Beverly Johnson, the supermodel 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 proposed 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, which apologized 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 critized and rumors swirled that she would leave her job.
Johnson has appeared on 500 magazine covers but made history in August 1974 by being the first black woman to be on the cover of American Vogue, and was the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Elle France in 1975.
"Wow — after three decades, fashion’s leading arbiter has finally acknowledged that there may be a problem! Managing racism is one of the things the fashion industry does do well. Year after year, companies inflict harm against black culture while actively gouging it for inspiration and taking all of the profit," Johnson says in her op-ed.
Beverly Johnson's former publicist, James Hester has accused Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour of being rude to the supermodel. According to Page Six, the former publicist said that Vogue gave him the runaround when he tried to get her invited to the magazine's 100th anniversary party. He also says they only relented once he set up free performances for the party and at the event, he says he tried to introduce Wintour to Johnson, but she snubbed the model.
(Photo by Francesco Scavullo/Conde Nast via Getty Images)
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