. Michelle Obama is the epitome of grace and style. I adore her. I also really admire Hillary Clinton. She’s brilliant, of course, but also for the way she handled herself during that difficult time with her husband.
Photo courtesy of Fadil Berisha.