first black supermodel

Luna in 1973.

Donyale Luna

Donyale Luna became the first black supermodel nearly 50 years ago.

At the height of her career, the New York Times called Luna “a stunning Negro model whose face had the hauteur and feline grace of Nefertiti.” The designer Stephen Burrows recalled that “she was just one of those extraordinary girls.” And in 1966, when Beatrix Miller, the editor of British Vogue,chose her as the first-ever black model for that magazine’s cover, it was because of “her bite and personality.” Bethann Hardison, another ascendant model, remembers that “no one looked like her. She was like a really extraordinary species.” Soon, Luna became one of the first black models to attain superstar status in Europe, photographed by the legendary photographer David Bailey, famed for his images of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

David McCabe, known for photographing celebrities like Twiggy and Andy Warhol, recognized that Luna had something special the first time he saw her in 1963. “I was on a photo assignment in Detroit, photographing Ford cars [and] there was a school nearby,” he recalled. “I was struck by this almost 6-foot-tall beautiful girl – around 14-years-old at the time – wearing her Catholic uniform. She stopped to see what was going on.” He told her that he was a photographer for magazines like Mademoiselle and Glamour and that, if she was ever in New York, she should call him. In 1964, he got that call, and sent the ensuing photos to various agencies. “I also called Richard Avedon,” he remembers. “I said you’ve got to see this girl. She’s just unbelievable.” Soon Avedon began photographing her, too, eventually signing her to a one year contract.

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The Legendary Pat Cleveland is One of the First Black Supermodels

Pat Cleveland was discovered at 14 by a Vogue editor on the subway. Pat initially attained success in the 1960s and 1970s and was one of the first African-American models within the fashion industry to achieve prominence as a runway model and print model.

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Trans women of color. From top to bottom; Isis King(Model,actress, and designer) Amiyah Scott(Urban/Hair Model) Laverne Cox (Actress and trans activist) Shanice"Ebony" Wills(Participant in the Underground Ballroom scene) Janet Mock (Writer,and trans activist) Tracey “Afrika” Norman (One of the first black trans supermodels aka “Baby Beverly”)*Side note Tracey is the fierce woman with the big hair*

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Donyale Luna became one of the first black models to attain superstar status in Europe, photographed by the legendary photographer David Bailey, famed for his images of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. She was the first Black Supermodel. in 1966, when Beatrix Miller, the editor of BritishVogue,chose her as the first-ever black model for that magazine’s cover, it was because of “her bite and personality". Famous her relationship with rocker Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Luna also appeared in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.

Those were the days, today we have Kanye West and Kim Kardashian smh. 

PAYING TRIBUTE TO "FIRST BLACK SUPERMODEL" NAOMI SIMS

FASHION NEWS:  Before Beverly Johnson, Iman, Naomi Campbell or Tyra, there was NAOMI SIMS

It’s been three years (August 1, 2009) since the pioneering cover girl died from cancer, at the age of 61.  Naomi Sims, regarded as the “first black supermodel,” appeared on the cover of a 1967 New York Times fashion magazine and Ladies Home Journal in November 1968.  

Designer Halston told The New York Times in 1974, “Naomi was the first.  She was the greatest ambassador for all black people.  She broke down all the social barriers.”

After enjoying five years as a successful model for top designers like Halston, Fernando Sánchez, Teal Traina, and Giorgio di Sant'Angelo, Sims launched what became a multimillion dollar beauty empire with her wig and cosmetic lines. 

Today we pay tribute to the fashion icon - Ms. Naomi Sims