Donyale Luna..The First Black Model

21 02 2008

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.




11 responses

22 02 2008
Chic Noir

Her life is so sad. This woman’s beauty was beyond words.

23 02 2008

She was absolutely gorgeous!!! She puts alot of today’s models to shame!!!

31 03 2008
The First Black Movie Star: Nina Mae McKinney « Lipstick.lace.brassknuckles

[…] been a while since I gave a black history tidbit, so I figured since my post on Donyale Luna, the first black supermodel, was so popular, I would follow up with the first black movie star, […]

14 04 2008

I thought Ophelia DeVore was the first Black supermodel…

24 04 2008
donyale luna

[…] expect more. Before Beverly Johnson and Iman made their mark in the fashion world, there was the fir Donyale Luna, 1966.Donyale Luna, 1966. donyale Luna, 1966. Permalink &middot […]

26 05 2008
The Most Photographed Wedding Dress…Designed By A Black Woman « Lipstick.lace.brassknuckles

[…] or unknown.  So far I have featured Sara Baartman, Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, Claudette Colvin, Donyale Luna, and Nina Mae McKinney. This time around it’s dress designer Ann […]

9 06 2008
Jamal Williams

Thank you so very much on this article and this new discovery about this model who came to represent that self-hatred that many successful blacks adopt when they don’t want to be “models” for upcoming black artist. I am a writer and this is so interesting to me that I’ve already started writing a play about it.

Jamal Williams

23 10 2008

i love this website.

9 04 2009

thank u very much for giving so much information on Donyale luna , my fiancee was named after Donyale luna, she was born may 16, 1967 , an had very little information on the black icon whom carries her name very proudly

14 04 2009

Your welcome, wow thats amazing she is named after her, its such a gorgeous name. Glad to have given you more information on her;)

27 07 2015

The first black Satanic.. fixed it for ya.

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