There’s not a soul alive who doesn’t aspire to age as gracefully as Beverly Johnson. The first Black model to grace the cover of American Vogue in 1974, she looks almost exactly the same now as she did then. At 68-years-young, she’s seemingly cracked the code for locating the fountain of youth, leaving everyone asking “what’s the secret?” And while model Beverly Johnson says there’s no one isolated trick to flawless skin, these days, she’s relying on Retrouvé, a luxury natural skin care brand, to keep her remaining youthful.
I got to speak to Johnson as well as Retrouvé founder Jami Morse Heidegger, who gave me all the details on this exciting partnership. Heidegger says that long before they connected about beauty, the two were frequently connecting about social issues. “We started working on a few projects together, including a charity event where I asked Beverly, and she very generously agreed, to present me with a Lifetime Award that I received at Project Angel Food,” she tells TZR. She says that they briefly discussed a partnership, but in the midst of the pandemic and social unrest, they chose to focus on more pertinent issues than beauty.
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.
Fashion today wouldn’t look the same without supermodel Beverly Johnson. Since she began her career as a teen in the 1970s, she’s opened doors for Black models and made the industry a more inclusive space.
As the first African-American model to cover Vogue in 1974, Johnson became a pioneer figure. Nearly 50 years later, she continues to advocate for diverse representation in luxury fashion and beauty, using her voice to call out the industry’s racism problem. This past summer, as the Black Lives Matter movement gained global support, Johnson penned an op-ed in The Washington Post expressing how the optics of including Black models on the runway or in campaigns obscures the exclusion of people of color behind-the-scenes.