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Beverly Johnson
2007 Beverly Johnson.jpg
Johnson in 2007
Beverly Ann Johnson

(1952-10-13) October 13, 1952 (age 70)
Nationality American
Alma mater Northeastern University
  • Model
  • actress
  • singer
  • businesswoman
Years active 1970–present
Known for First African-American model on Vogue cover, August 1974
Children 1
Modeling information
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Hair color Dark brown
Eye color Brown

Beverly Ann Johnson (born October 13, 1952) is an American model, actress, singer, and businesswoman. Johnson rose to fame when she became the first African-American model to appear on the cover of American Vogue in August 1974. In 1975, Johnson became the first black woman to appear on the cover of the French edition of Elle. In 2012, Johnson was the star of the reality series Beverly's Full House that aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). The New York Times named Johnson one of the 20th century's most influential people in fashion in 2008.

Early life and career

Born the first of two children to Gloria Johnson, a surgical technician, Johnson was raised in a middle-class family in Buffalo, New York. During her youth, Johnson was a champion swimmer and aspired to be a lawyer. Johnson attended Bennett High School, graduating in 1969. After high school, Johnson went on to study criminal justice at Northeastern University. While in college, Johnson tried modeling while on summer break in 1971. She quickly landed an assignment with Glamour and began working steadily. She went on to appear on more than 500 magazine covers, including the August 1974 issue of Vogue, becoming the magazine's first African-American cover model for the US edition, after Donyale Luna's 1966 British Vogue cover. Her appearance on the cover changed the beauty ideal in US fashion, and by 1975, every major American fashion designer had begun using African-American models.

In addition to modeling, Johnson has also written the books Beverly Johnson's Guide to a Life of Health and Beauty and True Beauty: Secrets of Radiant Beauty for Women of Every Age and Color. Johnson's acting career consists of roles in the films Ashanti (1979), The Meteor Man (1993), Def Jam's How to Be a Player (1997), and Crossroads (2002). She has appeared in guest spots on 7 television series, including Martin (TV series), Law & Order, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, The Parent 'Hood and the Super Bowl episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun (1998). She served for two seasons as a celebrity judge on the TV Land series She's Got the Look, a reality series, where women aged over 35 compete for a modeling contract and magazine spread. At the start of the series in 2008, Johnson shared that she and other models had suffered from anorexia and bulimia during her career. She had a brief singing career, releasing one album in 1979 on Buddah Records. Johnson has been a longtime hair and beauty influencer.

Personal life

Johnson has been married twice. Her first marriage was to real estate agent Billy Potter in 1971, later divorcing in 1974. On May 8, 1977, Johnson, then aged 25, married 40-year-old businessman and music producer Danny Sims. She gave birth to their daughter, Anansa Sims on December 27, 1978, in New York City. Johnson and Sims divorced in 1979. Johnson and actor Chris Noth were in a five-year relationship until 1995.



Year Title Role Notes
1975 Deadly Hero
1977 The Baron Recepcionist
1978 Crisis in Sun Valley Beverly TV Movie
1979 Ashanti Dr. Anansa Linderby
1980 The Sky Is Gray John Lee's Mother TV Movie
1993 Loaded Weapon 1 Doris Luger
The Meteor Man Woman Doctor
The Cover Girl Murders Michaela TV Movie
A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives Jane Marlowe Morrison TV Movie
1994 A Brilliant Disguise Barbara
1995 Ray Alexander: A Menu for Murder Alana Durand TV Movie
1996 Crossworlds The Queen Video
1997 True Vengeance Lt. Kada Wilson Video
Def Jam's How to Be a Player Robin
1998 54 Elaine's Patron
2000 Down 'n Dirty Sandra Collins
2002 Crossroads Kit's Mother


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Hunter Allistar Lang Episode: "This Is My Gun"
1992–1993 Law & Order Marcela Di Portago / Salamotu 2 Episodes
1993 Martin Ms. Trinidad Episode: "Blackboard Jungle Fever"
Out All Night Lorraine Episode: "The Way We Were"
1994 The Mommies Beverly Johnson Episode: "The Exercist"
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Mrs. Cox 2 Episodes
1995 The Wayans Bros. Miss Kita 1 episode
1996 The Parent 'Hood Mrs. Jordan Episode: "I'm O'Tay, You're O-Tay"
Red Shoe Diaries Lorri Episode: "The Forbidden Zone"
1997 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch Fashion Director Episode: "As Westbridge Turns"
1998 3rd Rock from the Sun Prell 2 Episodes
2010 Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns Kate 2 Episodes
2012 Beverly's Full House Herself 8 Episodes



  • Don't Lose The Feeling (1979)


  • "Don't Lose The Feeling" (1979)
  • "Don't Run for a Cover" (1979)

See also

  • Liberian Girl
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