Beverly Johnson “Naked”

What woman worth her weight in fashion magazines from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, (even the 2000’s) doesn’t remember trailblazing supermodel Beverly Johnson gracing the pages and many of the covers of every top magazine?

The answer is none! 

As a former fashion magazine junkie I remember her well.  She was a super model and I thought she was super stunning – she still is. 

Johnson rose to fame when she made world history by becoming  the first black model to grace the cover of American Vogue and French Elle in 1974, forever changing the beauty ideal in the fashion world.

During her long career she managed to grace over 500 magazine covers and remains one of the most iconic figures in the world of fashion and modeling.

Now she’s coming to Palm Springs for the World Premiere of her one woman show “Beverly Johnson, NAKED.”  Presented by Palm Springs Women in Film and Television and the Palm Springs Cultural Center.

Co-written by Johnson and *Joshua Ravetch, Naked! tells Johnson’s story beginning with her ground breaking photo on the cover of Vogue Magazine. This empowering live performance will take place at the Palm Springs Cultural Center on June 2nd at 6pm.

“Her life took an unexpected turn when she broke her silence, went public, and revealed that she, too, was drugged by Bill Cosby,” said Josh Ravetch, director of the show. That disclosure became part of the key momentum that, in-part, helped to launch the #MeToo movement.

Johnson remains one of the most influential African-Americans in America. Named as one of the “20th Century’s 100 Most Influential People in the Fashion Industry” by The New York Times and listed as Oprah Winfrey’s “25 top legends.”

Her impact is truly worldwide but she’s also an acclaimed author, actress, media icon, businesswoman, loving mother and grandmother.

Her most notable and personal testament is imparted in her 2015 memoir, “The Face That Changed It All,” a New York Times Best Seller. Devoted to sharing her luxury taste with her audience, BEVERLY JOHNSON LUXURY LIFESTYLE BRAND is dedicated to present the finest of beauty, health, fashion, home and lifestyle.

In 2016, Johnson was honored by The Palm Springs Walk of Stars with the 405th Star Dedication award.

I was really looking forward to seeing the show and also meeting her.  However, I’ll have left Palm Springs before the time her show arrives here in June. Hopefully I’ll get another chance.

In good company – (taken from Eventbrite, Palm Springs Cultural Center):

*Joshua Ravetch is best known for his collaboration with actress/writer Carrie Fisher, co-creating and directing her in The Geffen Playhouse’s world premiere of Wishful Drinking, Ms. Fisher’s smash-hit one-woman-show. The play enjoyed an extended run on Broadway at Studio 54 and was adapted into a special for HBO. Mr. Ravetch was collaborating with Ms. Fisher to the sequel to Wishful Drinking: Wishful Drinking Strikes Back, a Geffen Playhouse commission, at the time of her passing.

Also at The Geffen playhouse, Ravetch co-wrote and directed Dick Van Dyke in his first-ever one-man show, Step in Time! A Musical Memoir. In the show, Van Dyke took audiences to the rooftops of London for a magical journey from Mary Poppins to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang including hilarious moments from th Dick Van Dyke Show involving a certain ottoman.

Palm Springs Women in Film & Television (PSWIFT ) is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2001, dedicated to empowering, promoting, educating and nurturing its members – both women and men – involved in the entertainment, communication and media industries.

The Palm Springs Cultural Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to incubate, produce and encourage arts and cultural programs in order to leverage the unique power of creativity to open minds, bridge what divides us, and discover what connects us. As an organization, The Palm Springs Cultural Center is also at the forefront of recognizing the interconnection between the cultural arts and food culture, and their combined importance to the vitality, collective consciousness and sustainability of the community.

For tickets to the show:


style ICON:  IMAN – sensational at 60!

The Somali Supermodel with a story goes to prove that real style has no age.   She turned sixty in July and looks as good as ever. iman2What do we know about IMAN besides the obvious fact that she’s beautiful with perfect bone structure?  This is where style meets substance.

For me personally, the more I find out about her the more I like her.  A friend of mine was invited to an event at her and David Bowie’s house in New York going back a few years now and of course I asked “what was she like?”  The short answer was “very gracious” as she escorted my friend around their home.

She was born Iman Abdulmajid, the daughter of a diplomat and left her native Somalia as a refugee.

When she was a student at Nairobi University, fashion photographer Peter Beard approached her to ask about taking her picture.  She had never even seen a fashion magazine before.

She soon left Kenya, to make her first print appearance in Vogue.  She dealt with racism in the modelling industry at the time.iman1She soon became a familiar face on runways around the world and one of the first black supermodels. Iman paved the wave for all African-born beauties wanting to break into the high-fashion world.

Iman officially retired from modeling in 1989, but she has continued to influence the industry.

Her eponymous cosmetics line caters to women with skin colors that are underserved by mainstream makeup.

She is an actor, the author of two books and an outspoken activist for human rights causes.

She’s a keeper. She has been married to David Bowie for two decades.iman4

Photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, 1995
Photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, 1995

In 2010, she received the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

She continues to inspire

A tiny portion of her story:

On living as the daughter of the Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia: I studied in Italian when I was in boarding school, so overnight when we moved to Saudi Arabia we were taught in English. I speak five languages besides mine. I went to school in Egypt because girls weren’t allowed to go to school in Saudi Arabia. It’s very restricting, especially for girls, we’re not allowed to go anywhere.

On becoming a refugee from Saudi Arabia: Imagine: we have our own chauffeur, our own car, we’re going everywhere with security, as [the family of the] ambassador. Then Somalia had a revolution and it became a military regime. All embassies were closed, and all of a sudden people my father worked with disappeared. So my mom decided, ‘Why would we wait for that to happen?’ So, in the middle of the night, she gets a van, puts us in with nothing but the clothes on our backs and we drove to the border of Kenya and crossed on foot. I literally have two pictures of myself growing up. I am the face of the refugee. The refugees are, 99% of the time, people who have left their countries for fear for their lives. It’s not people who want to come to other countries and be pariahs. That’s not what a refugee is.

On being discovered by Peter Beard: I was walking to [my job as a] waitress and Peter Beard appeared and started talking to me and asked my name and I thought he was trying to pick me up. He followed me and asked, have you ever been photographed? And I’d never seen a magazine in my life—except my brothers were teenagers and they had Playboy. And I said, “I’m not that kind of girl.” He talked about his profession and I didn’t pay attention and then he said, “I’ll pay you,” and then I stopped. He said, “How much?” I said, “$8000.” (That was two year’s tuition.) And he said, “OK.” I brought two girlfriends, he took the pictures, I thought, “That was an easy job, $8,000.” He wrote me a check, I cashed it immediately.

On her age: We all have friends and loved ones who say 60’s the new 30. No. Sixty’s the new 60.

Source for her story: taken from her interview “Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis”

Her cosmetics line:

photos: google images