Beverly Johnson (born October 13, 1952) is an American model, actress, and businesswoman. She made history when she rose to fame as the first black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in 1974, paving the way for black women in fashion, and future models like Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. Johnson was honored in 2006 at Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball along with Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Tina Turner and other female African Americans in entertainment, civil rights, and the arts. The New York Times named Johnson one of the 20th century's most influential people in fashion.
Born into a middle class family in Buffalo, New York, Johnson was a champion swimmer in her youth and aspired to be a lawyer. She was studying criminal justice at Northeastern University when, at the suggestion of friends, she tried her hand at modeling. She quickly landed an assignment with Glamour magazine and began working steadily.Johnson would go on to grace more than 500 magazine covers including her groundbreaking Vogue cover in August 1974. Johnson's appearance on the cover changed the beauty ideal in fashion and by 1975, every major American fashion designer began using African American models.
In addition to modeling, Johnson has also authored a book, Beverly Johnson's Guide to a Life of Health and Beauty, and embarked on an acting career.She has also had roles in Ashanti (1979), The Meteor Man (1993), Def Jam's How to Be a Player (1997), and Crossroads (2002). She has also appeared in guest spots on several television series including Law & Order, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and The Parent 'Hood. She had a brief singing career releasing one album in 1979 on Buddah Records.
Johnson serves as a celebrity judge on the TV Land series, She's Got the Look, a reality series where women over 35 compete for a modeling contract and magazine spread. In Addition Johnson has been linked to actors Christopher Noth and she also owns a line of lace wigs called the beverly johnson wigs.
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