Beverly Johnson, the model who was the first black woman to appear on the cover of American Vogue, has called for publisher Condé Nast to make it mandatory for the company to interview at least two black people for influential editorial positions within the company.
Johnson raised the idea in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post, which was written in response to editor-in-chief Anna Wintour’s internal memo, released last week, which apologised for not giving enough space or ways to elevate “black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators”. Wintour’s remarks in the context of the exclusive, largely white culture at Condé Nast were criticised and rumours swirled she would leave her job.
Johnson wrote that she proposes the Beverly Johnson Rule, which would see at least two black people being “meaningfully” interviewed for “influential positions”. She wrote that this would include jobs on the board of directors, “C-suite executives”, top editorial jobs and other influential roles.
Of Wintour’s remarks, Johnson wrote: “Wow – after three decades, fashion’s leading arbiter has finally acknowledged that there may be a problem!”
The former model added that she wanted to “move from being an icon to an iconoclast and continue fighting the racism and exclusion that have been an ugly part of the beauty business for far too long”.