I had to get one last tidbit on Black History Month in before the month ended, but of course I don’t need to save these for the month of February so expect more. Before Beverly Johnson and Iman made their mark in the fashion world, there was the first noted black model, Donyale Luna.
Donyale moved from Detroit to New York to pursue modeling and became the first black model on the cover of Vogue in 1966. Her hand is shown covering her face on the cover to not offend the regular readers at the time.
At only 20 years old,”Time” magazine called 1966 “The Luna Year” after Donyale due to her tall, thin frame and frequent use of blue contacts and a blond wig that they related to a moon that would “remain on high for many a season”.
The media’s interest in her mixed heritage made her uncomfortable and she was known for being secretive with the subject.
Unprofessional behavior resulted in the decline of her career, and a drug overdose resulted in her death in 1979. Ironically she has unintentionally opened the doors for black models that have come after her although she attempted to distance herself from the community throughout her life. For more on Donyale, click here.