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Kristin Booker • July 14, 2009

Daily Style Icon: Beverly Johnson

For this week on Fashion.Style.Beauty, I wanted to pay homage to style icons that had a direct impact on me as a woman of color. Today’s icon is legendary model Beverly Johnson.

Beverly made history when she became the first Black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in 1974. Even though I was quite young, I remember this day vividly. My mother, an American Vogue subscriber since the 60’s, brought the issue in the house and began to cry. She showed me the magazine and said, “Kristi, this means you can do anything, sweetheart. Anything.” I remember that moment despite being barely three because I think it was the first time I’d ever seen my mother cry, much less over her favorite magazine. We still have that issue in the house, wrapped in plastic, forever a symbol of the moment when light shone through the fashion and beauty wall.

Beverly made huge careers possible for Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks and countless catwalk stunners and print girls who came after her. Honored by Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball in 2006 and named by The New York Times as one of the 20th Century’s most influential people in fashion, Beverly continues to be a driving force in the industry, currently serving as a judge on TV Land’s over-35 modeling competition, She’s Got The Look.

When I think of Beverly Johnson, I almost think of slinky v-necks. I might work my own Beverly Johnson moment in this Navy Blue Sexy Halter Top($20). Paired with dark rinse jeans and long earrings with a fabulous blow-out, I might be ready for my own cover girl moment.

Beverly, thank you for all you have done and continue to do on behalf of women everywhere and thanks for giving my mother and me proof that really, if you want it badly, you can really have it all.

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