Supermodel Beverly Johnson made history when she appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1974, becoming the first Black woman to do so. But over four decades later, the 67-year-old pioneer, who grew up in Buffalo, New York, says there’s still much that needs to be addressed in the fashion industry and beyond. This is her story, as told to PEOPLE.
The first time I ever experienced racism, I was 12 or 13. We were riding our bikes in a white neighborhood and all the kids started throwing pop bottles at us. I heard them call us the N-word. That was the first time I really heard it. It really chipped away a little piece of my heart, but it also made me more determined.
When I started my modeling career in the 1970s, I wanted the top modeling agent. That was Eileen Ford. She said, “You’ll never be on