Thursday, February 3, 2011

Naomi Sims

As there were always be a certain disaccord as to who was the first African American Supermodel, Naomi Sims was refered to by Halston as the first black supermodel in 1974.

In Naomi's first attempts to get modeling work through establised agencies, she was faced with racial predjudice, with some agencies telling her that her skin was too dark.  However, Naomi's drive and passion for this type of career was so strong she made her own breakthrough by going directly to fashion photographers and Gosta Peterson, photographer for the NYTimes, agreed to photograph her for the cover of the paper's August 1967 'Fashion of the Times' supplement.

Naomi, then approached Wilhelmina Cooper, former model who started her own agency, requesting to send out these image to ad agencies, attaching Cooper's information in order to get work. The key breakthrough came when Naomi was was selected for a National TV Campaign for AT&T wearing Bill Blass. 

Naomi went on the be the first black model seen on the cover of Ladies Home Journal in 1968, creating the Black is Beautiful movement.

Life Magazine in 1969

Cosmopolitan in 1973

Naomi paved the way for future models Pat Cleveland and Beverly Johnson. In 1973 she retired from her modeling career and started her own beauty business, creating a successful wig collection. This venture eventually expanded into a multimillion-dollare beauty empire, thus adding a collection of books on modeling and beauty to her domain: All About Health and Beauty for Black Women, How To Be a Model, and All About Success for Black Women.

Sadly on August 1, 2009, Naomi Sims died of Breast Cancer, she however definitely left a wonderful legacy of her life and times in the world of Fashion! Rest in Peace to this Fashion Beauty!

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